Monday, July 20, 2009

St. James Park and Swan Upping

Today I took a long walk home from the Soho area through one of my favorite parks, the St. James Park. As I walked towards the west, I could see Buckingham Palace across the lake.

Looking back from the other side of the lake you can see the Horse Guards that I mentioned a few days back.

Through the park, English style gardens abound.

I even spotted a small vegetable garden.

A boot camp group, stretching after a long workout.

All types of small wildlife can be found in the park, and they seem to be quite comfortable with the human race.

This is a photo of Duck Island with the pelicans who "hang out" there, waiting for their feeding each day at 2:30 P.M. There are numerous types of waterfowl which make the lake their home.

Which reminds me of an important ceremony that began today called the Swan Upping. Each year in July, for five days, the Swan Uppers have to catch, mark and release the mute swans in a 79 mile stretch of the Thames River. Today it's all in the name of conservation, but it had its origins in the 12th century when swans were a common food source for the royalty. The monarch of the United Kingdom owned all unmarked mute swans on the river, and they were claimed by the Crown to ensure there would always be a ready supply for dinner.

Photos from the Daily Mail London
For the first time, the Queen accompanied them today. She was presented with a brood of cygnets. I'm sure they won't be fattened to be included on the royal menu as in years past. In fact, the only swan that went home with her today was the diamond swan brooch she's wearing on her jacket. A video news report can be found by clicking here.


  1. What great pictures!! You are so good about learning the fun traditions in your new "home".

  2. The queen is really beautiful in that yellow. What a wonderful park to have nearby! Thanks for coming by my blog and commenting. :) I did not know that your four kids came over. Sooo fun! Kelly