Tag Archives: regent’s park

I’m already nostalgic and we haven’t even moved yet

16 Nov

On Monday I made my last trek to Aldi. It was dark, cloudy and rainy and I was tempted to hop on a bus, but knew I had to walk. I somehow figured if my last grocery trip from this flat was long and miserable, perhaps I’d feel less nostalgic for it once we move. I’m not sure it worked.

This week I’ve been hitting up all my favorite running spots around here since they’ll be farther away after the move. I told myself I could always run to Regent’s Park and Primose Hill from our new place, it would just be a long run. Though I don’t think I’ve run more than 5 miles at a time since my half 2 months ago. But if I get word there are good Pokemon in these parts, you know I’ll be back.

regents park autumn.png

autumn in regents park.png

paddington rec ground autumn.png(Photos of Regent’s Park and Paddington Recreation Ground I took on my runs this month)

We hired movers to do our packing, but I still spent a lot of today organizing and packing things. We’re just moving a couple miles away, but I’ve got it in my mind that I will never see my belongings again — like when we made the initial move out here and our stuff was out at sea for 6 weeks. I’ve packed my suitcase for my European trip with my parents even though we don’t leave until Black Friday (9 days from now). Surely I will have unpacked the flat at least a little by then, but I convinced myself that if I don’t pack the selfie stick and travel adapters now, they will disappear in some box and I will never see them again. That is the downside of having someone else pack for you — you have no idea what’s in every box. But the way I’m acting lately, it’s like we won’t be able to open any of the boxes.

They always say moving is a good way to purge all those unnecessary items that don’t bring you joy, which is probably one of the reasons I hate moving so much. I hate getting rid of things, even if it is things I no longer use or haven’t touched since we last moved. Though I am getting better and — dare I say — even enjoyed a bit of the purging I’ve been doing. Please remind me of this when you find me curled up in a ball in a month lamenting about the new flat’s lack of storage space. I can do this!

corgi box.gif

pug-puppies-box

(What I wish my moving boxes contained)

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Everybody wants you in Regents Park

30 Aug

The other day I was running in Regents Park. I use the term “running” loosely, as it was my one weekly Poke-run that I have allowed myself, in which I run while playing Pokemon Go, which usually translates to run for 20 seconds, stop to catch Pokemon, run for 5 seconds, stop to catch said escaped Pokemon, run to next Pokegym, stop to battle, etc. I had been playing for a good hour, my phone battery was on its last legs, as were my, well, legs. I was hot and irritable and Pokemon Go had randomly stopped working. I decided there was only one thing that could get me through the last mile: I had to listen to the song that had been playing nonstop in my head. There was just one problem: I didn’t know the song’s name or artist. I only knew one line, which I kept singing over and over again: “Everybody wants you.”

So I typed that into Spotify. Do you know how many songs are called Everybody Wants You? A lot. Usually when I don’t know the name of a song I just google some of the lyrics. But I didn’t know what line came before or after “Everybody wants you.” It was definitely an upbeat, older song. I tried googling “Everybody wants you 80s song,” but that only brought up Billy Squier, and that was not the song in my head. I wasn’t even sure how this song got in my head — was it playing at the restaurant I passed in the park? Does the restaurant in the park even play music? Was the heat making me delusional? Why was it so important that I listen to this song right now?

And then a girl approached me as I was sitting on the bench in Regents Park having this Pokemon and music crisis.

“How do I get to Regent Street?” she asked.

“Regent Street? The shopping street next to Oxford Street?” I replied.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I just want to buy a tent. There’s a camping store on Regent Street.” I had so many questions — why did she need to buy a tent — was she planning on living in the park? Why did she not look at a map before she left, did she think Regent Street was in Regents Park? And what 20-something-year-old these days doesn’t have a phone with GPS maps? But I kept my questions to myself and opened up Google Maps.

“You can get on the Tube at Baker Street and get off at Piccadilly Circus,” I told her.

“I don’t want to take the Tube,” she said.

“Oh. Then you can take the bus 13.” I told her.

“Hmm. The bus might be hot,” she said. I agreed.

“You can walk 2 miles then. I do it all the time,” I told her.

“I don’t know if I want to walk that far.” She stood there contemplating her options. I stood there wondering if “Everybody Wants You” was even the name of the song, and since I spent a good 5 minutes giving travel advice to this girl, if it would be out of line to start singing and ask her if she knew the song. I snapped out of it, though, and the girl was still just standing there. Did she want me to walk the 2 miles with her? Her simple request for directions was almost turning into a stop and chat. Good thing I wasn’t timing this run.

“So basically you can take the tube, ride the bus or walk. Those are your options,” I said in a hint-hint PokemonGo is back up and running and I need to go manner.

“OK,” she said, and wandered off. I wonder if she ever got her tent or figured out that Regent Street and Regents Park are not the same thing. I did what I could to help, but I still had my own problem. As I walked I continued to search Spotify, playing every “Everybody Wants You” song one by one, but none of them were the one. I was getting way too frustrated. I remember when I was at university my basic how to build a website class visited the computer science lab. A team there was working on a program like Shazam that could identify a song just by you humming a few bars of it. This would have been the perfect moment for that service, I wonder if they ever got it off the ground.

I got home, took a shower, ate lunch and then played some SongPop 2, the other mobile game I am hopelessly addicted to. And there — in the Top Hits 1983 playlist selected by the Australian chick I’ve been playing for the past 3 weeks — was the answer to my musical conundrum and the answer to the round: Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band. I couldn’t find the song because it isn’t called Everybody Wants You — that’s just one of the lines — one of the lines that SongPop 2 frequently uses, which is likely where I first heard the song that caused it to get stuck in my head in the first place. Problem solved. I am still grossly underprepared for my half marathon in less than 3 weeks (!) and utterly addicted to PokemonGo, but…
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na / Baby give it up / Give it up / Baby give it up / Everybody wants you / Everybody wants your love….

kc sunshine band dance.gif

The best running roadblock ever

19 Oct

First, something completely random. I logged into Facebook yesterday afternoon and these were my top 3 trending news stories:

facebook news

Even using the term “news” loosely, how in the world did they cobble together these three stories? Christmas is still over 2 months away. They can’t even predict London weather two hours from now. The second story is at least interesting and I was even tempted to click the link. As for the third one, nobody cares about the Kardashians, but if they did, at this time Kourtney is the least interesting of them all. Is this her big move for more notoriety — wearing a skeleton outfit? Her sister’s ex-husband is fighting for his life after a drug and brothel bender, and Kourtney is wearing a skeleton outfit? And it’s a trending story?

Anyway…

On Sunday Stephen and I were on our usual run through Regents Park when we saw a large crowd of people and dogs blocking the pathway ahead.

“Should we go around?” I asked him.

“No, let’s just run through them,” he replied.

“Oh look, there’s a BT!” I said as I noticed a Boston terrier in the crowd. And then as my eyes focused in I noticed another. And another. And suddenly it became clear that this was not just some random crowd of people blocking the path — this was a world record attempt London Boston terrier meetup and we were about to run through it! Boston terriers are one of my top 5 favorite dog breeds and I used to dogsit a pair of them back in Chicago. I love BTs! I really wanted to stop and play with them, but had to resort to sketchily taking a photo from a distance because I’m antisocial like that.

boston terrier regents park

And now I feel a desire to look up when the next local pug and corgi meetups will be. What’s the rule on showing up to a dog meetup without a dog? Is it akin to showing up at Chuck E. Cheese’s without a kid?  Asking for a friend, of course…

Overcoming Jet Lag and Extreme Wipeout: Regent’s Park Edition

6 May

Whenever I arrive back in London, two things always immediately go out the window: my plans for the day, like grocery shopping, unpacking, working and cleaning; and every bit of advice I’ve ever heard about beating jet lag, like stay up until a normal bed time, go out in the sun, exercise and DON’T TAKE A 5-HOUR NAP!

I got in at the crack of dawn on Friday, had to struggle with my suitcases on the Tube because the Heathrow Express and Connect trains were broken, but still managed to catch Stephen before he left for work in the morning. I briefly struggled with the old long-distance travel priority battle — shower, sleep or eat? — before taking a 5-hour nap, the one thing I was not supposed to do. When I woke up I was in no state to do my full weekly Aldi-Iceland-Sainsbury’s-Tesco run; it took everything I had to put on shoes and walk down the street to buy bananas and yogurt. I struggled to stay up until dinner, then afterwards dozed off a couple times with my laptop on my lap while trying to get some work done. That night I got nine hours of sleep and woke up feeling like jet lag, shmetlag, I’m back! …but I forgot that the worst night of recovering from jet lag is not the first, when you’re exhausted from traveling in general and not sleeping a wink on the plane, it’s the second… and third… and DEAR GOD WHAT IF I CAN NEVER GO TO SLEEP AT A REASONABLE HOUR EVER AGAIN?!

If you can’t tell, I’ve had three straight nights of struggling to fall asleep before 3 a.m. Working from home and setting my own hours is a blessing and a curse.

In an effort to battle my jet lag and just enjoy this beautiful if-it-were-anywhere-else-it’d-be-mild, but-since-it’s-the-UK-we-treat-it-like-summer 60-degree weather, Stephen and I went for a run Sunday and Monday morning (since yesterday was a bank holiday and everyone was off). My lungs felt better than when I did the 5K race last weekend and I was trying to push myself a little bit yesterday, thanks to Stephen’s “You can do it!” encouragement, as well as that of a random guy parking his car nearby who heard Stephen shout it and chimed in. I was feeling pretty good as we ran along the path that cuts through the football pitches (soccer fields) in Regent’s Park. One minute we were laughing and quoting lines from “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the next I was eating pavement, fully sprawled out on my stomach in what had to be one of my most majestic wipeouts yet.

falling-mascot-gif
After Stephen made sure I was OK, he burst out laughing. Once I shoved down the “this hurts and I kind of want to cry” feeling, I did too. Because I have no idea how I managed to trip on absolutely nothing or how I ended up landing face-down with my left hip bone taking most of the brunt.

dog running slips

It’s probably because my hands were full with my phone and water bottle so I only half caught myself, skinning my left palm and thumb and right wrist and elbow. Luckily it was not as bloody or painful as my fall last fall — after walking it off I was able to jog back home, mostly because I was anxious to get home to the Neosporin and bandaids which were a mile away. I’m glad I was not hurt too badly and that everyone playing football had a good laugh. It’s also a testament to the iPhone 5s’ and my cheap panda case’s durability — that thing went flying across the pavement and didn’t receive a scratch. I wish I could say the same about myself.

Concrete for breakfast

6 Oct

A couple months ago I started to get this crazy idea. It was just a faint whisper in the back of my head saying, “race.” I’ve been running for more than four months now, and while it’s good exercise, I’m curious how I stand up to other runners in my age group. I want to know what it feels like to push through the desire to crap out because there’s a finish line, other runners, and people cheering you on. So I looked up the Cincinnati Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. I thought it was a 5K, but it’s a 10K. And that’s when the whispers got louder every time I ran — “10K. You can do it.” That’s 6 miles, longer than I’ve ever run before, but that’s what makes it alluring. I haven’t registered yet — I hover over the button every few days — but I found a good 10K training plan and have been following it. Everything has been going really well.

Until today.

I left the flat this morning debating whether I wanted to do the usual 5K/3 miles or push myself to 4 miles since I ate too much Chinese food and cake yesterday.

I made it 2 minutes. I was going around the Outer Circle of Regent’s Park, which was covered in leaves. I thought I was dodging them well, but apparently not that well. One second I was listening to my podcast, getting into the groove, the next I was eating concrete, completely sprawled out on the ground, iPod flung 10 feet in front of me.

panda slide

Another kind jogger stopped to check on me and handed me my iPod and water bottle. “That almost happened to me yesterday,” he said. I thanked him and began to assess the damage. I was able to brace myself as I went down, which meant my knee and palms took the brunt of the damage. I stood there for a second starring at the skin peeling off my hand, blood starting to surface, and my first thought was “What a waste of a run.” But obviously there was no way I could continue. I rolled up my leggings to expose my skinned knee, and made the walk of shame back home. While I was cleaning up my hands and knee, I realized my elbow hurt. I looked over and it was completely scraped and bleeding. It’s funny how the body works when injured — at the time, the adrenaline made me want to keep running, I didn’t realize the extent of my injuries or pain. But now they sting like nobody’s business.

I’ve heard countless times that running is a dangerous activity and almost everyone gets hurt eventually. I’m very thankful that I came away from the incident with just scrapes — not a broken leg or twisted ankle. The worst part is that all my injuries are near joints, which make it hard for bandages to stay on. I’ve definitely learned my lesson about jogging in the fall (avoid tree-lined paths!) and hopefully can get back to training soon.

Return to Regent’s Park Rose Garden

28 Jun

It still amazes me that a place this beautiful is within walking (and jogging) distance from my flat. As promised, I went back last week with my good camera when the roses were in bloom. There were a few bushes that were still budding and I’ve been checking on them each time I run. If we ever get another sunny day I may have to go back to take even more pictures.

I took more than 100 photos, but here is just a selection:

queen marys garden regents

Ladybugs!

red rose ladybug

orange pink rose

There was a school group there tasked with sketching the flowers. This little boy was goofing around until he spotted a bee and freaked out. I used to be absolutely terrified of bees, but now I realize they won’t bother me if I leave them alone (although I didn’t really because I kept sticking my camera in front of them)

kid rose

polinating bee

This is my favorite photo — my favorite color rose with my favorite shallow depth of field.

queen mary's garden

The ropes surrounding the garden were even covered in roses!

regents park roses

The place was filled with tourists taking photos (yes, if we want to get stereotypical, many of them were Asian)

asian roses

I couldn’t get over the color of these flowers, my camera didn’t do it justice.

blue nile flowers

I walked back by the pond and caught these two in a stand off:

heron standoff

Queen Mary’s Gardens

28 May

London weather is such a tease. This past bank holiday weekend was gorgeous — sunny, blue sky, perfect convertible weather. I’m sure all those who came to London for the weekend went away thinking the locals just make up stories about constant rain to keep the tourists out (oh, if only…) But today the London I know is back — grey, foggy, cold and wet.
I’m glad I took full advantage of the nice weather while it lasted. On Sunday I took my camera to Queen Mary’s Gardens. My friend told me about the beautiful rose gardens there. I had never been to nor heard of Queen Mary’s Gardens, so I decided to look up where they were.

Regent’s Park.

I walk through Regent’s Park at least once a week and yet never saw them. I “ran” near them on my treacherous 5K last weekend, so this time I decided to walk there with my camera.

Unfortunately the roses were not in bloom yet (Google says early June, so I was a week or two too early!), but I managed to see some other beautiful flowers and birds.

london tulips

Found this little duck family hanging out in the middle of the pond:

london duckling

…and this odd statue:

duck boy statue

Then I found a little butterfly and experimented with my photography:

london flowers

purple flower butterfly

butterfly bee

I don’t know what these birds are called, but they’re everywhere and have funny-looking feet:

queen marys garden bird

Now some final flower/garden pics:

queen marys garden

regents park garden

regents park flowers