I had always planned to meet my dear friend Sasha in London for a few hours. She was visiting London on a work trip and we were leaving for Scotland two days later. The best way to see each other was for me to catch the bus to Oxford and then the train to London. Sasha and I have been friends since we were twelve. A few hours of travel for a few hours with my dear friend was well worth it!
Then Queen Elizabeth died and I decided I would leave much earlier and go to Green Park and to Buckingham Palace first. I wanted to leave some sunflowers to honour her.
The day after her death there was ongoing coverage that showed the number of flowers, cards, teddy bears, and child-drawn pictures being left at Buckingham palace. The numbers swelled even more and it was decided to cordon off Green Park as the official spot to leave flowers.
It was also said that London florists were running low on flowers. So, I actually bought my sunflowers in Thame and took them to Green Park. It was an emotional feeling seeing many others on the tube and train holding flowers, obviously with the same idea.
I could not believe the number of people getting off the tube carrying flowers or tributes. Everything was incredibly well organised. As one left Green Park tube station one was told to remove any plastic from the flowers into available dustbins. Large steel barricades had been put up around Buckingham Palace. Crowds were directed to the Green Park Floral Tribute garden and then onto the Palace, but one had to follow the snake-barricaded path.
There was just a sea of sunflowers, orchids, lilies, and roses. Although there were so many people it was quiet and respectful. There was no feeling of being rushed. I am so very pleased I went. It is an experience to remember.
All floral tributes once free of plastic and wrappings will be composted in Kensington Gardens for use on landscaping projects and shrubberies throughout the Royal Parks.
Tom Jarvis, director of parks at the Royal Parks charity, said: “Over the last few weeks, we have been looking for a fitting and appropriate use for over 1000 Paddington bears that were left in Green Park and Hyde Park to honour the Queen. “We are delighted that the teddy bears will now bring joy and comfort to hundreds of children supported by Barnardo’s.” Barnardo’s is a British charity founded in 1866, to care for vulnerable children.
I then wandered with the crowds to Buckingham Palace and also spent some time in the gardens around the Palace.
Finally, I met Sasha for a lovely evening meal and a long catch-up. We could have chatted for many more hours but I needed to catch the last train back to Oxford. What a wonderful, busy, AMAZING day!