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Stayed with my aunt B in Berkshire for a couple of nights this week, and travelled on to central London while I was there to see my friend Mary.  The main activity of that day was a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.  Mary was familiar with it but I had not seen it before, except quite a lot on TV in 2012. (Well, to be honest, I watched more of the Olympics from Wimbledon and Greenwich Park.)

Until the end of the month, ‘Beach East at the Park’ is likely to be the first thing that catches your eye.

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But normally it would be the main stadium,

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which seems to be having quite a bit of work done on it right now.  But wherever you are, you can’t miss the Orbit, and I was thinking of going up it if it was high enough. I knew that Mary wouldn’t want to, and here she is confirming her decision.

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As we grew closer, I started thinking that it didn’t really seem to be all that high, and wasn’t sure I wanted to go up after all.  I settled in my mind on the sort of entry fee I would be willing to pay, saw this

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and this

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and decided that I would have to be able to go twice as high as that to pay the sort of charge they were making. So after a little rest on a bench, we moved on. Mary said that perhaps I needed to go up The Shard.

Olympic Park is a great place for children.

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But I was most interested in seeing the wildlife friendly planting, of which such a lot was made at opening.  The Park is set around the River Lee (or Lea) as it nears the Thames.  It is very easy to find tranquillity, even though roads – and rail – are not far away.

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There are thousands and thousands of young trees,

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and every available corner is filled with insect-friendly planting.  I had feared that this late on in the season nearly everything would have gone over, and there’d be little of beauty to be seen, but I was delighted to find my fears were totally unjustified.

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After an early evening meal out, near Mary’s home, at which Susanpoozan joined us, it was back to Waterloo by tube for me for my mainline train.  Having once overshot – because asleep – the Berkshire station I was to alight at, this time I set an alarm on my phone, but fortunately didn’t need it.

Part of the next day was spent picking my own with B.  I had never done this before, and was amused to see this signpost.

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An hour or so over coffee with B, my cousin and her two young children (two bad photos, so neither here) was followed by the third of an Upwords best of three with B.  I won.  I note this because it must be the first time in decades of games with B that this has ever happened, and even so this was by the narrowest of margins.

I love begonias, as I have said before, and was delighted to find these in her garden.

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I was even more pleased not to fall asleep on my journey back to the West Country in the evening, as I was driving.