Saturday Lunch yesterday courtesy of a very generous sister, with mum dad and maytrees' max at the Foliage restuarant within the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hyde Park, was a real treat.
Whilst walking through Hyde Park to the Hotel, on a sunny Saturday afternoon I began to appreciate how popular a destination London has become for young tourists from all over the world. There were throngs of people enjoying this grand public open space in the middle of London. Childhood memories of the Hyde Park walks are largely of far fewer people, though the memories of swimming in the freezing cold water of the Serpentine, probably also indicate that such visits were made in the winter or Spring when even today there are fewer people around than in July.
Maytrees max and I missed finding the Mandarin Oriental at first. A new development (by the Candy bros. according to maytrees max) had resulted in the Knightsbridge side gates to Hyde Park being closed and the landscape there being altered temporarily. However the Hotel and its Foliage restuarant did not elude us for long. Inside we found that generous sister had secured the best table right next to the window ovelooking the Park at ground level and adjacent to the said Candy bros building in progress. Had we but known it at the time we could have waved in from our walk in the Park.
The food was delicious - nouvelle cousine type - with wine to match. The several hours length of time taken for this family meal was itself a testament to one of the great benefits of family life spanning the generations. Towards the end when the time came for as the French might say, for "l'addition", mum and dad discovered that the young waitress was German from Dresden. The exchanges of banter in German then reminded me of childhood days when the parents would speak German to avoid our comprending what was being said.
More somberly, the exchanges in German arising as they did from parents residing in Germany after WWII coupled with war time darknesses associated with the name Dresden, the ongoing deaths in Afganistan and the death yesterday of Harry Patch the last UK soldier surviving from WWI, made me appreciate the importance of not forgetting the horrors of war and our maintaining the 'Lest we Forget' tributes paid on Remembrance Sunday.