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15 persons met at the Chelsea Physic Garden for a guided tour, led by experienced volunteer, Anabelle Nabarro, who imparted so many interesting features of the garden. We learned the history of the garden (founded originally in 1673) and of the medicinal qualities of the some of the plants found there. These included the Petty Spurge or “Milkweed” (which is being investigated for the treatment of skin cancers), Agapanthus (used in Africa for ante and postnatal treatments) and varieties of yew (Pacific yew, although it can be toxic, contains elements of “taxol” in its bark) and two enormous Ginkgo Biloba trees (which in Chinese traditional medicine is called the “memory tree”). We were also shown examples of grapefruit and olive trees (notoriously difficult to grow in the UK, and unfortunately these examples were not known for their palatability!). Not to be outdone, one of the Club Members, Dr David Giachardi, a trained chemist, outlined how mauveine dye was accidently discovered in an attempt to synthesise quinine chemically. You never what you might learn next on a Ward of Cheap Club excursion!

12 dined at the Physic Garden Café, in the outdoor gazebo, which featured the best of British produce and ingredients (organic, of course)! For those who did not have other appointments afterwards, Lord and Lady Mountevans extended an invitation for afternoon tea at their home, which provided the perfect close to a highly informative and enjoyable day.

15 persons assembled for the somewhat chaotic embarkation at Embankment Pier to board the Glass Room boat operated by Bateaux London, to the accompaniment of a jazz band and a welcome prosecco. The boat travelled at first upstream, and turned near the Houses of Parliament to head downstream, through Tower Bridge, past HMS Belfast, Wapping, Isle of Dogs, Cutty Sark and then to the O2 before returning to Embankment Pier.

A special premier 5 course lunch was served and consumed amid the leisurely atmosphere of the jazz band as wonderful sights slipped gently by. All too soon, the trip ended but our club members disembarked with the pleasant memories of a nautical Sunday afternoon excursion, convivial company and first class cuisine.

26 walkers rendezvoused at St Paul’s tube station to be led by our experienced guide, Kevin Larder of “Real London Walks”. The theme was to explore places around Smithfield that most people would not notice or take a second glance. These included Panyer Alley (and the Panyer Boy bas relief next to Café Nero), Paternoster Square (look for the vents at the base of the Monument), Temple Bar, Postman’s Park (and the memorial of glazed tablets established by GF Watts, commemorating acts of bravery), St Vedast and its tranquil courtyard garden (with Roman pavement and an unexpected sculpture of a bust by Jacob Epstein), the Watch House overlooking St Sepulchre’s (to guard against body snatchers!), the Golden Boy of Pye Corner (marking the westerly extent of the Fire of London), Smithfield (and the memorial for William Wallace) and finally Charterhouse Square (including the burial ground of the Great Plague uncovered by Crossrail excavations).

After so much exploring, it was time for lunchtime refreshment at the nearby Vestry, where 21 walkers took their leisure in a converted vesting room of St Sepulchre’s to sample a delicious three course lunch and quality wines.