NB: Not Great Windsor Park!! I’ve got this now!
There are very few ways you can get me up before 8am and out for a walk. In fact, this may be the only time it has ever happened. I got up super early on my last trip to Bermuda to watch the sun rise, but I just had to potter to the end of the garden to watch that over the ocean. I did that in my jammies.
This time I had to get up and properly dressed! I had missed sunrise, sort of (click here for the pics) but I wanted to see more. Thankfully Justine woke fairly early and having seen the pics I had already posted on Facebook and Instagram, asked if I wanted to go out for a walk and see more. I was up and dressed and by the front door in about 3 mins flat! I figured we wouldn’t be long and we wouldn’t see anyone, so just put on clothes from the day before, smudged my make up mostly back into place, and popped a mint!
I know, I know. Classy.
I do have to admit, I did have my Grandmother’s voice in my head and it wasn’t a “well done, darling” moment. I really hoped that she was having a lay-in up in heaven and wasn’t aware that I was just about to head out into a Royal park where members of the Royal Family lived without having made myself look presentable! She would have been horrified. As would my Grandfather. My mother really was when I told her. Oops.
Comforted in the knowledge that they at least love/loved my curiosity and desire to see everything, I pulled on my woolies and stomped down the path. That is literally as far as I got before my breath was taken way not only by the cold, but the views. Out came the camera phone for the first time, and it stayed out for the next two and a bit hours!
At this point, I would like to thank Justine for her endless patience with my photography. Also, for knowing her way around so well that I saw so many incredible things. She was the consummate tour guide and could tell me where we were at all times. She also knows the park super well and kept saying that there is a view I would love just over here, or a statue that I would love just over there. Each time she was right. Because of the person she is, I have the most incredible photographs.
Also because of who she is, I also met a bit of a local celebrity!
This is Warden Matt. He was pictured in the UK press a couple of weeks ago giving Chris Evans an almighty bollocking for trying to drive into the park. Unless you are a Royal, a resident, working for the emergency services or a member of the team who watch over and work in the park, you are not allowed to drive though. For any reason. The paps, bored of waiting for a certain Prince to appear, absolutely loved it and snapped away happily. Published the next day, a local celeb was born!!
I do have to admit to that the photo is so great that I sent it to a couple of my friends who are convinced I am “trouble waiting for somewhere to happen”. They were highly amused that I managed to get a telling off, and wanted to know when I was being carted off to the dungeons. I probably should be offended that they believed me so willingly, but I can’t blame them because he did such a great job posing!
That’s the kind of person he is though. Great sense of humour and super kind. He is full of stories and loved hanging out a while for a chat. He could tell you which notable people live around the park as he had met most of them by this point.
The most exciting factoid for me though was that Timmy Mallet is often found out and about. I had my eyes peeled for an excess of colour for the rest of the morning. 6yr old me watched Wacady with my Dad and sister every Saturday. My sister and I always did the Wacaday Wave when we were on car journeys and would gleefully count all the people who Wacaday Wave’d back at us. I always wanted to go on Mallet’s Mallet, but never got to. This was such a HUGE part of my childhood that to meet him even now would be epic!
Sadly we didn’t find him but we did find something even more exciting…
Santa’s reindeer having a little holiday before their big night!
Comet was on look out, as usual, and making sure we didn’t get too close to his friends. I assured him that I would keep my distance, and apologised for having no carrots to hand. I promised that I would make sure my niece and nephews left some extra out as I agreed it’s not fair that only Rudolph gets some left for him. Rudolph wasn’t there, by the way. He was at a luxury spa break to make sure his batteries were fully charged so he could light the way as brightly as could be.
We were also lucky enough to run into the Reindeer’s extended family. They are a little camera shy and don’t want to be pictured really until it’s their time to be called on by Santa. Understandable that they would want their anonymity really given who their parents are and all the paparazzi that hang around the park.
In all seriousness, I wouldn’t get any closer to these majestic animals any more than I would walk up to lion. Not because I think they would eat me, obvs, but because I believe that they deserve as much respect and space as any other wild animal. They are there just living their lives and don’t need humans trying to get as close and possible stick a camera in their faces.
Thank you again to Warden Matt for pointing us in the right direction for these wonderful moments. They weren’t on the beaten path at all, and without his kind guidance, we wouldn’t have seen them.
Aside from the deer, my next favourite bit was the statues!
Everyone will see the Copper Horse as it’s at the top of Windsor Long Walk. It dates back to the early 1800’s, and has sat at the top of Snow Hill pointing at the castle ever since. It is meant to be of King George III and is pointing at his favourite residence. I’m not entirely sure why it’s called the Copper Horse when it’s actually a bronze statue, but there you go!
While everyone sees this from Long Walk, very few have their own personal tour guide who can show them the easy way around to the back of it, which is a shame because it’s magnificent.
The top end of Queen Anne’s Ride is also a stunning statue of the Queen.
This was her Jubilee Statue and I believe that it is one of only three of her currently in existence in the UK, as statues are mostly in memorandum historically. I think this is my favourite though. We all know about the Queen’s fondness for horses and that at 93yrs old, she is impressively still an active horsewoman.
At the other end of the Ride is the statue locally known as “the polo” but actually is a millstone and was put up to mark the replanting of 1,000 trees on Queen Anne’s Ride. The first tree was planted by Prince Philip so he gets a mention on the plaque too.
I like that the Queen and Prince Philip have both got something on that same stretch of land. It’s how it should be! Also, whomever decided where this sits was really quite a genius as through the middle you can see Windsor Castle in the distance!
That’s the end of my words, really. The whole park is just breathtaking. I cannot wait to go back in the summer and see the difference it makes. That said, I love the trees when they get all nekid and the sun breaks through them. It’s beautifully eerie looking, as you will see from the following pics!
P.S. No filters were used on any of these photos. The amazing colours are all nature’s own work.