St. James’s Park, London

This past week, The D&O Diary was on assignment in London. London has many attractions, but weather is not usually one of them. However, during the recent early July days while we were visiting, the weather was just great. As a result, we spent almost all of our time there exploring London out-of-doors.


The primary purpose of my visit was to participate in an event sponsored by the insurer, Inigo. The event was an afternoon session held at the Four Seasons Hotel just steps away from the Tower Hill underground station. The event consisted of a panel discussing “Hot Topics in D&O,” followed by a reception. Turnout for the event was terrific; virtually every seat in the room was filled. The London D&O Insurance market was well represented at the event. (My impression was the everyone was just glad to be able to get together again as a market.) I would like to thank Yera Patel and her Inigo colleagues for inviting me to participate in this well-organized and well-attended event.


The distinguished panel at the Inigo event: to my left, Audra Soloway of the Paul Weiss law firm; Ed Whitworth of Inigo; Laura Markovich of the Skarzynski, Marick & Black law firm; and Yera Patel of Inigo


Great to have the opportunity to make new friends in the London market: Patricia Ramos of AON; Federica Gravante of Marsh; and Georgina Pearham of AIG.


Shawn Okum of Willis Towers Watson


With Mark Smith of Probitas and Luisa Oliveira of AON


With Matt Harvey, AON. It was only when I was putting together this post that I realized how many of my pictures taken at the event were with folks from AON. Well, I guess they were the ones who came up to take a picture with me.


Yera wanted to be sure to take a selfie with me and have it published in the blog. So, Yera, here it is — I added the picture because it is a great picture of you and even though it is an absolutely terrible picture of me.


While I had several additional meetings to attend while I was in London, we did also have the opportunity  to enjoy being in one of the world’s great cities while it was covered in sunshine. Upon arrival, we went first to Richmond-Upon-Thames, a leafy green river city to the west of London proper. Richmond’s most distinctive feature is its massive Royal Park. At nearly 2,400 acres, the Richmond Park is the largest of the Royal Parks. Among the Park’s many distinctive characteristics are its famous red deer.


We saw many of the famous deer while we were in Richmond Park, but they mostly managed to elude my camera. It was a beautiful summer day in the park.


One of the great things we did while we were staying in Richmond was to rent bikes, which we used to ride along the Thames River from Richmond to Hampton Court  and back — about 14 miles round trip. We then bicycled around the perimeter of Richmond Park — another 7 miles. It was a great day.


View of the Thames River from Richmond Hill.


For those of you who are fans of the TV series Ted Lasso, here is The Prince’s Head pub in Richmond, where many scenes in the series were filmed. The sidewalk sign board bears the message “Believe.” The pub is located just off of the Richmond Green in a particularly pleasant part of the village.


Cricket on the Richmond Green. Actually, the Green was not very green; we visited London in the midst of a dry spell and the grass in many of the parks we visited had turned brown.


Kew is only one stop east along the District Line  from Richmond, and so we spent a very pleasant morning in Kew Gardens before moving on to other destinations. This picture shows the Great Pagoda in Kew Gardens.


We were in London for the July 4th holiday, and since for me July 4th means going to the beach, we jumped on a train and headed for Brighton, on England’s southern coast. The Gatwick Express goes straight to Brighton with only one stop, at Gatwick Airport, along the way. It was a comfortable one hour trip each way.


The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, built by George IV as a seaside retreat. Its distinctive, flamboyant style makes it quite a sight. We enjoyed a pleasant picnic lunch in the Pavilion’s shaded gardens (on the side of the Pavilion opposite the one shown in the picture above.)


This is a view of Brighton taken from the famous Brighton Pier. There was a steady sea breeze blowing while we were there, so it was not nearly as warm as pictures might otherwise suggest. It was quite comfortable walking around and we strolled along the beach in both directions.



Hot dogs and hamburgers are of course traditional on the Fourth of July, but instead we enjoyed a meal of chicken, ham, and leek pies. It worked just fine. Though there were no fireworks afterwards.


After our visit to Brighton, we returned back to London proper. The glorious weather encouraged us to spend out time outdoors, so we went to several London parks, starting with Hampstead Heath, and going on from there to some other great London sites.


The view from Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath. One story I heard about why it is called Parliament Hill is that Guy Fawkes and the other Gunpowder Plot conspirators supposedly went there on the night of November 5, 1605, to watch Parliament explode. (It didn’t.) I have no idea if the story is true, but I will say on the somewhat hazy morning when we were there it was difficult to make out the present day Palace of Westminster.



A sign in Kentish Town, near Hampstead Heath


Kentish Town viewed from Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath


St James’s Park, London



A grey heron in the Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park


Evening on the Thames, viewed from the second floor terrace of The Old Ship pub in Hammersmith. A terrific place to enjoy the evening as well as some of the great local beer.


We extended our London sojourn this past weekend. We took a day to visit Cambridge, the famous University town in East Anglia. The sunny weather we had enjoyed all week continued over the weekend, although the temperatures, which had had been pleasantly warm all week, turned hot. Cambridge is a beautiful town and we are glad we visited. However, it turned out that we visited during the “Open Days” when admitted undergraduates visit with their parents. The town’s narrow sidewalks were crowded with fledgling students and their parents, and a number of the University’s colleges were closed to non-student visitors. It was a challenge navigating the narrow, crowded sidewalks, an experience that was not enhanced by temperatures in the Upper 80s. The experience was also not enhanced when we made our way back to the train station only to learn that our return train to King’s Cross station had been cancelled. Instead, we had to take a regional train that meandered through East Anglia; the train was so crowded we had to stand for much of the journey. We finally made it back to our hotel three hours after starting our return from Cambridge. All part of the joys of travel I suppose; even with all of the various challenges, I am still glad we made visited Cambridge.


King’s College, Cambridge



The Clock Tower at Trinity College, Cambridge


Inside the King’s College Chapel, Cambridge


Punting on the Cam River, Cambridge


For our final day in London before returning home, we stayed within London itself. We toured through the East End, where, among other things, we visited Spitalfields Market , a recently renovated roofed market that was more modern and more crowded than we expected. The high point of the visit to the East End was a walk along Brick Lane, which runs through the city’s Bangladeshi community (sometimes referred to as Banglatown). The area is full of curry restaurants, vintage clothing shops, book stores, and bars. The area is also known for its street art. The buildings along the street provided just enough shade to make walking pleasant, despite summery temperatures.


Brick Lane in Banglatown, in the Tower Hamlets borough.



Street art in Banglatown.


The next day, we were off on an early morning flight to return home. It was a great visit, confirming my view that July is a great time to visit London.