Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Little things add up to a beautiful day

Sunshine. Children chattering. Birds singing. Flowers blooming. Lunch with a complete stranger.

Kensington to Westminster by way of Holland Park and Chelsea.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Green and Wet Bits of London

My hands, face and neck are burnt.

Tomorrow, I will be unable to walk, and, currently, it hurts to sit down.

Never one for doing things by halves I went for the first bike ride of the year. Cycle path on the A13, the Greenway, the Lee Navigation to Tottenham. By way of Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes.

26 mile round trip.


But doing so on your mum's too-small, bone-shaker of a bike is not to be recommended.

Antal Szerb

Very occasionally you stumble across an exquisite book that actually leaves you feeling bereft. What to read next? This is one such. Along with Nicholas Lezard, I urge you to read it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Thoughts on a day spent wandering

Despite the government's apparent desire to curb our freedoms and our ability to demonstrate I am warmed by two small displays of resistance. One against Monterrico Metals outside St. Paul's (much to the bewilderment of the assembled tourists) and the other outside the Royal Courts. The bus normally passes slowly and solemnly but today it speeds past allowing me just a glimpse of a blue banner with a white dove and the letters PEA...

I'm drawn in by the colour and warmth of St. James's Park. This annoys me. I want to believe the gardens are too stage-managed with their immaculately manicured beds but they beckon. I leave with a spring in my step.

When questioned about the Duke of York's Column dominating Waterloo Place by an African woman I realise I know next to nothing about him.

I sing her the 'Grand Old Duke of York'. We giggle and laugh. A bond is formed. (I find out later the rhyme has nothing to do with this Duke of York).

She's arrived from Manchester on the 6.30am coach and is trying to see what she can of London before her lunchtime appointment at the Foreign Office. I whisk her to Trafalgar Square for Landseer's lions and a coffee.

She thanks me for my kindness and hospitality. I try not to think about the outcome of her meeting.

I feel like I've been invaded. I smile, shake my head and whisper 'No, thank you'. I want to shout. Hyde Park is about children on ponies, ducks and geese. It's about watching great-crested grebes go through their ritual courtships. Necks raised, heads turned deftly to alternate and opposite sides not unlike the stylised dances the Victorians so enjoyed if the current run of costume dramas are to be believed. It's not about old Chinese blokes trying to sell me dodgy DVDs. He's let the outside in.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Spring Clean

I get a headache even contemplating the idea of cleaning. I hate it.

The newspapers and magazines scattered around the front room were in danger of becoming a fire hazard and C. was quite possibly on the verge of walking out. So I have dealt with them. With the exception of a few articles which I still need (I'm sure that point will be debated) the whole lot have been deposited in an orange recycling sack.

My problem now is housing the wobbly stack of books next to my chair. They simply won't fit on the shelves. Ruthlessness seemed the only option and I attacked the bookcases with energy and vigour. This resulted in twelve books being removed for the charity shop. Out of a possible three hundred and fifty or so.

And the front room still looks worse than when I started.