Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lunchtime in London


That’s actually quite a useful way of opening a post. I don’t need to think about a salutation or whether to just start straight into things. Actually I suppose yelling ‘squirrel’ does start straight into things. And Hopeful Gardener, you will notice that this post has a ‘squirrel’ tag.

So the squirrel I saw today was in St James’ Park, performing for the tourists and getting its photo taken. It was quite well-groomed and ran towards a woman who held out her hand, but then ran away and up a tree where it sat pretending to be bark while other tourists threw bits of bread to entice it down and legions of pigeons descended on said bits of bread.

I’m actually writing this on Wednesday and will send the post through time to Sunday, so ‘today’ is Wednesday. I’ve had some work this week, which has been nice, but I have discovered the lack of outdoor seating in London. Today was an absolutely beautiful day (surprising, since heavy rain was forecast) with, at one point, almost no clouds to be seen in the strip of sky between two four storey buildings. I bought some kind of Moroccan burrito thing at a market and looked for a place to sit and eat it, disdaining the park bench I sat on yesterday (back to a main road, facing the end of a cul-de-sac. Thrilling) and deciding against the bank of the Thames (Monday’s lunch spot) because it was too far the other way.

So I walked. And walked. And walked. Today, on this hottest of summer days, I’d decided to wear boots (my boots are awesome. And I have no dress sandals, which is to be remedied) but I was also wearing loose trousers, so I undid the boots most of the way and walked around with slightly cooler feet and no one the wiser.

I found two parks with trees and flowers and grass, but both were fenced with high fences that prevented even the smallest flower from creeping out (they’re private gardens for the houses round about). Otherwise, nothing. Not even a concrete plaza with seating or a bit of seating on the side of the road (apart from the one park bench previously mentioned). In the end I sat in a bus stop.

Next time I’ll just go straight back to the river bank.

I had a nice walk after work, though. I was aiming for Buckingham Palace, but halfway there made a turn down a street entirely because it had cobbles, and I never actually made it to Buckingham Palace. On closer inspection, the cobbles had parking spaces laid into the pattern. Probably not eighteenth century.

As I neared the end of the street, a Smartcar drove by with its radio blaring ‘Empire State of Mind’ (the song that goes 'New York... these streets will make you feel brand new, their lights will inspire you’. Wrong city. But good song.

Next I walked past New Scotland Yard, and saw a signpost that I thought said ‘Portcullis’ (What? Where? said I) but actually said ‘Horticultural Gardens’. Very disappointed. Then I found St James’ Park, where I had my encounter with the squirrel and heard a French tourist pronounce ‘where is the subway’ in the same manner as we would say ‘ou est le metro’ when practising. Further on, I saw a sign saying ‘Do not feed the Pelicans!’. Pelicans!? Where!?

I walked across the Blue Bridge and was stopped dead by the view up the river, which was like a fairy tale – misty turrets amidst green trees above the softly moving river. I had to stop and take a picture, feeling like a tourist. A few steps further and I stopped again, because the London Eye had just come into view, so now the frame was fairy tale castles and giant ferris wheel (and a little bird on a nest in the middle of the river).

I hope you have enjoyed a (Wednes)day in the life of cyanz!

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