Tag Archives: London

On breakfasting in the sky 61/100

img_4755One of the great things about a birthday is that it focuses the mind. No, I don’t mean being overwhelmed with thoughts of the wretchedness of aging and death and how irritating accomplished 26 year olds are and does sitting in a cold chamber really remove wrinkles. I mean it gives one the excuse to do things you want to do but hadn’t otherwise gotten round to doing. “It is for my birthday,” is a very useful phrase when booking all sorts of self-indulgent outings. Especially, if, like me, you decide that a birth DAY is so limiting, better a birth WEEK. Come on, I made it this far in relatively one piece, I should be able to do better than a few witty cards and a slice of Sainsbury’s rose iced madeira cake (which was delicious by the way.) So I dug out my “things I should have already done in London” list and got busy. Top of that list (oh, a little pun there) was the Sky Garden. The beautiful, mostly enclosed botanical garden on the very top of the Walkie Talkie building, the one that set fire to things when it first opened in spring 2014. But I didn’t just want aimg_4769 quick dash up. I wanted to savour, relish the experience. And the security protocol is formidable, so might as well make it worthwhile. Most of all, I wanted to enjoy the Sky Garden before hoi polloi swarmed in with their buggies and backpacks and selfies. It was my birthday, after all. And I am an unrepentant snob, if you haven’t figured that out already. So I booked an early morning breakfast, at the cafe, and invited my gorgeous friend and frequent companion in all sorts of London adventures, Sara, to join as my “birthday treat.”

img_4752We loved it. Being there early in the morning meant we had it almost to ourselves. We lounged elegantly on the blanket-strewn sofas with our coffees and grapefruit juices and admired our gorgeous city from on high, from all angles. The Shard looked particularly powerful and the rooftops of the older, shorter buildings are such a jigsaw of shapes and shadows I half expected to see free runners or secret lovers. The roof of the Walkie Talkie, officially 20 Fenchurch Street, designed by Rafael Vinoly, is a series of curved, glass panels, which were being carefully cleaned by a team of harnessed window washers on the morning. The light is extraordinary, constantly changing under the swift moving clouds and multi-coloured sky. Dutch 17th century painters,with their talent for painting sky in permanent transition, would have img_4763loved the space.

We had cake, but the request for a candle was met with great nervousness and suspicion, as though we had suggested a little live grenade throwing, and ultimately denied. Nevermind, it was delicious anyway.

The gardens themselves begin just above the expanse of img_4762the cafe and swoop upwards, on either side, to a smaller, higher level, with a restaurant just above. The planting is beautiful and meticulous, segmented by water features, narrow pathways and hidden alcoves. It would be a fantastic place to have a party. London spreads out below you, yet, standing under the trees, you feel very far away from the hustle and bustle indeed.

img_4760And then 10 o’clock came. The hordes arrived. The spell was broken. And we’d taken all the photos we wanted. So we left. But with plans to return. Soon. It is a rather lovely way to start a day, birthday or not.

Visiting the Sky Garden is free, but booking is essential. https://skygarden.london/sky-garden



On Brexit and Art…54/100


Many weeks ago my mother asked if I would write something about Brexit. “No, I don’t write about things like that,” I responded. Oh dearie, dear. I have done little but write about Brexit in the last week. Perhaps not Brexit exactly, but the aftermath of. The madness that has descended on my beloved city of London and indeed on the entire UK. It is as though everyone has been given permission to release their inner demon. As if, for all you Seinfeld fans, there was a collective decision in favour of the Festivus tradition of Airing of Grievances. Publically. The sudden spike in racist behaviour, against, but certainly not limited to, the Poles. The Poles? Seriously? They have been an integral part of British society, London society since the 1940s. But the ugliness has not been limited to one side only. This is a proper free for all. The vitriol aimed at the elderly in my lovely local post office earlier in the week was shocking, not least because there were several pensioners in the queue. The ferocity of the anger expressed made me very glad I have no beloved granny living alone in this country, at the moment. And then there are the calls to limit voting rights to those with acceptable GCSE results. I love the clip of Eddie calling for a Stupid People Tax. But Ab Fab is comedy television. It isn’t real. My friend Mark, who appears to have taken a leave of absence from life to promote Remain on social media, was verbally attacked in the Tube 2 days ago by a stranger, accusing him of looking like someone who would have voted Out. Mark fights with longswords in his free time. Not necessarily the man I would choose to randomly attack on public transport, but then all sense is gone. A close friend voted Leave, having thoughtfully weighed the options. Her own mother is no longer speaking with her. There was an altercation between neighbours on my street, not over parking or noise, but the vote. And then there is the government. Which is falling apart. In every way. It is Madness out here.


I can do nothing but hold onto the words of the Culture minister Ed Vaizey who called for the arts to help heal the post-Brexit wounds. “In times of uncertainty and division it’s the arts that bring us together,” said Mr Vaizey. “London 2012 united the nation and the world looked on in awe of our creativity, courage and character. Now is the time to come together once more.”

DSC_0111Oh, I do hope this is true! And so it was with delight I realized I had been invited to Linklater’s RA Summer Show evening, on Monday night. “This will be the perfect cure for troubled souls,” so I thought. The evening was gorgeous. Lawyers certainly can manage details! The semi-circles of beautiful young men holding trays of drinks as you entered the Central Hall. The exquisite food served with such abundance there was no suggestion of having to wait between nibbles. And the art. Oh the Art. The famous and the unknown and the awe-inspiring and the bewildering and the covetousness I don’t even try to hide. “I will immerse myself in art and temporarily forget about the world,” I told myself. But alas, the event was popular. The rooms were crowded. And everywhere I went all I could hear was talk of Brexit. How the world is ending. Might have already ended. There was no escape. I admit a DSC_0110 (2)good part of me thought, “well if it all coming to an end, I might as well go out with a bang and buy that Boyle Family piece….”. Fortunately for the family finances I am still an optimist.


And I am optimistic that art can, if not save us all from ourselves, at least distract us enough to allow tempers to cool. Little could the organizers have known, when they started putting Art Night with ICA together, the idea taken from a similar event held in Paris, of the importance, for me anyway, of the night. A one night summer festival in the West End with opportunities to stop into both iconic and never-before-noticed buildings and spaces and see art. In all its many forms. Yes please, a short break from Chicken Little and mob rule. And on that front it delivered. Bland, pastel coloured copies of L’Origine de Monde on enormous scale hung in an about-to-be renovated building on The Strand. Further along The Strand we waited for quite a while to be let into what turned out to be a suite of rooms that looked like every Sofitel I have even stayed in.  Some girls were doing yoga in the bedroom. My family would have been impressed by how the towels were folded on the toilet in the bathroom. A real dog was on the rug in the living room. Most bizarrely, we were all speaking in hushed tones, as if in a sacred space, instead of some homage to 3 star living.


Tai Chi in the courtyard of Somerset House. I have done Yoga in several beautiful places, including Tower Bridge. Not sure it could be considered performance art, however. At St. Mary le Strand I was much more interested in what the young art students were working on than the film theyDSC_0149 (2) were tending, which was little more than a list of films someone called Jennifer West likes. Rather like those Facebook round robins. We couldn’t find the abandoned Jubilee Station, though we walked round and round in the rain. Two Temple Place is such a beautiful building that none of the exhibitions I have seen there can compete with the venue itself. That staircase!

Couples were dancing on the steps of Duke of York. But this is London. People are always dancing everywhere. The queue for the installation in the Admiralty Arch was very very long. And given what we had seen already we decided not to join. But went, briefly, to the DSC_0150 (2)pub across the way. Which was filled with similarly minded people. All talking about how hilariously Emperor’s New Clothes piss take this evening was. And in that, the night was a roaring success. Not a whisper of Brexit anywhere. As for creativity, courage and character, well those were on display absolutely everywhere. The sky hasn’t fallen quite yet.

Instagram: @mylondonpassion


On Sadness and Love and Vicars….Jo Cox, Gay Pride & John Donne too 53/100

DSC_0026_3I have a collection of vicars. An unusual thing to collect, perhaps, but utterly worthwhile. I think it is their compassionate intellect that appeals. And their sense of humour. I suppose a job that includes so much listening to others requires an impressive ability to find the funny. Some of my vicars are gay. Which as a stand alone fact has as much relevance as their eye colour. Except that it explains how I came to be attending London Pride with a vicar.

DSC_0009_5This has been a tough week. On Wednesday I went to the vigil for Jo Cox, on what should have been her 42nd birthday. Had not a crazy man shot and knifed her to death. Previous to her murder she was unknown to me, but now I could put my name on the shortlist of potential biographers for this MP who genuinely lived to serve. An Oxfam worker in Africa, an advocate for refugees, a responsive representative for the people of Yorkshire and a mother. It is the latter that makes me tear up the most. Her killing shocked the world. Not least because it came so soon after the shootings in Orlando. Plenty of despair to go round.

Jo and her young family lived on houseboat (how cool is that) near Tower Bridge. So on herDSC_0003_6 birthday a small boat, filled with flowers, was sailed down the Thames and moored outside the Houses of Parliament. And there it sat, bobbing gently on the water, all alone. Metaphors were fast and thick at the sight.

On to Trafalgar Square. To honor the woman who had said “far more unites us than divides us” spawning the hashtags #moreincommon and #lovelikejo. The day was muggy and close, even more so in the square packed with people. Despite the numbers it was a solemn and quiet crowd. A beautiful, at times halting speech from her husband, Brendan, and a moving tribute, via video link on big screen from her sister. Then the celebrities got involved (Bono! Seriously?) and I made my way back home, overwhelmed with desire to see my own children as quickly as possible.

DSC_0030_3Then the Brexit vote. Two days on I still don’t know what to make of it all. Except that here in Wandsworth it was a 75% vote to remain. So lots and lots and lots of shocked and sad people. Uncertain times ahead for sure. And a desperation to do something inclusive. And happy. What could fit the bill more than London Pride. With Christians.

After the pre and post vote rhetoric, the parade was positively calm,  un-confrontational and fun. Because I was attending with vicar Louis, and his impossibly young and glamourous mother Janice, we joined the Christians at Pride group, made up mostly of members of St Anne’s Church, Soho and Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church. Their position along the parade route was strategically DSC_0029_3chosen as a group of  so-called “religious” haters positioned themselves at the end of Lower Regent Street, the perfect vantage point to promise hellfire and damnation to each passing float. We were a bit further along, smiling faces without angry placards. Before the parade started, one of the vicars produced a loaf of bread and several bottles of what my mother and I would call “sangria wine,” and offered a short communion service, open to anyone. There were a lot of enthusiastic takers. My teenage daughter couldn’t quite choke down the plonk, but she appreciated the ceremony. My younger was given a long blessing from a priest. Sharing Communion, on a London street, in the sunshine, with strangers, most of whom happen to be gay. Does it get more inclusive than that? Gorgeous moment. We weren’t the only ones to think the parade deserved special treatment. Some older punks across the way had champagne with real glasses, serious parade preparation envy from me. And a great image on a day that aims, among other things, to dismantle stereotypes or expand them, depending on your point of view.

And the parade itself? Fun. Lots and lots of fun. Our new Mayor Sadiq Khan and his wife DSC_0032_3marched. There were mentions of the massacre in Orlando, though not a many as I thought there would be. But then this was a celebration not a memorial. Plenty of flesh on display, not all of it tanned and toned. “Oh dear,” blurted out by someone near me may have been the understatement DSC_0035_2of the day, as a series of particularly exposed, pasty pale and jiggly stomachs passed in front of us. There were lots of men and women in uniform, military and civil service. Starbucks and Barclays were doing some serious promotion, both with large, lively packs of marchers. Plenty of earnest groups as well, colleges, universities, health clinics, the Women’s Institute!, Muslim and African organizations, bikers too.  But what I really wanted was flamboyant. And I was not DSC_0050_3disappointed. More Patsy’s and Edina’s than I could count. Feathers, sequins, impossible high shoes, ball gowns. Some proper fabulousness.


And in the midst of all this happy fun came a text from my dear friend Lucy. My circus writer friend with whom I share so many adventures. Her mother had been rushed to the hospital and was now in a medically induced coma. Prognosis cautiously optimistic, as long as nothing more happened in the night. Lucy is the youngest of 6, a very late in life baby. She has always said that she will never get to have her parents for as long as she would like. But today is too soon. Please not today. And suddenly I realized, sometimes today is all we get. Which makes finding our way past the last weeks of horror and shock and fighting and divisiveness all the more important. We need to try to be kinder and gentler to each other. We need to not pass up the opportunity to tell someone we love them. A smile for a stranger is a good start. Maybe even a conversation, not a shouting match, with someone who disagrees with us. Because we are all in this together.  As John Donne, former Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral famously reminded us in the early 17th century, “no man is an island” and admonished us “for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.” We aren’t in this alone. Let’s stick together and make this living thing work. Those bells are ringing for us all.

DSC_0028_3At time of writing, Lucy’s Mum has made it through and is awaiting surgery. The Cox family has announced their intention of withdrawing from public life to concentrate on each other. The sky over the UK hasn’t fallen yet. There was a marriage proposal at the Pride parade. And I have DSC_0074_1two more vicars to add to my collection. Let’s gather round, pass the wine and ring ring those bells till our arms ache and our throats hurt from laughing. At least for today.

On Beating the Bounds….51/100

Picture the scene…..you are walking between meetings in the City, take away coffee attached to one hand. Mobile to the other. If very clever, a sneaky fag in there somewhere as well. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye you see it. A gaggle of school aged children in smart uniform, with a Vicar, and some other people in fur-lined robes, just there on the P1010973pavement. They seem to be singing. A hymn perhaps….and then you notice the sticks. The long sticks. In the hands of the school children. Who begin smacking these sticks on the ground in an enthusiastic manner. Have the post-work sessions in the pub finally rattled the brain, is this some sort of anger-management seminar, or maybe a new reality television nightmare??? Actually, the average City worker would think none of these things, would only nonchalantly move out of the way without breaking step, used as they are to crazy shenanigans in the City. Tourists, on the other hand, go wild. Cameras and phones whirring away. I would love to know how they try to explain it to the folks back home.


And here I am. In the mix. Because I do love a City ceremony, and this is one of the best. The Beating of the Bounds. Ascension Day. With All Hallows by the Tower. And St. Dunstan’s College. The Worshipful Company of the Waterman and Lightermen, as well (yes, them again, of the Knollys Rose Ceremony, post #48, a busy season!) A ceremony dating back to Anglo-466215_651787474847977_903993130_oSaxon times, now just for traditional purposes, but in times of old to make sure, MAKE SURE everyone knew exactly where the boundaries of the parish of St. Dunstan’s in the East were…in case anyone got any ideas about pinching a few feet. We are a protective species, especially when it comes to land. Death by hedgerow dispute remains a reality. We like our borders and our boundaries (cue Brexit furor).

The boundaries are roughly that of the parish of St. Dunstan in the East, a beautiful 13th century church that survived the Great Fire of 1666, though Christopher Wren rebuilt the tower in the late 17th century.  Today, only the tower remains as the rest of the church was destroyed in WWII; the former footprint of the nave is now a lovely, almost secret public garden. Following its destruction, the parish was amalgamated into that of All Hallows by the Tower, which is why the privilege of leading this ceremony now rests 472335_651788098181248_292800350_owith them.  The school of St. Dunstan’s dates back to the 15th century and when, by mid-19th century, the City had ceased to become a residential area, it was moved to Catford, SE London, where it remains. What an honour to be selected as one of the students taking part; proud parents are always an element of the procession. And what a great day off school for the kids, instead of double maths some public stick smacking. Nice.

The beating starts at the Tower and then moves to the river, because the south boundary is mid-Thames. In days of old, parish worthies would take a boat out and dangle a small boy upside down by the ankles over the water and let him give the river a good thrashing. I have seen pictures. Quite remarkable really. Sadly, health and safety no longer allow this kind of priceless photo op and instead the students (boys and  girls) ride out an a vessel and tap the water, with their very long sticks,  from a standing position. The procession continues on land, stopping at several points, including the tower of St Dunstan’s in the 462451_651787644847960_1777160827_oEast, Planation House and Seething Lane before returning to All Hallows. A thoroughly satisfying afternoon. History, odd behavior, some old buildings, a little walk and men in costume. Instagrammers dream. What isn’t to love?  And next year there will be a battle. With the Beefeater’s at the Tower of London….watch this space.





On the Unicorn Theatre….the only thing childish is the price 47/100

IMG_20160410_134641Many many many years ago, when my eldest was a tiny thing, I stood in a queue in an American shopping mall to “meet” Arthur, an aardvark off a children’s cartoon show. The queue was long and the other mothers were spiky, all eager that their little treasure have the best possible moment with Arthur. Unable to stand the tension, the frantic woman in front of me shouted to the girl managing the crowd, “will Arthur be signing autographs?” I will never forgot the sequence of expressions on the young handler’s face. From initial shock to bewilderment and then slowly, slowly, deep, deep pity. “Ummmm” she replied, speaking very calmly as if to an accident victim, “you are aware that this isn’t really Arthur. It is just a store employee in a costume.” Deep breath. “And he is wearing really big furry paws, so I don’t think he can hold a pen.” I dined out on this story for years. Yet, with each telling, I knew, in my heart, that it was only a very thin barrier keeping me from falling into this kind of insanity.

As the years went on, and I had more and more children, I found myself willingly attending “performances” of children’s shows. Dreadful things they were. Always shockingly expensive, loud, chaotic and the audience was filled with screaming babies, exhausted parents and utterly disinterested nannies. It was awful. Even the slightly more reputable billings were terrible. We once attended a startling truncated version of Wind in the Willows where the theatre was stifling hot and all the children around us seemed to be suffering horrible and unending flatulence. My younger son began breathing through a straw. “I don’t want to taste anymore farts,” he whimpered. I knew there had to be a better way. And as if by decree, I  discovered the Unicorn Theatre. A beacon in a storm. A soft landing at the end of a rope. The answer to my prayers. As you start up the staircase  at The Unicorn, a tile on the floor reminds you that children don’t need to be coddled  with the boring and unchallenging. “Don’t worry your kid is fine,” perfect ethos for this escape from the mundane. IMG_20160410_134832

What the Unicorn does best is taking famous, difficult or complicated stories and honing them into a sizeable (60 min +/-), engaging performance with none of the patronizing, saccharin, everybody’s-a-winner attitude prevalent in most children’s theatre. And the actors treat the material with respect. Because of this, the audience, even the very young ones, are involved. One performance I attended was for those children who aren’t usually encouraged to go to the theatre, for reasons of mental or physical disability. It was amazing to watch and listen to their reactions to what they saw on stage. Delight and awe. And any shrieks or grunts or calling out only enhanced the show, such was the sensitivity of the actors. Beautifully done.

The first performance we saw at The Unicorn was Cinderella. Not the Disney Cinderella where everyone winds up happy at the end and the cruelty at the beginning is mild. This was the good stuff. Complete with cut off toes (neat use of streamers) and gouged out eyes. We were hooked.

We’ve seen a brilliant Othello done in filthy American hip-hop. Very glad the grandparents couldn’t understand a word. Reworkings of Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale held us spellbound. I took my older two to a wonderfully thought-provoking piece for young adults entitled Pim & Theo. Pim Fortuyn (politician) and Theo van Gogh (filmmaker) were both murdered in their home country of Holland by extremists (animal rights and Islamic, respectively.) The play puts them together, post mortum, their wounds still visible, to spend eternity mulling over and discussing what their deaths mean to a free society “Does a tolerant society tolerate intolerance?” being the key question. No easy answers, no glib solutions. Just solid food for the mind and soul.

1397235_1118526704840716_4290093153332554992_oThe story of Henry V, with red balloons as soldiers, all crumpling latex when killed in battle. And most recently, both stories in the Greek season. Minotaur, done in the round with many of the younger audience as noble youths. And My Father: Odysseus. A set littered with modern day toys, hip hop at sometimes earsplitting volume, with a fantastic use of ketchup at the end. What isn’t to love.

Theatre. Real, engaging and so very very good. In an hour. The only childish thing about Unicorn is the ticket price. Take the kids. They’ll be fine. And you deserve it.

On mini golf in the afternoon…..46/100

IMG_20160513_140357We all have hidden talents. I have many. And my skill at mini-golf came as a complete shock to my husband, when I finally revealed it after years of marriage. Ha ha, I know you were all hoping for something naughtier, but trust me, as someone with little concentration, less patience and absolutely no spatial relations what so ever, the fact that I am pretty good on a crazy golf course is a shocker. But I spent my adolescence in the mid-west where legal entertainment for teenagers is scarce. Putt putt, as we called it, was one of the few IMG_20160513_133758options. I suppose it proves that if you do something often enough you get good at it. I did and so I am. Mini golf has become a recent craze in London, but all courses are short term pop ups only (the exception being the soon-to-open course next to the Gherkin, which will be permanent.) And indoors. Always indoors. With bars. Certainly a different atmosphere to what I grew up with. I had to have a go.

IMG_20160513_133850So I convinced Alice, my full time working in the City friend, to spend a beautiful, sunny London Friday afternoon in the underground gloom of the Truman Brewery playing at the Junkyard Golf Club. Properly decadent really. And we had the place practically to ourselves, which made it IMG_20160513_140313feel even creepier and skive-ier. But the emptiness allowed us to wander through all three courses and admire the “junk” put together not just to create obstacles but make you laugh. And we laughed a lot. Along with cast off appliances and quantities of neon paint was a speed boat carrying mannequins that must have spent time in a porn shop, given their attributes…we particularly liked the one wearing a boa made of fake dollar bills. Classy.

A grotesque clown lounged in a jacuzzi, a playhouse boasted a garden of maimed Barbie dolls and a large cow requested you not molest her. Certainly not the family friendly courses of my younger years; no worry that you will run into the local youth group here, thankfully. And all with a pounding soundtrack of classic Funk. A great way to be a little bit naughty.

The courses themselves offer plenty of challenge. Awkwardly positioned props, uncooperative tunnels and ramps, annoying use of gravity. And the final hole on the Helga course is impossible. Completely impossible. But really good fun. Naughty and fun. Perfect Friday afternoon.

http://www.junkyardgolfclub.co.uk til early August

Instagram & Twitter:  @mylondonpassion

On milk bottles and springtime…45/100

IMG_20160324_095054Spring may be here. It is always a tentative thing on this fair isle. And it has been a funny year, weather wise. Balmy at Christmas, freezing winds and rain in the early new year, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, sunny in the mornings, ice cold by lunchtime, woolens, t-shirts, the full spectrum of British climate, and now a hint of spring. And daffodils. I wrote last year of my love for this most unique of flowers, with its funny happy face and sweet soft smell. It doesn’t offer itself year round, but jumps out, for a short time only, from what is oft unlikely and forsaken ground. Rarely alone, daffs like to sway in groups, not at all fussy about their surroundings. Gardens, traffic circles, tiny patches of earth between slabs of concrete. And then they go. But while they are here, I take advantage. I fill my house with them. I fill my milk bottles with them. Yes, I have milk bottles. Because I have a milkman. Who leaves pints of milk on my doorstep every morning but Wednesday and Sunday. He drives a funny, electric cart. I often hear it stopping, with a pnuematic whosh, on the road at some impossibly early hour of the morning. But sometimes the milk comes during waking hours. I could, if I wished, have a variety of items left with the milk: cheese, bread, vegetables, pretty much any cupboard staple. But the simplicity of the bottles, all in a row,IMG_20160329_075913 on a frosty winter morning has become too iconic an image for me to ever tamper with, even for convenience sake. The one draw back of delivered milk is that it tends to have a shorter life than grocery story milk. This means there is sometimes frantic expiration date checking and wasteful pouring out, especially when something has happened to upset the delicate milk-use balance. Occasionally there is a thick stopper of cream in neck of the bottle. A few hard shakes usually does the trick. When I first moved to England a proper country matron told me how she would carefully remove this mass and serve it up to her children with fruit as cream. Yikes. The thought still makes me feel vaguely sick. Rather like eating the freezer burnt scraps of ice cream in an empty tub. But to each their own.

DSC_0015My milkman is lovely. His name is Simon. He has never travelled to my country but would very much like to. He is knowledgeable about the current state of affairs there, always much to discuss with this presidential race going on. Well read too. He greeted me one morning with the question, “have you ever read Go Ask Alice?” Have I ever? A staple of my pre-teen years. How random. How divine. To talk about books on ones doorstep. I know his daughter enjoys outdoor adventure like abseiling and kayaking. He is always cheerful. And he delivers my milk. In gorgeous, traditional, glass milk bottles. Which, when empty, I leave out for him to collect….except for this time of year. When I keep back six, wash them up, and fill them with daffodils.

Because that is the beauty of spring in London.