It’s raining as I write this on Saturday morning, the world outside a dull grey, people strolling by the window with brightly coloured umbrellas, their heads down.
A few are sitting under the red dripping awning of the pub across the street.
A woman reading the newspaper with a pint in one hand, a cigarette in the other and a shaggy white dog at her feet. A couple sitting in silence watching the cars and double decker busses and black London cabs moving past.
Spring has different faces in London.
Some days are like today – chilly, wet, monochrome grey skies.
Others are beautifully blue days that let you leave your coat at home, days that pull people into the parks, queues snaking out of gelato shops and shops bustling on the high streets.
It’s a season that always arrives in London before it arrives in New York. While the buds are starting to form on branches in London, New York is still buried under snow.
When the cherry trees are in full bloom and the parks are planted with colourful tulips, New York is still freezing and there are flurries.
When the cherry trees lose their blossoms in a confetti tornado on the windy days of April and the leaves come in a vibrant green, the Niagara River back home is only 15% thawed and the air in New York has a Wintery chill.
I enjoy sending photos home at this time of year.
Of course, they soon overtake us with their scorching Summers while the sunny Spring days won’t get too much warmer apart from the odd three or four days when it is actually hot in London.
Last weekend, when I took a long walk all the way to South Bank, up to Marylebone and back to home, I also spent some time in Battersea Park and St. Luke’s Gardens. Twisted my way through the back streets of Chelsea.
I took photos along my walk as well, of St. James’s Park and the private spaces of Eaton Square.
St. Luke’s Gardens (where we got engaged last June) and Battersea Park have become two of my favourite places in London.
I love walking the loop from the north side of the Thames, over the Prince Albert Bridge and down through Battersea Park that lines the edge of the River and back over Chelsea Bridge, walking up to Sloane Square and back down King’s Road to stop in the shops on the way home.
Turning the other way is interesting too, from Prince Albert Bridge, right along the river in the opposite direction of the park where you walk by the sprawling uber-modern offices of Norman Foster with models of past projects like The Gherkin in the windows and back over the Battersea Bridge.
I turn that direction at night and people are working late in the offices. It’s a path that’s full of runners, as is the park, and it’s always inspiring. Plus, the Prince Albert Bridge at night is magical.
Springtime means that relaxing evening walks are possible again because it’s not so cold anymore.
Last weekend, I wandered over the bridge, stopping to watch the houseboats bobbing on the river.
I took the park route and sat on a faded wooden bench with matches of green and yellow moss, overlooking the flower beds and the Peace Pagoda. There’s a little teashop and it’s the perfect quiet pocket to read a book.
All of London is in bloom this time of year. The park smelled of sweet flowers.
The city sounds were almost non-existent. Birds were chirping, people were calling their dogs, there were occasional helicopters flying overhead and the muffled roar of planes soaring away from Heathrow. But mostly, it was pretty silent.
I looked up from my book every so often with the late morning sun on my face.
People were sitting on other benches reading newspapers, others were doing yoga under a tree. Dogs chased sticks and balls across the grass.
It was a pretty blissful morning and a perfect lazy start to an otherwise busy weekend. And now, it looks like the sun might just be thinking about peaking out again!
Are their Spring flowers where you are? Or is it still the tail end of Winter?