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?
MandyApril 28, 2014 at 11:39 am
What a gorgeous post! I really enjoyed the comparison with New York. I do that too and Johannesburg is about to plunge into freezing cold May temperatures. Well, freezing for Jo’burgers.
I love walking too and will take a walk up to Piccadilly tonight.
littleobservationistApril 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm
Thank you! That must be really interesting for you, comparing to a place where the seasons are completely opposite. 🙂 Enjoy your walk!
Adrienne McCormickApril 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm
What a lovely way to start a Monday, Steph. Thanks for the springtime view of London. Fredonia is just starting to blossom. The trees are just budding, and the forsythia is peaking out with bursts of yellow here and there. My hostas are still nubby mounds, and the day lilies are short stubby stalks. One brave hyacinth burst forth two days ago! We are more ready for spring this year than ever. It was an early and long winter in Western New York.
littleobservationistApril 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm
My pleasure. Happy to share! I do miss the Fredonia springtime. The campus looks beautiful that time of year. I remember walking to Willy C with my roommate, picking up vanilla steamers and going for a wander to look at the flowers, or sitting on the bridge people watching. Hope Spring is in full bloom for you soon. I’ve definitely heard all about your long winter this year. Time for some colour and sunshine.
Diana MieczanApril 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm
Ah, what a dreamy post…It made me smile so much and I totally needed a bit of London goodness this Monday morning. I love those blooming trees…They must smell amazing:) Ah! Happy start to the week, darling. xoxo
littleobservationistApril 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm
Oh they do smell incredible! I love Spring. Every time it comes around, I seem to enjoy it even more than the year before. It’s so refreshing. Have a love week x
Pamela Bates/Mercantile MuseApril 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm
Well thank you so very much for the lovely Springtime walk through London. Our spring here in NH is a bit slow on the uptake this year. And after such a long/cold/snowy winter it is starting to bug people that we’re still lighting fires to stay warm. That said, things are just beginning to pop but it’s still nice to see the signs. found you via comments on Diana’s blog.
littleobservationistApril 28, 2014 at 4:49 pm
Hi Pamela, Thanks for stopping by! Diana’s blog is lovely, isn’t it? It’s one of my favourite places to visit every day. I’ll check out yours as well. Hope Spring comes soon for you. I know my family in New York can’t wait for the warmth either. That said, fires to stay warm do sound lovely.
KatieApril 28, 2014 at 9:37 pm
Wow! Springtime in London is really something spectacular! It’s so beautiful. I love seeing your photos of everything in bloom. Trees and flowers are just starting to bud in Chicago and these images made me a tad jealous and excited at the same time! 🙂
orsay54March 16, 2015 at 12:06 pm
So BEAUTIFUL!!! WISH i was there RIGHT NOW!
littleobservationistMarch 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm
It is! And the trees are really starting to bloom this week. Should be walking under the cherry blossoms before we know it 🙂