Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Spring Blooms in Covent Garden

Just got back from L.A. and have been bitching and moaning about the weather since I stepped off the plane. I was actually wearing a spaghetti strapped dress three days ago…without a jumper on top. But, Spring is springing in London as well. “Spring Renaissance” will begin in Covent Garden on the 23rd of April. Horticultural events and celebrations will abound. Look out for the two giant 25 foot peacocks (I think maybe they are made of flowers and now real), return of the flower market, weekend workshops, hanging baskets and fun for the kiddies. Men were at work today planting stuff, so check it out! As a resident of Covent Garden, might I remind you to take your rubbish with you and don’t drink too much and vomit in the Piazza. It’s not a good look for anyone.


Growing up in a city on the Ring of Fire, I spent school earthquake drills under my desk, clutching my hands behind my neck to protect my spinal cord, wondering if I could heed the advice to leave my schoolmates pinned under a bookshelf while I run to safety.

The threatened city-crusher didn’t come (and hasn’t, yet) but I still get a shiver when I hear about earthquakes. Luckily our recent one didn’t kill anyone, and injuries were very few. And the headlines were almost charming: “Quake damages buildings and startles people awake,” says The Guardian.

But if you do want to revel in a bit of our own Nature’s fury, check out the ancient fault lines that criss-cross crust beneath Britain.

Embracing Nature within a Megalopolis


Few cities in the world can boast about balancing urban atmosphere with wildlife refuge. London seems far from being one of the ‘greenest’ cities in Europe, but it has aimed to preserve natural habitats that have existed long before its civilization was ever born. London’s parks are more than mere green spaces that break up the city, rather they seem to inhabit it. Parks such as Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park play a vital role in providing the ingredients (such as oxygen!) necessary for life to thrive in this dark, brooding, yet fragile and delightful social organism known as London.

Nature Rats in Hyde Park

Originally uploaded by ‘stpiduko’

Walking through Hyde Park, from Lancaster Gate past the Serpentine, I see a mad proliferation of pigeons, wood pigeons, squirrils and RATS.

I’m not a big fan of the little guys in general, but in Hyde Park’s wooded setting–boogying on their little legs through the bushes–I see them with fresh eyes as proper little animals, rather than icky vermin.

The next day I cycle through the park, listening to an episode of Costing the Earth all about rats, about how they are incontinent and they drag their little wee-soaked bottoms over your counters and garden furniture, I feel a bit less charitable.

Hampstead Heath

Aside from the world’s best theatre, live music, galleries and comedy, what makes London great is its open spaces. I spent yesterday walking with a girlfriend around Hampstead Heath and we both agreed that it’s pretty hard to beat a London park on a hot, sunny day. Everyone seemed to be there too – from families pushing buggies up the steep hills to foreign tourists taking in the majestic panoramic view at the top of Parliament Hill to kids kicking around a football and groups of mates having a picnic. The sun was beaming down on us, the kites were flying high, each one trying to out rival the other for height or colour or size. It felt like an August day and that the whole of London had decided to go outside. As my friend pointed out, ‘I don’t think anyone quite realises global warming is here to stay. We’re all still behaving like this is the only sunny day we’ll get for the rest of the year.’


Pigeon fancier


London pigeons are the most mangled in the world. Almost every one has one or two sadly crumpled little feet.

Every time I see one I can’t help myself from checking the extent of its disability, and then I feel a terrible little pang of pity for them — injured by some unknown and uncaring assailant, hobbling around until their foot heals as best it can.

I think I may be a closet pigeon fancier!

Freaky Weather

It’s mid-January and I’m actually sitting in my office…. sweating. I’m wearing only a pinstripe Paul Smith pencil skirt and Thomas Pink blouse, tights and a pair of boots (new, Prada, completely unnecessary but absolutely gorgeous). I can’t recall such a warm winter’s day since I moved here over 30 years ago and although it’s nice not to have to wear layer upon layer, it does freak me out. It seems only a few years ago that I was moaning that my warmest wool winter coat wasn’t warm enough. On the weekend I actually saw someone wearing a t-shirt and no jacket.

“Climate change scientists predict that 2007 is likely to be the warmest year on record globally, beating the current record set in 1998.”

Insider Tip

I dont know why anyone would be – but if you are planning to travel the Grand Union Canal tommorow – DONT!!!

There is a protest to be held at Paddington Basin from 11am, it is ecpect that scores of barges and canal boats will block the canal – Something to do with government funding being witheld frm the Waterways Trust…. I dont have to exact details at present as my Father just told me that we would be taking part!!!

So until tommorow and wish me luck, I’ve never taken part in a sit in demonstration on a canal before and Im DEFINATELY taking the camera!!

Allot(ment) of love


There’s news that there is now a ten-year waiting list for an allotment in some areas of London. But don’t be alarmed: in some boroughs, the waiting list can be much shorter or even non-existant!

I am attending a big Bonfire Night burn-up at a friend’s allotment in Walthamstow, and he didn’t have to wait at all to get his little piece of gardening heaven within walking distance of his house.

I am just warming up to the idea that gardening can be fun: I was able to make my first dish made from home-grown ingredients this summer (potato, rocket and chive salad) and the pride I felt was surprising! And this was from containers, not a full-blown allotment.

If you’re a novice too, there is lots of help online with your allotment dreams:

Imagine next year: chickens!

At Last the Rain!!!


Finally we get some rain to break the heat!! Not that Im complaining, the weather has ben absolutely stunning over Londonthe last few weeks, Ive spent an awful lot of time outdoors – which is not like me, Im a creature of technology. But teamed with the wonderful 2 month College break, the sun is truely converting me into a outdoor sun worshipper… and now rain dancer too.

Enjoy the relief!!

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