We may have missed the fly past at eleven o-clock, although we observed a two minute silence in Celia’s garden, but we did see two herons in flight in St James’ Park. Birds always make St James’ special, and today was no exception. The Mall belonged to cyclists, families, individuals, couples all enjoying the sunshine and the lack of cars.
I’ve started following someone local on Instagram who had been to St James’ earlier in the week and said it was less busy than Burgess Park, so Celia and I decided to make it our goal today. We walked there via the Imperial War Museum gardens where some veterans we could not identify were holding flags by the Soviet memorial, then onto and over Lambeth Bridge, round the back streets of Westminster where it seemed no one, and definitely not the Rees-Moggs, were at home, round to Westminster Abbey and across the road, where miracle of miracles the toilets were open and free. I only discovered the second fact after checking I had a 50p coin to get in. The taps were ones you push, there were good hand dryers. The difference it made to my day was immeasurable. We were out for around four hours. There is no way I could have managed that without this loo stop. Thank you City of Westminster.
There were quite a few people in the park, but it was all very manageable. The second surprise was finding the benches were available for use. After enjoying watching more geese and goslings, various ducks, coots, moorhens, swans black and white and a heron not in flight, we availed ourselves of one in the shade and ate snacks and drank water.
The flowers and borders were gorgeous too.
Last night I caught up with the second Grayson Perry programme about art in lockdown and Maggi Hambling was on it, interviewed at a distance of rather more more than two metres in her Suffolk studio. She showed the painting she has been working on that shows the strange contradiction we are experiencing of seeing spring all around us while thousands of people die from Covd 19. It’s a contradiction we feel every day when we enjoy ourselves, when we see nature bloom and blossom, when the evidence of life is all around us.
After the war, did people start noticing more birds when there were less aircraft? Did the birds move away from cities during the Blitz? Someone, somewhere must have looked into this. The Queen was away at Windsor, leaving the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace to represent royalty. Two mounted police officers patrolled the park in a relaxed sort of way.Continue reading