All posts filed under: London Haunts

Blossoms in London in spring

Postcard From London In The Spring

This morning dawned slate and sombre, blemished by a spitting rain that had truly earned its name. The sort of weather that makes you want to go straight back to bed, or to curl up in a ball and weep your eyes out (no, just me?) Even a trip to the library book sale failed to lift my mood. When, at 4 in the afternoon, the drizzle ceased, we rushed out of the door, eager to cure our terminal cabin fever. It was cold, really cold, but soon enough the sun began to peek out and the skies began to clear. We stumbled upon a Greek Orthodox church, its ceiling painted in deep-hued mosaics and kicked through the fallen blossoms on the pavement as though they were autumn’s leaves. I love that feeling of surprised discovery that accompanies stumbling upon an unknown landmark virtually on your doorstop. As we walked, I took photographs of almost every streetside flower and marvelled quietly at the town planner who thought to plant corridors of cherry blossoms on these suburban …

London Haunts | The Secret Garden In Spring

I’ve written before about ‘my’ secret garden, a clandestine jewel tucked in the heart of Regent’s Park. I’ve visited in autumn, rusty leaves crunching underfoot, and in late summer, the last tendrils of wisteria drooping yellow with age. I’ve visited in deepest winter too, the paths a quagmire of mud and frost, and yet still it retained its charm. Now, spring. It’s my favourite, of course. The garden is still quiet enough, though part of the path is closed until mid-April should you wish to explore for yourself. The borders are sprouting tulips and primroses, daffodils and muscari. A pair of magnolia trees sing their seasonal symphony, a concerto of pale pinks and mauves. My favourites are the drooping, dusk-pink hellebores, or Lenten roses, as they’re sometimes known for the season in which they bloom. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this place. With its pathways empty and the blooms just waking up from their winter sleep, the garden fills me with a quiet hope and the feeling that the very best is yet to come.

London Haunts | An Autumnal Regent’s Park

I spent a lot of time alone last autumn, just me, my film camera and the acres of Regent’s Park stretching before me. These photographs, just developed, have transported me back in time to those misty, damp days of early November when I finally felt myself unspooling, returning to a self I had not seen for many months – or, if so, only for brief snatches, only in passing. Now that it is autumn again, the evenings slowly folding in upon themselves and my heart is full, these photographs are a poignant reminder that seasons – on Earth and in our own terrestrial lives – come and go. I’m no longer the same woman I was last autumn, but somewhere inside, if we peel back the layers like an onion, the girl who snapped these autumnal images is rattling away, looking forward to the damp November noons memorialised above on film again. The best thing about my office is its proximity to the park – a hop, skip and a jump, a stone’s throw, a ten-minute walk and you’re …

London Haunts | Hill Garden and Pergola, Hampstead Heath

My favourite places in London are almost without exception those that do not feel at home in the city at all. One such place, finally discovered after months of longing, is Hampstead Heath’s Hill Garden and Pergola on the western edge of the park. I’d been dreaming up this afternoon for a while after seeing a photograph of the pergola and its crumbling columns and neo-classical facades. In pictures, it looked like the sort of place the great Romantic poets of London might have strolled for inspiration, where the Bloomsbury group might have hosted flamboyant summer soirees. So off we went. These photographs really don’t do it justice. It’s romantic and faded and beautiful and sad – a shadow of its former opulence, I’m sure, but perhaps all the better for it. Hop off the tube at Hampstead (Northern line) and walk the mile to the western edge of the Heath. Cut through a tiny lane by Jack Straw’s Castle (the large white pub by the pond) and soon enough you’ll find yourself in this magical dreamland, the Hill Garden and Pergola – one of …

London Haunts | The South Bank

Summer in the city is not my ideal mode d’être, but spring in the city – that I’ll take. I adore those brisk, breezy noons where the world feels brand new again and even amidst the steel and glass of the metropolis, the air smells like soil freshly sowed.  Those days when scarves must be fastened tightly around the neck to keep out the wind, the season unfurling slowly and deliberately, the release of a tightly coiled spring. This particular Saturday feels a lifetime ago, though it was only the beginning of May. A rare weekend day in the city with a pair of oldest, dearest friends. Raised on the periphery of the capital, the South Bank was our go-to downtown hangout as teenagers and I still hold a soft spot for the place – for its pleasingly familiar mélange of brutalist architecture, cultural offerings and excellent coffee. It’s easy to forget in the haste of moving from A to B, weekday woes and commuter chaos, that we live in a world-class city. The South Bank always reminds me of that. (photos) with a D5100 and 35mm lens …