Though I have been back from holiday in The Algarve, Portugal for more than a week now, I’m only beginning to feel grounded. What a lovely holiday. Do check out the pictures below:
Anyhow, with a busy schedule including working on the design of my upcoming book,The Seasons, which will be out in late October, and preparing for the launch of a new website to coincide with it, I have hardly had time to notice London, even it is as busy as ever.
I have been moving about rather purposefully, only doing the essentials—training, going to the hair salon, and shopping for groceries. And what a task the latter has been since discovering that I have more food intolerances that I can stomach. But that’s another story.
On top of all this, I lost my favourite aunt last weekend and continue to struggle with mourning from afar. See my January 2011 blog on this very topic. Admittedly, I felt better re-reading it.
Still, I felt foggy and a bit out of sorts until yesterday. Then I noticed something different in the atmosphere, something novel and perhaps light.
No longer was the heaviness of summer hanging over me as I made my way to the nearby park during my morning run, though I hadn’t run in a few days. And later that morning on a jaunt to Knightsbridge and Sloane Square, I felt a similar vigour.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that though not official according to astronomers, autumn has come to London. Even if day and night are not of equal length, I’m certain it is here, even if there are only a few berry coloured trees to behold and two or three rust coloured leaves around.
As autumn has always been my favourite seasons, I have long concluded that its arrival is not necessarily in the landscape, but in the air. It’s an atmosphere, a feeling. And in London, this atmosphere takes off the intense edge.
What a sigh of relief to notice that:
1) People here seem to approach autumn almost as if it is a New Year. From launching new restaurants to opening flagship stores, merchants keep the capital fresh and relevant. Yesterday, I popped into the new Club Monaco store in Sloane Square. Not bad, not bad!
2) The buzz around the new term – be it the school term, the work term, the ‘explore or improve your life’ course term – adds to the novelty. In any case it is all about new beginnings. No need to wait for January to set off to a crisp start.
3) Londoners and tourists alike are friendlier. While I have always been one of those people with an ‘ask me’ stamp on my forehead, it seems to glow in the daylight in autumn. Where is Sloane Street? Am I on the right road to Harrods? Is Parliament Square this way? Just a few of the questions I was asked recently. So glad I could help.
4) More walkers and runners are taking to the paths. The pleasant weather is just right for walking and running and cycling, too. Never mind the occasional dark cloud and threat of rain. It’s London, after all.
5) People continue to sit outside, if only for a spell. In summer everyone goes out in droves for fear they won’t get the opportunity to do so the next day. But autumn days linger, making us all a bit more relaxed.
6) It doesn’t hurt that there are few, if any gnats or midges to reckon with, although I did notice a bee kicking up a buzz among the crowds in Fulham over the weekend.
7) And lo and behold drivers are far more courteous than they were in the summer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the congestion can be taxing. But we are all in it together. Seriously!
Though I’m looking forward to those traditional days when the leaves will colour the landscape, for now I’m taking in the fresh atmosphere of autumn in the capital and basking in it. It’s in the air.