Sunday, 25 July 2010


I can’t believe our luck. For maybe a month now, it has felt like summer. No, I don’t want to jinx it, but it’s true. Down here in London, we might have had the odd bit of rain here and there but generally speaking it has been hot, and, mostly sunny.
Don’t get me wrong my chums up north – I don’t mean to brag. But it does make a nice change. And down in London people are making the most of the situation. Or trying to at least.
Since moving to a flat with a roof terrace last summer, I have devoted a lot of time to watering my plants, attempting to grow vegetables from seed and keeping it tidy. This year we have invested in solar lights, a chimnea, and today we finally bought a barbeque. In a couple of weeks we are hosting our first barbeque party. We have invited our friends from out of London and have discussed our barbeque menu. Now we just need to pray that the good weather will hold – and that we can fit everyone into our little patch of outside. Failing that? I guess we’ll have to do what everyone does and huddle underneath an umbrella to cook the sausages whilst our guests enjoy them from inside.
But most Londoners don’t have that luxury and make the most of London’s restaurants attempts at al fresco dining. But even this doesn’t seem to quite work. Not only do you have to depend on the weather to be able to eat outside, but you need the space, and London’s footpaths don’t really offer that. Last night I went out for dinner with Him Indoors in Islington. On Upper Street the restaurants had spilled out onto the pavements, taking up most of the pedestrian walkway but clearly popular with diners. But it doesn’t quite work. People walking by hardly have room to pass two abreast. And the diners are surrounded by noisy traffic, street drinkers and litter bins. Not exactly my idea of a nice setting to tuck into a pizza anyway.
Then there is the English institution of Open Air Theatre. Having experienced it when on holiday down in Cornwall with my parents I was keen to try out Regents Park’s version. A friend offered me a discounted ticket and I jumped at the chance. It was the day before the performance and having seen the weather forecast I went for it. Would I have paid full price weeks in advance and risked getting rained on? Definitely not. But I had a great night.
So, does London cut it as an alfresco city? Well, it certainly tries, and when the weather is good its inhabitants make the most of its efforts to keep up with Paris, Barcelona and Naples. But without the promise of good weather and the lack of space to spread out into the great outdoors, it struggles to pull it off. But you can’t help but loving it for trying.

No comments:

Post a Comment