I always seem to start my posts with an account of the weather, which may be the most typically ‘British’ thing one could do. Luckily for me, fond as I am of pathetic fallacy, the weather in this country offers no shortage of inspiration.
I sit here typing with my feet on the grass, everything brightened by the sunlight, including the yellows, bright reds, and pinks of the freshly formed flowers in the garden at home. The daffodils, in various shades of cream and yellow are fully bloomed, bunched together; long pouting tubes with crimped edges like the edges of a pastry shell burst through splayed star petals, on top of long, thin grass stems. The itinerant deep buzz of lawnmowers, and that of birds chirping their mottled chorus are the few sounds to be heard, that and then there’s the feeling of the sun, pressing its warmth like a deep sigh. Every so often a cool breeze causes the leaves to whisper. It’s spring; with the sun it’s warm, without it, it’s almost as if the spectre of winter comes back, and the breeze is left to prick the skin without the sun’s balm to soothe.
Finally. After such a long, wet winter, the streets in London are pounded by slower steps, of people taking it in-this new chapter in the seasons. The preceding days of rain mean that the sun brings out deeper, keener colours as if the city is freshly painted. The ‘in between’ days as the seasons change are clear enough from the various fashions on the streets: some have already reached to find the summer wear, sandals and shorts, cropped trousers, dresses without tights. Others carry coats and scarves still, ready for when the sun disappears behind a cloud or dips down for the night.
Recording, whether in writing or otherwise, is like an attempt to crystalise moments. As if memories were made of water, writing is like freezing, so memories form into frost-like splinters, more perceptible later on when most of life’s passing moments become difficult to extract from the streams of everyday experience. Do you think you’ll remember this day I asked some of the people on my course as we sat at the Delauney, an old-school, elegant Austrian café and restaurant near campus where we could at last take advantage of the small round tables and chairs on the wide pavements outside. What were we doing this time last year we pondered, as people walked by and cars and red buses swerved around the road’s bend? Most of us had found out we were coming to the LSE and were starting to plan for the move to London. It seemed like so long ago. We talked of things to look forward to (and to punctuate the studying) now that spring was here: Longer days, beer gardens, ice-cream, languid, lazy afternoons on the grass at Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
Somehow this week is week 10 of the second term, our last ‘proper’ week of taught classes. There’s very little time left to put off the painfully long list of reading to do and revision for the essays and exams which await in May. Maybe that’s why this weekend felt like it was suspended, in between one phase and the next. A weekend where dinner at a ‘street food’ festival in a smoky old warehouse, turned unexpectedly into a night at ‘Passing Clouds’, a live music venue in Hackney, dancing to South Indian Kathak beats mixed up with electronica. Then Sunday was too beautifully sunny to be as productive as planned.
There will be showers and cloudy, cool, rainy days to come. There always are. That may be why I like to write about this city’s weather. It mirrors life with its ups and downs, with its bright, clear, warm days and it’s darker, dimmer, colder days and those where all the seasons seem to converge. It delights, disappoints, frustrates, and beguiles. It comes and goes and there’s only so much planning you can do based on the forecasts, even with satellite imagery. Often, just like that, it surprises you and you just have to go along with it.