London in the spring time, I have discovered, is the panacea.
There are foxes screaming to each other in the night, wood pigeons, girlfriends drinking ginger tea, forget-me-nots and bleeding hearts, a woodpecker heralding the arrival of summer. There are oaks and beeches and great stretches of lawn that makes one want to cavort and cartwheel. There is sunshine, cherry blossom, men in white trousers and iridescent orange shoes. Soup, school lunches, hot cross buns. Cadbury's dairy milk. Laughter. So much laughter. Budding trees and tulips (from Amsterdam). Tears. Chopin's Nocturne.
It's hard to be here because last time I was here it was with the man I loved. I see him everywhere. I don't want to but it's hard to miss. The city looked different before I met him and now I hear him commenting on everything I see, even the golden pheasant at Kew that two small Parisian children were chasing --with all the stealth of the Pink Panther -- to try to get a picture.
Yesterday was earth day and we spent a few hours of it at Kew. My best, oldest friend and me, just wandering through the trees and acknowledging the geese and circling the Henry Moore, gobsmacked. The last time I was at Kew was aged 9 when I was in Mr Williams class at Little Gaddesden C of E school. I have a picture of me and my brother and Tim Young in a red anorak outside the large Victorian greenhouse. I am not sure that 9 and 7 year olds fully appreciate the joy of a botanical garden, but its magic wasn't lost on me this time. "We could hide," I said to Vivien. "We could hide and then have a picnic when everyone has gone." "and the statues would come to life and we would have a party under the stars and no-one would know" she said.
There is no-one in the world who makes me feel so comfortable. We amuse each other all day long, and somehow manage to avoid irritating each other. We are Patsy and Adina. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Vanessa and Virginia. Or two fourteen year old schoolgirls talking about boys and bursting into song at the slightest provocation. Miley. Elvis. Bowie. Hot Chocolate. Sinatra. Ian Dury. Nina Simone. Toots & The Maytals.
I am a lucky girl.