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Is there anything more perfect than being surrounded by piles of brand new books? The very air of bookshops whispers with the echo belonging to thousands of words.

I’m in London for the day. It’s glorious, and my travel companions are at a matinee. I’ve wandered around, and now I’m treating myself to two hours of luxurious browsing of bookshops.

Earlier we rotated round the Eye, lunched with the lions in Trafalgar Square and then took in several rooms of iconic paintings at the National Gallery. But to me the treasures of London are not just to be found in the fixtures and fittings; look instead for the street performers, both intended and unintentional.

Back in the days of yore, when I lived in London, I was too busy living my life to stop and really see the ebb and flow of the unusual which was taking place around me.

Today I have watched an over adventurous middle aged man dressed in extreme adventure clothing climb a lion. He got up just fine – but took his time getting back down. I suspect he’s a better mountaineer than abseiler. Then my attention was caught by a chap in a pith helmet. Really. He stood at the top of of the Trafalgar Square steps and gazed across to South Africa House as if he were keeping watch over his patch of veldt. Behind him was a limber young thing contorting himself through a tennis racquet frame.


Theatreland is teeming with Bright Young Things plugged into various electronics in a curious mix of summer and deep winter clothing. Perhaps they were too busy checking out their technology to look out of the window to see if the weather forecast was correct. And tourists. Also permanently attached to cameras. Seriously, why do people film everything? Just experience and enjoy it, not watch it through a lens. Oh, I nearly forgot about the hen weekend parties. I found it rather exhausting just watching them bounce and shriek at each other along the pavements to be honest. I had to be revived with a large gelato.

In a fashion update, it seems the boundary between country and city has finally blurred. There’s a Barbour store on Long Acre.

I should have just worn my gardening gear. I’d have blended right in.