Saturday, July 01, 2006

Summer in the City

Summer in the CitySummer in the City is great, and I headed off to the South Bank area at 9am to get a couple of hours sun-bathing and fresh air, with a chance to also catch up on some reading (new SFX magazine - even more dire than the last issue, oh dear!)

There is a large grassy area by The London Eye which is ideal for this and until The Eye opens for business at 10am it's deserted, bar the odd sleeping whino taking advantage of the empty park benches. It's a great place for sun-bathing and one could believe one was in a park in the country were it not for the odd five-minute rumbles from the Underground that make you feel as if the grass you're on is egg-shell thick and could collapse and fall through to tunnels below at a moment's notice!

The only depressing thing about this area, if you happily ignore the afore-mentioned homeless folk, is the litter. Bins everywhere, but nobody uses them! Curiously, even when the the cleaner showed up and strolled onto the grass with his brush, spade and trolley after 10am all he seemed interested in was the glass bottles and cans. Endless paper litter and plastic bottles were pretty much left where they were. As a Londoner I find it embarrassing that so many of our citizens can't use a public area without leaving a complete tip behind, but also that the councils who charge us so much in rates for tidying up after selfish visitors don't seem to do the job even half properly. Ho hum!

Litter aside, this is an excellent place to just relax in and people watch. When the sun gets too much, one can wander along the river, past the over-priced National Theatre restaurant stops, the second-hand book markets and the OXO tower to the riverside pub that serves up a cool refreshing pint and reasonably priced brunch or lunch (although admittedly the quality of the food is more school dinners than haute cuisine).

It's very pleasant catching up on the week's news or watching the ant-like hordes crossing the bridge to St Paul's with the infamous Gherkin in the background as a gentle breeze blows and the sun beats down. All-in-all a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning and wind down after the previous week's work.

The "living statues" were pretty much as they had been a few weeks back when I last visited, but there was an interesting variation this time - the invisible man. I couldn't work out where the real eyes were, but wherever they were they saw everything and provided fun for the tourists wanting picture taking opportunities.

1 comment:

Brian Sibley said...

The Invisible Man - if original - is a triumph! Brilliant! All he needs to do now is work out - as in the film versions - how to smoke a cigarette!

On the subject of litter, it amazes me too - but then I'm just another GOG, I suppose...

This morning, on my way back from the Co-op, I saw a family - Mum, Dad and young son and daughter - setting out for the day and the kids were unwrapping chocolate bars as they left the house and, having done so, dropped the wrappers right outside their own front gate while the parents said nothing and merely stepped over the rubbish...