London Rediscovered

Our first tentative trip to London for half a year. The absolute antithesis of #wildwivenhoe, our lockdown habitat, but thrilling nonetheless. As we have written before: ‘Canyons of glass and steel, capturing but not quite taming the sky‘…. but not set amid the customary hordes. The streets of the City were quiet, apart from construction men, security staff and cleaners, giving us space and time to contemplate the modernity:

.. but as always, it was both gratifying and humbling to see those spots where, by design or default, Nature has blurred the hard edges that we have tried to impose upon the world. By design, whether it is a tree canopy  creeping into the vista, or blooms to lift the spirits at ground level:

By default, take the sub-tropical garden that has developed and been encouraged on the bombed-out shell of St Dunstan-in-the-East…

…or the simple pleasures of an already-colouring fallen leaf on the pavement…

… and on the steps and Embankment in front of Old Billingsgate, the cracks between the block paviors colonised by a goodly range of mostly non-native plants, including Spotted Spurge, a rapidly increasing ‘weed’ of urban areas in the south. Either the absence of herbicide or the reduced footfall has allowed it to thrive this summer.

Plants like this give hope, and speak to me of the impermanence of our arrogant species, redolent of the Mayan cities now enveloped by apparently natural rainforest. Every thing has its time: perhaps the havoc wrought by Covid indicates that our time is past?