Cherry trees   Leave a comment

And apple blossom, bluebells, wild garlic, primroses, daisies and dandelions, horse-chestnut candles and lilac. The rain has caused an explosion of flower through the city.

I went walking in South East London today. To a part of London I’d never been before. And at one stage I had to stop just to stare at the sea of pink and white, like clouds, or swirls of candy floss. It was beautiful. You know when Shakespeare talks about the perfect bloom at a single moment in time before decay. Today I think I hit the cherry blooms on that very day. It was perfect. And right there in the park I had to stop, rummage in my backpack for my Ipod and find John Spillane’s ” The Dance of the Cherry Trees”;

“Let me tell you ’bout the cherry trees,

Every April in our town,

They put on the most outrageous clothes,

And they sing and they dance around,

Hardly anybody sings or dances,

Hardly anybody dances or sings,

In this town that I call my own,

You have to hand it to the cherry trees,

And they seem to be saying,

To me anyway,

 ‘You know we travelled all around the sun,

 you know it’s taken us one whole year,

well done everyone, well done.”

I have an obsession with hills in London. Places where you can climb up and breathe and see over things. It comes of being mshamba.  I have a reserve of high places to go when I need to breathe and see far. Richmond, Hampstead, Greenwich, Alexandra Palace.

Today I found a new one. King John’s Walk. I’m so happy. Just around the corner from Eltham Palace with its wonderful moat, I came to a series of sloping fields filled with ponies where you can lean on a wooden fence, smell horses, and look down over London with a mad view of Canary Wharf, the Shard and even the London Eye.

This is why I love London. You can never tire of it. It always surprises you. Samuel Johnson got it right.



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