On 21 November last year, 2011, I was walking back from a meeting along Birdcage Walk, which edges St James’s Park in the centre of London. At one end of the park lies Buckingham Palace, at the other the corridors of power: 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office, the Treasury and the Foreign Office. It is said to be the park where spies meet, and we know that recently it was where a minister dumped his unwanted correspondence. It is most definitely a place where tourists love to stroll and office workers come to eat their lunchtime sandwiches and ready meals, away from the confines of their open plan offices, the tyranny of their computers. In the summer they will also come to sunbathe, as they also do in nearby Green Park. Me, I avoid that at lunch time as you get back to the office too relaxed, a bit hot, lethargic. Need to stay sharp.
But the park is also very beautiful, an absolute jewel in London’s crown. I never tire of the place – so serene amid the bustle, the lake and its bridge the centre piece, with wonderful views of the buildings in the distance, including the London Eye, which peeks out above the government buildings to one end. The grey geese which live there give the place a certain dignity as well. When I watch them I can’t help but think of the dinosaurs from whom they may have been descended. The pelicans attract the tourists, but I think it is the geese that give the park its avian identity.
Anyway, I was walking back on 21 November, with the sun blazing, a beautiful autumn day. I looked around and was entranced by the colours, the colours of autumn. Here, right in the middle of our great city. So I took out the iPhone and took a few shots. Not all of the best resolution, but I hope it gives the impression of the beauty of that day, the autumnal London basking in unseasonal sunshine.
(Double click on any photo and you get full size).
Starting with Birdcage Walk itself, some autumn flowers, a statue and the obligatory squirrel shot.
Take it to the bridge!
Into the sun.
The colours, the colours!
The two ends. Mirror images.
Whomping willow? (I’m not even sure if this is a willow, but it should be).
More extraordinary hues.
And those descendants of the dinosaurs…
I’ve been working in or around Westminster for the past twenty years (frightening!). I’ve been in love with St James’s Park from the very first day. It is an affair which will never end…