Nothing makes you appreciate what you have like not having it.
Man, they weren’t kidding about London. The saying “April showers bring May flowers” has taken on new meaning for me, as I’m not sure if I remember seeing the sun at all in April. I’m not even kidding. March was a beautiful month, strangely warm with plenty of sunshine. But that was only a plush red carpet to spring laid out so as to be yanked out from under your feet for the entire wintry, wet, gray, cloudy, drizzly, depressing month of April. The cruelest month!!
At long last, this morning I woke to the first sunny day in London in WEEKS! I can’t wait to go running in the park today.
On the subject of the weather (so often discussed among the English), check out this BBC weather forecast by Prince Charles. Hilarious.
I could have spent hours browsing the selection here, at L’univers de Leo in Paris
When I moved to England I decided to channel my weakness for stationery into something worthwhile. So I started a postcard project back in October, offering to send a postcard to anyone who requested one.
The final tally: I’ve sent 47 postcards in the last seven months, 16 of which have been for my family (because I send one from every city I visit). My brother joked that he’d have to dedicate a whole wall to my postcards soon.
Writing postcards has become a fun and functional habit—it indulges my love of stationery, helps me stay in touch with friends back home, keeps the dying postal service in business and is a much cheaper habit than buying souvenirs that just gather dust. The only things I ever bring back from my trips are chocolate bars and other edible items :)
*Tip: If you’re looking to buy postcards in London
The best selection of postcards I’ve found in London—and believe me, I’ve looked all over this town—is in a small convenience store in Hay’s Galleria along the South Bank, on Hay’s Lane. I honestly don’t even remember if the store had a name; it’s just on the left before you enter the Galleria if you’re walking from Tooley St. It’s a small selection, but they’ve got a lot of interesting historic ones. A lot classier than the garish close-ups of the Queen where you can see all her pores. The postcards here cost about £0.60 per card. The cheapest postcards I’ve seen are sold in the souvenir shops lining Oxford Street, for £0.10~0.15 apiece.
Until Saturday, I had never heard of Little Venice, even though it’s barely a 10-minute walk from where I live. Tucked behind Paddington Station, Little Venice is a charming and surprisingly quiet spot where two of London’s canals meet. Did you even know that London has a system of canals? The things you learn.
This weekend was the annual Canalway Cavalcade, when lots of canal boats gather for a boaters’ block party.
There are food stalls and trade shops that set up along the canal, a live band that plays by the willow tree, meats on the barbecue, dancers atop the boats and a parade of illuminated boats.
I can’t say that I was all that impressed with the event itself. The food stalls and traders had all closed up shop by the time we got there for the evening events, so the atmosphere was a bit subdued if you weren’t having your own boat party. And the illuminated boat parade was cute, but anticlimactic. Maybe if the band had stayed on, it would have kept up a festive ambience. But the parade was so very slow, and only occasionally punctuated by an announcer who had the dryest of dry British humor.
But the wonderful thing about the experience overall was the very thing that’s so great about London—turn any corner, and you suddenly find yourself transported to a neighborhood with a completely different feel. The whole area is so picturesque and lovely, and the sunset was gorgeous. It’s been cloudy and cold in London for weeks now, so every little bit of sunshine is a treat. We’re still waiting for springtime here in London!
The theme of the illuminated boat parade was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We didn’t really see much of a theme, except for one boat that had a makeshift crown atop it, and the boat pictured above right, which said “Queen’s Diamond Jubilee” on the sides of the boat. Guess that boat wins for thematic accuracy!