Broadway Market actually, to this bookshop, yesterday evening.
It was to hear Valentine Low reading from his new book , One Man and his Dig, another rus in urban son of the soil. It's a lovely little book. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in allotments - new "allotmenteers", horny handed old lags or anyone interested in family and kinship in London, (with apologies to Willmott and Young). It's all there from the seed and tuber gathering manias to the total eccentricity of the allotment society AGM. If B. Pym was still with us, she would soon eschew the Church of England and direct her attentions to the shenanigans of "the allotment committee". There's even true crime in there.
I have to declare a personal interest, though not one that I had prior knowledge of. Valentine chose as one of his readings a piece about Manor Gardens and mentioned the beautiful pine tree that we had on our old plot, grown from a cone brought back from Tunisia by my son John. I was taken back at once to the idyllic little spot we had, the sheer bounty of it all and the pleasure of snoozing under the shade of that tree when it was hot. I thought I'd got over it, moved on. But clearly not as the tears welled up (not for the first time). Young John said to me once that he felt really lucky to have had the freedom to explore the semi wild spaces up there, make camps, have a tree house, run a bit wild with his mates. And for that we should be grateful.
We should be grateful for this too. On the way home, we walked along the side of the Regents Canal and found this young elder tree growing from a little corner of earth, scenting up the air, the Queen of Trees.
This majestic little beauty holds court among the old gas works and, yes, looks utterly noble to me lording it over it's domain. But then I do like a bit of industrial architecture.
And further along the road, this arum lily, an escape from a little neglected garden outside a forge works.
Doesn't it give you hope?