It was one of those happy days when everyone looked like a friend or family - maybe reflecting my own determination to be in the moment and enjoy it - and, as always, there were delights everywhere. I popped into St Martin in the Fields where a rehearsal was going on for a concert of Vivaldi & Handel, and met on the way out a marvellous old lady, 87 years and full of life, originally from Naples, who had lived in London for 55 years. Walking through the gardens by the House of Lords I found a Memorial erected by a distant relative.
I first moved to London in the mid-1970s, and while it's great to see new places, people and things (the Apple Store in Covent Garden bright and buzzing with enthusiasts of all ages), it's always somehow comforting to see those that haven't changed in those nearly 40 years: the umbrella shop near the British Museum; the Pizza Express in Coptic Street, whose Italian waiters were always so kind and welcoming when we were new young parents; Food For Thought in Neal Street, mecca for wholefoodies.
And so to the poetry reading - Caroline Carver, who lives and works in Cornwall, was reading from her 4th collection, Tikki Tikki Man (Ward Wood Publishing, 2012). I find her a writer of great integrity and sincerity, and hearing her read these poems, telling the story of how two children deal with the after effects of child abuse, was a powerful experience. It's always an added benefit to hear from the poet how a work came into being, and, as a fellow listener pointed out, this difficult subject was conveyed in poems of great delicacy and beauty. Well worth the rail fare from Tonbridge!