It isn’t a long walk to Charlie’s school, but we reward ourselves by visiting the cafe. Sitting outside, I glimpsed Union Flags flying for the Jubilee, and reflected that pavement tables and espresso are two of the many blessings to have been bestowed on London during The Queen’s reign.
The London even of my youth-I was born after the Coronation-was a quite different place: smoke-blackened, gastronomic-ally challenged, provincial. The dreadful Col Seifert was doing his best to wreck the skyline with his low-grade towers. True, the capital is now crowded and parts are the preserve of the very rich. But these are because it has become a world city. Despite the recession, it’s enjoying a golden age.
Just look at the railway termini. St Pancras, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Marylebone and now, thanks to John McAslan’s new concourse, King’s Cross have all been strikingly redeveloped, keeping the beloved Victorian architecture, but boldly improving the circulation spaces. The great national collections have never looked better.
I regret the passing of the vegetable market at Covent Garden, but the opera house is a wonder, every performance of the highest international standard. It wasn’t so 30 years ago. Rejoice!
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