Town mouse on autumn in London

Autumn is easy to miss in the city, where the changing colour of the trees is overwhelmed by grey bricks and mortar and the fallen leaves are hastily swept away.

This week, I went to the City and Guilds of London Art School to look at some sculptures being prepared by the students for St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Recent repairs to the building revealed that some of the existing gargoyles that line the parapets need to be replaced, and the Dean and Chapter took the brave decision to commission replacements from City and Guilds students.

The results have been impressive, and some completed sculptures are already in place. City and Guilds is an inspiring place to visit: Georgian houses knocked together to create a modern maze of Knossos.

The gardens are enclosed by workshops, and, from every corner, there peep out blocks of stone. And all around on warm days sit the students. But the centrepiece of this pleasant space is a great pear tree.

In spring, its blossom is astonishing and as I discovered in autumn, its fruits are plentiful. Not that anyone was interested: the fruit was left to fall and rot on the ground. I happily filled my pockets with windfalls. Autumn’s riches do visit London, but people tend not to notice.

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