Town mouse on spring in London

London in the spring is delicious, up to a point. My wife and I spent a balmy hour sitting outside the local tapas bar recently, imagining we were in Spain and sharing, without specially wishing to, the music booming from vehicles pulling up at the traffic lights. But the more the sun shines, the more one longs to be somewhere that it’s appropriate to wear shorts.

The May bank holidays are something of a torment in this regard, offering a taste of freedom yet only a taste. We all felt it keenly when we arrived back after the last one, at a late hour. It was a struggle to get the boys to school the next day.

I staunchly maintain that London is a fine place for children to grow up. One of the boys has just come back from a maths trip to, of all places, the V&A: they were studying Islamic pattern. But an inner Pan keeps whispering we should have more of a garden. Besides, how can anyone afford to take a family to the ‘Ring Cycle’ from the Mariinsky Theatre, playing at Covent Garden in July?

By the time I succeeded in getting onto the Royal Opera House website, on the first day of booking, the only tickets would’ve cost more than the school fees. Haven’t they heard of the credit crunch?