When does the summer begin? When does it end?
It’s raining again in London, and even though the temperatures are much higher than usual for September, I see the rain as a sign marking the end of summer, and the transition into autumn. Whilst coping with the numerous heat waves was harder than I expected (and I welcome the rainy respite even if it is momentarily), I look back at the last few months with extreme fondness.
Looking back at summer in the city, the times spent going to green spaces remain a recurring memory. Increased daylight hours, clear blue skies, and any sensation of warmth in the otherwise dreary and cold environment leads to Londoners slipping into shorts and sandals, grabbing picnic blankets (or not) occasionally a snack, a drink or a book and making their way onto any patch of green that seems temporarily inhabitable. There is an incredible sense of satisfaction in being afforded the time and environment to do nothing but lay in the sun, and absorb the warmth in, even if just for a few moments.
The city offers those spaces in relative abundance (in comparison to many other heavily populated urban spaces), in the form of large parks, smaller gardens, squares, and the occasional patch of green in the middle of nowhere. As the days get longer, and warmer more people lay themselves out in these spaces, hoping to escape the stuffy homes that are built to trap heat, to absorb as much sunlight as they can, before the months slip away.
A few slides cannot do justice to the immersive experience of the outdoors during summertime in London. Yet, these a few moving images, from some spaces I spent time in. A few are incredibly familiar and I return to them over and over again. Others are still new, and frequented less. I would hope to experience many more in the coming years, across varied ends of the city. Perhaps, I could create my own map, and archive over the years?
For now, here are a few snippets of my summer time spent outdoor in London.
Hampstead Heath, features most dominantly in my photographic and memory archives, because it has been in close proximity to me this last summer. These yellow buttercup like flowers despite being on the Heath, transport me back to my time as an undergraduate student in Scotland, when I first noticed them in abundance, swaying in the light breeze.
I have seen this frame across all four seasons over the last year. It is almost a 'gateway' to Parliament Hill. I always pause here, to take in the changing landscape, but also to watch people walk across. In the sweltering summertime, this shaded part of the Heath, offers much needed protection in the form of a relatively cooler, haven
This is from the back garden at Victoria Miro Gallery, close to the canal around Old Street. I had been to the gallery before, once last autumn, but at that point I hadn't realised that this space was hidden away. This summer, when I went to see an exhibition on closing day, I took my time walking around the space and spent longer looking and chanced upon this beautiful, and quite outdoor area. I sat there for a while on the wooden chairs, and watched the ducks navigate the mossy green water that looked more like a bed of grass than a flowing liquid form. I wondered what the ducks were thinking as they glided through.
Regents' Park in May. The time of the year, when the sun is always out, the days never seem to end. This is when the daisies are in full bloom and this part of the park, by the boating lake particularly caught my notice because there were more flowers in the ground than green grass.