"You could strip all the romance from a place if you were determined enough, even the romance of decay."
(Alan Hollinghurst, The Stranger's Child)
Oddly enough, no one else has claimed my favourite spot under that tree yet, and therefore I get to enjoy its shade every afternoon. My favourite park is two Lucksmiths songs away from my house. Due to its location, there's a complete absence of a) tourists, b) businessmen during lunch break, c) fashionable young people, d) anyone who is older than 16 or younger than 60, really. It's also completely beautiful.
I finished reading the Hollinghurst book yesterday with very mixed feelings. It appears to have been written for literary critics, conscious of its own cleverness. Before I started reading a new book, a sort-of-biography of Constantine Simonides (a particularly clever present of my dad's, combining his interest in classics with my interest in 19th century Greece) I lay in the grass, stared up at the sky and leaves, ate some carrot bread with butter and listened to this podcast. My favourite podcast in a while - Neil Bartlett is in it, that's almost enough for me!