The Ides of March

Trip Start May 31, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Ides of March have come and gone and, although sometimes described as a foreboding and worrisome time, the Friday the 13th of ancient times, we were graced with an entire week of sunlight and warm days.  Instead of packing an extra scarf in my bag I walked out of the house with my jacket in my hands several times, and even wearing sunglasses.  The trees and bushes have started to sprout little green buds and florets, and a few rose-colored blooms have decided to burst out a little earlier this year, making a grand entrance before the rest of the Spring floral cortege.  It seems these warm days have stirred up the passions of the people here, thawing out emotions and sensibility kept cold by Winter. 
 
First came the heart-felt protest of the Congolese community in Kings Cross, in front of their embassy, right next to my office.  It was incredible to hear their African chanting and signing, their vibrant dancing and body-language under the bright sunrays, guarded by tranquil statue-like police officers.  As the temperature rose, so did the spirits, when confrontations and pushing between policemen and protestors started.  The press and other onlookers started showing up and in the heat of the moment, with a tactic clearly rehearsed, the mob started pushing and shoving forcing the police officers to break their lines leaving a perfect space for one of the protestors to dash through and into the Embassy.  Whatever his purpose and whatever his goal, it was almost too perfect and worth applauding.  
 
Then came Saint Patrick's Day, the northern festive day by excellence....in a drunken and disorderly way.  Some people might argue that everyday is St. Patrick's Day in the UK and Ireland because of the ferventness with which these natives drink their beer.  But what the hell, what's wrong with another excuse to dress in green and drink yourself silly while you stomp your feet and attempt to be Lord of the Dance?  That's why on Saturday and Sunday people poured out unto the streets with more enthusiasm than usual to commemorate the most popular, yet least known saint. 
 
London dressed in green for the parade and live music under the sun, and although it rained and hailed for about 15 minutes, the sun came back out again to remind us all of the insanity of London weather, just in case in the inebriation we had forgotten. There was hot mash and Irish stew and organic cheeses and hams and chocolate cakes, pecan pies, puddings, toffees and tarts all accompanied by cold beer, golden or dark.
 
And finally, a Sunday drive through the countryside was a must when we decided we couldn't stay indoors with this glorious weather.  We drove through fields and forests, watched relaxed chocolate colored cows grazing and fluffy sheep standing upright in steep slopes.  We saw large and tiny hares crossing our path and nibbling on grass by the side of the road and allowed a couple of wild pheasants to majestically cross the road, taking their good old time to disappear into the bushes and shrubs, like a king into his chambers.  Yellow and white daffodils lay scattered everywhere we looked, standing proud and bright, as a lion would with its golden mane and snout. Plum and mauve tinted anemones with fuzzy hearts were also seen planted here and there, basking in the sunlight contently.

This is how London happily prepares to bid goodbye to Winter.  These little displays of warmth and cheer over the weekend were clear signs of the change of seasons, and just as we unveil our pale skins out into the sunlight, so does every bud, blade, leaf, stalk and shoot.  Thank god for Spring!
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