Rain Stops Play

Great Britain, Observatory

Kensington Roof Gardens is one of the country’s most astonishing venues. Situated on the roof of a building in Knightsbridge, London, it is a block-long collection of century-old gardens filled with fully grown trees, streams, bridges, arches and flamingoes.

Unfortunately it is now a private members’ club at night, and above it is a truly appalling restaurant called ‘Babylon’, or as we rechristened it, ‘Babyfood’. The prices are insane, the clientele is mainly orange-faced and stiletto-shod, and the food is some of the blandest I’ve eaten in London. Which is a shame, because it used to be very good indeed.

But you don’t go there for the food – you go for the gardens. However, this summer – the dullest and wettest since records began – is killing restaurants with outdoor areas. One starry French restaurant in Spittalfields, Le Bouchon Breton, has just been forced to close because it has a huge (deserted) terrace, and others with outdoor areas are doing very badly.

M&S sales have plunged partly because women aren’t buying summer clothes, and I daresay we’ll hear of other global-warming-related retail collapses – meanwhile we’re being encouraged to grow curry ingredients. This starts to suggest a new world in which Manchester becomes New Venice and the US mid-West plants millions of windmills.

I think, like the hero in JG Ballard’s eerily prescient ‘The Drowned World’, it’s time to start paddling South. Turkey would be good; strong economy, nice people, lovely weather, hammams. See you there.

4 comments on “Rain Stops Play”

  1. keith page says:

    As an alternative future, there was a sci-fi novel which featured a Dorchester which was something like Venice [by, I think, Christopher Priest]

    Those roof gardens, then in the guise of Derry and Toms, I believe, used to be a favourite location for some of Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius stories.But I digress, gazing out on a waterlogged garden myself…

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    And here in the U.S. we are very dry. And hot 11 days well above average in the District of Columbia and on our deck four days at 110. Last couple of days a bit of rain and cloud, ttl, or our grass would be going. Trade you some moist stuff for was “warm”, any takers?

  3. Helen Martin says:

    I just heard the meteorologist on the radio explaining why our sky is murky right now, in spite of the sun trying to shine. Apparently smoke from forest fires in Siberia is being blown to us on high level winds. They don’t have the means to fight fires in those largely empty areas so they have to just let them burn. From what I hear on the news they don’t have the means to notify people of imminent flooding or deal with any other sort of emergency, either. I wonder if the murk will show up in Britain.

  4. Ford says:

    Dan, I belive that the heatwave that you’re experiencing has knocked the Jet Stream out of position, giving us our wet Summer.

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