An Autumn Abundance




After the relative doldrums of summer, London always goes a bit barmy in autumn. Not that we’ve had such a season so far this year, with temperatures in Central London hitting summer peaks as late as November. But in the evenings mists are now rolling in from the river, and there’s a hint of burning children in the air so it must be Bonfire Night.

It’s the city’s most adult season, when the grown-up plays appear in the West End and decent film festivals arrive. There’s a fantastic array of serious theatre coming up, with (for once) some decent lower-priced offers for the less fabulous seats. In London at least, Halloween parties have noticeably superseded the forgotten splendours of Guy Fawkes’ Night (something of which Admin does not approve) and somewhere in the mix is Diwali as well, so there are plenty of explosions to be heard around town.

The Lord Mayor’s show arrives on Saturday November 8. When it comes to traditional events it’s a grand one, referenced in Pepys’s diaries and in works by Canaletto and Hogarth. The procession (11am-2.40pm) involves 7,000 people and 180 horses, along with dancers, drummers and floats, and the gilded state coach, normally on display at the Museum of London, trundles from Mansion House through the Square Mile to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, returning via Victoria Embankment.

The river plays its part too. A flotilla starts at 9am and features the Queen’s barge Gloriana. This year the Magna Carta is involved, launching celebrations of the ancient charter’s 800th anniversary. It will travel in the coach in front of the one carrying Alderman Alan Yarrow, the next Lord Mayor. It all end with fireworks just after sunset. I haven’t been to this parade since I was seven, so this year I’ll be making a concerted effort to attend again. Although this time I don’t suppose we’ll have Dick Van Dyke driving Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Logically, this would be the time for the next Bryant & May novel to appear, as it is set around the smouldering first week in November, but those smokers among you will have to wait just a little longer (Easyjet joke there).

Meanwhile, enjoy the city; I went to the Gothic exhibition at the British Library – fun for newbies, no surprises for geeks, although the manuscript for MR James’s ‘Casting The Runes’ reveals that he hardly did any editing (bastard), and am heading for the National tonight to check out the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim collaboration on Imelda Marcos. Meanwhile, Galton and Simpson are back on the radio, ‘Utopia’ makes for a decent box-set binge (I couldn’t watch the Chilis-and-sand bit in the first episode but I’ll persevere), opera and dance seasons are open, the Globe is making all of its plays available online, something called ‘football’ is proving popular once more, the parks are quiet again and I’m out and about researching a new novel. Stop me before I kill again.

Enjoy autumn, wherever you are!

4 comments on “An Autumn Abundance”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    I understand one of the London galleries has a showing of Emily Carr paintings. You want to have a look at that.
    I seem to remember Admin making disparaging remarks about Hallowe’en and the way it was driving out the celebration of Guy Fawkes’ capture. Time passes and our feelings change.

  2. Charles says:

    “Halloween parties have noticeably superseded the forgotten splendours of Guy Fawkes’ Night (something of which Admin does not approve)” seems to me that Admin does not approve of Hallowe’en’s supersession over Guy Fawkes’ Night, not that Admin does not approve of the latter. Ah, for the joys of the English language!

  3. admin says:

    You know what I mean, Charles. ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    Charles, I must read more carefully. You are quite correct.

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