G is for Gardens and Parks
Given the not-so-pleasant climate of the UK (in comparison to Portugal), it is amazing how much people you find year round in parks and gardens across the country. I believe that this relates greatly to the garden design and the weather itself.
While in Portugal you have what is called a “French garden”, with its organised planters and fountains which are designed to be looked at, here you have the “English garden”.
This is a more natural space, with open green areas designed for children to run, for people to play games or for a picnic. And of course, there are none of those “do not step on the grass” signs so familiar to my childhood.
Here, people got used to enjoy their green spaces.
When living in a large city like London these become quick escapes from the urban environment and you suddenly feel away from everything. Winter or summer, you find people using their local park until sunset (when they close, according to the sign at the entrance).
In the winter, you find footballers, joggers and dog walkers. If it is one of those very cold sunny days you may even find people just enjoying the fresh air and stocking up on vitamin D.
But come a sunny day with temperatures above 18 degrees and a small green patch for your picnic becomes prime real estate and you find yourself meeting your friends before noon on a weekend morning just to get a good spot in the park.
As a good Londoner, I also head to the park with my picnic blanket, bottle of Pimms and all the paraphernalia to prepare the cocktail, entertainment in the form of frisbee, cricket bat or football and an array of picnic suitable food (so much in fact that some friends once had to take a cab to bring everything they have prepared).
I also use the park for jogging, and having recently joined my local parkrun I hope I’ll be heading down regularly to my local (park, not pub) year round.