I had half an hour to kill before I met a friend the other day, so I thought I’d take a turn around the gardens at Hyde Park. The tube station was heaving and I fancied escaping to some peace and quiet and some greenery.
It all turned out to be a bit, well… weird. The first thing I saw when I walked into the rose garden was a sign saying ‘This area is controlled by police to protect your valuables’, or something like that. I’ve never seen that in a London park before, and it struck me as a bit ominous.
Then a lone man said ‘hello’ to me. Now if you don’t live in London you may consider that to be a friendly gesture, but most Londoners would immediately assume that the person is a creep or a nutter (in this case I think it was the former). The only other person around was a bloke wearing a hoodie, lying on a bench, smoking a joint and reading a book. Weirder and weirder.
Anyway, I went for a wander, hoping to find a nice seat and some plants to look at. I love this part of Hyde Park because it looks like a country garden, with big, blowsy borders.
And then I heard the pounding bass.
The reason the tube was so crowded and the garden so empty was that the rock festival, Hard Rock Calling, was taking place a few hundred metres away. I think I was hearing the Killers, but I can’t be sure as the tune had been lost by the time it reached me.
Anyway, I can confirm that it’s impossible to sit in a beautiful garden on a summer’s evening, in the midst of abundant borders, delicious scents wafting on the air… and not be irritated by a pounding bass. Just as it’s impossible to sit in your own garden and not be distracted the sound of a neighbour powering up a large electric garden gadget.
So I took this photo and left!