I've been with Fiona all afternoon, calmly floating down the Regent's Canal from Paddington to Camden in a charming converted barge.
The occasion was the 50th birthday of the partner of one of Fiona's bandmates. It strikes me, in retrospect, that I was there under hugely tenuous circumstances, but I had a blast and met some lovely people.
It's such a calming thing to glide down a canal surrounded by trees and glinting sunlight. The most exciting aspect was undoubtedly going through a long tunnel, a beautiful ever-growing green window at the opposite end.
The canal cuts through the middle of London Zoo, an aviary on one bank filled with all sorts of bizarre birds, and a pen on the other filled with comedy warthogs!
Periodically, a curious klaxon would sound from the front of our barge and we'd pass another vehicle on the water. At one point I was astonished to drift past a punt load of people. I had no idea that one could actually punt in London. It strikes me that punting along a canal is probably quite a bad idea. Motorised boats have a habit of creating all sorts of crazy ripples and waves in their wake and they don't tend to notice things like punts which float so close to the river surface.
We sailed past the zoo and into Camden town where the banks were filled with hippies, punks, stoners and bemused-looking tourists. I think everyone has decided it's the last day of summer. People were trying to soak up the last few rays of decent sunlight. I doubt the temperatures will make it into the 20s again this year.
Fiona and I walked home from Paddington to Kentish Town via Regent's Park and back along the canal, this time after dark. One of the bridges was lit very beautifully and was reflected like a giant moon in the raven black water.
We walked past the aviary again and looked up at the weird birds with curiously long necks settling down to roost for the night. A giant heron seemed to be stalking around the floor of the pen, it stopped for a moment to peer out at us rather superciliously.
Camden Lock is such a lovely-looking place at night. A thousand twinkly lights reflected on the canal surface. The rich, tempting smells of food from every corner of the world. A great sense of people feeling relaxed and doing their own thing.
We've come home and Fiona is helping me to create Pro-tools sessions for the Pepys recordings at the end of the month. It's amazing how much preparation is necessary for these things! It seems to be takin forever!