Summer in the City
Yesterday was hot. The Serpentine called. A smooth ride up the river, Hammersmith,High Street Ken, Hyde Park. But others had got their first. The paddling pool was standing room only, the place heaved with yummy mummies, au pairs and their charges. A big favourite was the water pumps which the kids squirted as they squealed.
A few oldies,the writer included, ploughed their lonely furrows up and down the murky water. The reception had a warning about “swimmer’s itch” which was transmitted by snails lurking in the weeds. Not to worry it only lasted two days. Do I care?Me? A member of this blessed plot, this gold medal winning nation. Bah, Humbug.
At the shallow end some kids splashed about. Fifty swans had also decided that the lido was the place to be, but they know the rules of the pool, they can share the space, but they mustn’t get in the way.
On the bank the Afro Cockney life guards were flirting with a couple of au pairs. The girls giggled and put their hands to their mouths,the lads shrugged and went about their business.
Elsewhere the long sun had made some go topless. Two in particular caught the eye, not least when they started to rub sun oil into each other. The fact that the girls were also smoking made this cameo even more erotic. Surprisingly since these mermaids were good looking they were not speaking Russian.
I talked to a girl who was sitting in the life guards high seat. She was a music student from Kings College studying guitar. She loved these hot days when the place was buzzing. Last week when it was overcast I had shared the lido with three in wet suits and four geese.
I bought the last sandwich, read my New Yorker and was so at ease that I thought well, even of even the large Levantine families which regularly waddled past. On the way home I stopped briefly at Serpentine Gallery which was showing American super star Alex Katz.
Later we went to the National to see Brecht’s Three Penny Opera. Ouch. I had forgotten what a bore he is, Kinnear hopelessly miscast, no one could sing, tunes lame, choreography dull,I could go on. We left at half time. Sorry Marshall. Thats two bad plays at the National on the trot,perhaps those running our Olympic’s team should take over.