Town Mouse

Harbingers of spring

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

JUST around the cor­ner is a lime tree that charts the sea­sons for me in cen­tral Lon­don. Its branches as yet re­main bar­ren, but a sur­round­ing car­pet of daf­fodils has come into bloom, bril­liantly coloured harbingers of spring. We were tempted out by the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sun­shine for a fam­ily visit to the Tower. The Crown Jewels formed the un­ques­tioned high­light of the trip. I have never re­ally warmed to them be­fore, but the chil­dren’s won­der was com­pletely in­fec­tious. There was also en­thu­si­asm for the ravens, but, to my dis­ap­point­ment, rather less for the White Tower.

The his­tory and ar­chi­tec­ture of this great build­ing—lon­don’s first high-rise—left them cold. In­stead, it was the ar­mour dis­played there that caught their at­ten­tion. When I tried to move them on from the three suits that chart Henry VIII’S chang­ing stature, they had their re­venge by loudly dis­cussing which one most closely ap­prox­i­mated my shape. I’m not used to such teas­ing. A few days ago, we had a sur­pris­ingly an­i­mated dis­cus­sion about giv­ing things up for Lent. It quickly emerged that the chil­dren as­pired to 40 days’ ab­sti­nence from school. As noth­ing else would sat­isfy their scrupu­lous search for self-mor­ti­fi­ca­tion, we agreed— but only af­ter a short ar­gu­ment—that life must carry on as nor­mal. JG

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