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London Calling

Grubby old London is neither so grubby nor so ill-tempered as I remember. The crowds are worse - but a few blocks back from the Monopoly board streets you can find leafy little parks and quaintly meandering streets.

Step off the footsore tourist trail and there are treasures lying in wait: Sir John Soane's extremely quirky Museum, the rooftop garden and woodland of Queen Elizabeth Hall, Ladywell's water meadows. It's often the small and unexpected that delights: scattered sunlight on Victorian facades, the soaring voice of a soprano practicing scales in a church, a late night meeting with a suburban fox.

The Queen was out and about yesterday. I didn't see her; I was busy admiring sycamore trees and a photo of Wilfred Owen.

The AusNZ Festival and subsequent days of meetings have been fun, fast and curious. This weekend I have something altogether trickier in mind: Winston Churchill and Will Shakespeare are on my meeting agenda - wish me luck; I've heard they're elusive. But here somewhere.

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