flashy pigeonThere’s something about this picture that makes it look Photoshopped. I think it’s the wild, staring eye of the pigeon that makes it looks like it’s about to attack me. I assure you that the picture’s quite genuine, though, grabbed this afternoon in St James’ Park.

It was one of those sunny afternoons in London that make you remember exactly what it is that tourists see in the city. The park is one of those places that native Londoners have all but abandoned to visitors. It’s our loss. My half hour in the park, wandering from one meeting to the next, helped unwind me no end in the middle of a stressfull day. I watched a mother duck take care of her little ones, who bobbed and pecked around her in an unconcerned way as another duck started getting aggressive. I watched policemen wander by, their now commonplace bullet-proof vests open, making them look uncannily like bulky waistcoats. I watched the occasional member of the civil service hurying from meeting to meeting, trailing wisps of governmental conversation in their wake.

A journalist could learn much in a couple of hours in the park.