Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Chinese New Year!

It's not often I find myself in Soho at 10am. I hadn't joined in the Chinese New Year festivities since I was a child, and it seemed a terrific way to spend the morning with Kiddo.

In Chinese culture, red is the colour of celebration and brings good luck.

It certainly was lucky weather: those shades aren't just hiding a hangover!

Red lanterns hung like garlands across the streets.

The effect was especially striking in Trafalgar Square, where the vivid red joined with the blue of the cockerel on the fourth plinth: two symbolic colours piercing the stony background.

The streets around Chinatown were closed to traffic - without the noise and obstruction of cars and buses, little details of the streets and buildings reveal themselves.

I love the Chinese supermarkets, stacked to the rafters with specialty goods. Doesn't it make you feel transported to a foreign land? And a whole window of green tea!

Shaftesbury Avenue was thronged. We got a spot at the front, with the parade inches away from us. It was fantastic to be so close to the action, though difficult to hold Kiddo up, take it in and take photos! How I answer the call of duty...

The dragon shone and danced in the middle of the procession

Followed by two very cheeky dragons

And of course, some horses! Year of the Horse apparently brings spontaneous energy, and will be a good year for travel and adventure.

A bus-full of revellers

And painted ladies

My Chinese year is Tiger; something I share with Marilyn Monroe. It was fitting then, that as we walked to lunch, her photo was smiling at us from a private gallery.

Lunch, of course, was dim sum. We went to the highly recommended Princess Garden and it lived up to expectations: we left as fat and happy as a Laughing Buddha.

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