Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Sounds of Key West

Unlike Key West, for anyone that lives in places that get cold (I live in Chiswick in London), Summer is an urgent time. Summer needs to be celebrated because, unusually, we get to sit, lie, laze, and generally spend time outdoors. Most of the time it's cold so we rush to get indoors and so don't get time to sit out and just listen.

Unlike Key West, we need to make the most of the weather as it does not last and it does not spoil us.

I've just come in from sitting outside in my small garden.

Three peculiar things have aligned this weekend to make it rare indeed in London:

1. it's hot in London: the air temps is 19C/66F and in my tiny back yard, in full sun, with no wind to speak of, it's HOT!

2. there is not a single cloud in the sky (how often do you get that in Key West??!!).

3. because of the Icelandic volcanic ash (invisibly up there somewhere in the upper atmosphere), there are absolutely no flights into, or out of, Heathrow airport - so my patch of west London is without its customary aircraft noise.

So, for the first time (in the 20 years I have lived in London) I can ever remember, it's quiet. Really quiet. The noisiest thing this afternoon has been the neighbourhood blackbirds.

So today, for one day only, London is a good match for Key West!! They are both party towns. And today London is as sunny and hot as Key West. And it's as quiet and laid back because everyone is celebrating in the sunshine. And the peace is chillin' everyone out.

Which brings me back to sounds.

What are the typical sounds of Key West?

At the edges of the island, of course, it's the crash of the sea.

On Duval, it's the sounds of a party.

Fortunately, a few roads back from Duval, it's really, surprisingly quiet.

Unlike London today, every 2 hours or so everyone's Key West peace is interrupted by Delta or American propellers.

The ding of the bell from the Conch tour is a constant, regular alarm clock.

The roosters constant announcements.

And during certain lucky months, the sounds of a brisk wind through the palm trees bringing a momentary relief.