Today is the sort of day that makes autumn feel close to paradise. The sky is clear, the air is crisp. As you walk along, the sun warms one side of your face, and the brisk air cools the other. Rich brown and golden leaves are lying in drifts around the Gardens, late autumn plants like asters are blazing with colour and the Rose Garden is having a glorious late flush of flowers. As I walked down to the Palm House with three colleagues, a cloud of long-tailed tits flew through the trees above us, twittering to one another. I work in heaven, I think.
We were on our way to be photographed for a marketing publicity shot; it needed a group of "interested visitors" and we had been roped in. We spent about twenty minutes pretending to be given a guided tour by the Keeper of the Palm House. As he is a mine of knowledge, of course we all started asking him questions, and fairly soon it was bordering on a real guided tour; only with a photographer sitting on the floor at our feet, saying things like "Can you point a bit more, please?" I love the Palm House,anyway, even without the chance to quiz someone who knows about every plant in it. I was really sorry when the photo shoot ended.
Of course, I may feel differently when I see the final pictures. I'll probably have my mouth open in most of them. But still, it was a nice mad excuse to get out of the office for a while, and the Gardens are looking absolutely stunning at the moment.