...is faintly Autumnal, some leaves just beginning to turn golden. Sunshine sparkling on the Thames, and the clouds gather and splashy rain gives the whole scene that authentic look of, well, London. It all looks so very traditional. Small girls in school pinafore-dresses of grey or navy blue with slightly oversize blazers ("You'll grow into it") and brand-new schoolbags signal the start of a new term. At Westminster Cathedral the choir has reassembled after the summer break. I'm hurrying to a hall in Hammersmith to give a lecture to a branch of something called the University of the Third Age (topic is "Caroline Chisholm: forgotten heroine". You might enjoy the book...). I'm having coffee with a friend in Wimbledon as some riders clip-clop past on glossy horses, heading for the Common.
Everything feels normal and this-is-the-way-things-have-been-for-years. But the horrible proposed new law on marriage - and the restrictions that will be imposed on criticisms of the new laws - give a nasty haunting feeling to everyday things.
There is nothing more everyday than marriage: a man and a woman united for life and starting a new family. It's what has made London a city. It's what establishes a civilisation, a nation.
Under the proposed new law, not only will marriage be redefined so that it will state that two people of the same sex can "marry", but a teacher or a public official who openly states that this is absurd, or who wishes to teach the (sane, normal) view that marriage is between a man and a woman could face dismissal. This could mean that a clergyman who is employed by the health service or the Armed Forces or the prison service as a chaplain could be told that he may not preach the Christian doctrine of marriage openly in the course of his duties. It could mean that a teacher who teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman - for example in a Reeligious Education class - could face dismissal. It could mean that pupils, knowing this, could deliberately instigate a classroom discussion that results in a teacher saying something that some one could deem "homophobic" and get the teacher into trouble.
This Autumn, this London doesn't feel as it should.