Out in the morning, back late at night: this is a good, good way to visit London, and one that's only possible because I am so close to the city. Today was a museum day. You'll hear more about it. But for now I'm exhausted. And though that picture makes it look a little grim, London was actually sunny and perfect today. (Also, that picture wouldn't have those darned reflections were passengers on the Tate Boat allowed to leave their extra-comfortable seats and go outside. There's no deck on the Tate Boat.)

Something seems to have gone wrong with the plane trees behind the Tate Britain. "What are those?" a couple near me asked one another. I told them. "But I don't know what's happened to their branches..." I said. [A follow-up on Wednesday morning: turns out that the trees were just stepping up to reinforce my post's title! My excellent poet friend, who is herself living away from home this semester, has written to tell me that these trees look as though they've been pollarded. And sure enough, pollarding is a severe pruning that London plane trees undergo on a fairly regular basis in order to control their size. The fact that they can withstand pollarding is another reason they've thrived even in a city that used to be horribly polluted; their particular kind of bark has also historically helped them to breathe city air without dying off. Thanks for this information, friend.]

Rumor has it that the King's College cows should have been brought back to their pasture today. They weren't out yet when I was striding through on my way to the morning train.