When I moved to London in my twenties I was lucky enough to share a flat in a high-ceilinged, Georgian house in Notting Hill with two girlfriends. Our landlady was less fortunate, as it did not occur to any of us, that in between work and parties, we should also fit in some cleaning! I can vividly imagine what I would say to my daughters if they decided to live like this now - but then isn't a selective memory one of the privileges of being a mother?
The day is overcast, but the air is warm, and pavement cafes are beginning to fill up as I explore the streets that were once so familiar to me. Some things remain unchanged, like the classic London road signs, but there are now newer, smarter shops, and a rather bold and impressive flower trough stretches across the pavement.
I am intrigued by this sign. There is nothing ambiguous about it. It leaves no room for a swipe at an angry crocodile or marauding lion, not that you find many of these in Notting Hill, or you certainly never used to. Maybe things have changed.
I don't think you can beat London's flower stalls. Often rich with colour, they seem to give the city a chance to take deep breaths in and out with the seasons. The inky purples and chocolate browns of the Wild at Heart flower stand on Westbourne Grove give a sense that autumn is waiting just around the corner.
Further down Westbourne Grove is Daylesford Organics and it is here that I have arranged to meet my French daughter's mother for lunch. I should explain that I have adopted my daughter Libby's french friend, Juliette - or rather we have adopted other each other, during the times she visits us in England. Juliette is the ideal exchange student. She is sweet and helpful, she takes delight in everything English, she has a huge amount in common with Libby, and she laughs a lot (I like to think with us).
As a tall, slender woman walks down the street towards me, I am not sure for a moment if she is Juliette's mother, then she smiles and laughs - and she is her daughter. I know we are going to have a good lunch. Especially as she is going to have to listen to me reminisce about my youth!
After lunch we dawdle through the streets together, pausing at Harper and Tom's flower stall so I can photograph their plump, smoky-coloured bouquets.
There are shops to browse in, windows to admire and we start to day-dream of a shopping trip to New York with Libby and Juliette.
... and so do I!
I have waxed lyrical about London flower stalls, but if you know of other gorgeous stalls near you I would love to hear about them.