This morning I decided to go into town to watch the New Year Parade. The journey proved to be more epic than usual, with the main line terminating at Seven Kings, so it was the 86 bus to Stratford, then the Jubilee Line to Westminster.
This year the parade started in Piccadilly, and progressed via Trafalgar Square and Whitehall to its conclusion in the shadow of Big Ben. There were the usual American marching bands and smiling cheerleaders - a welcome sign of the special relationship - and floating inflatable figures were back, by public demand. London boroughs provided floats and I managed to get a snap of the Havering entry, as well as catching the Mayor of Redbridge leaning from the top deck of a red bus. The biggest cheer was reserved for standard bearers from the Royal British Legion.
A wonderful way to start 2011, it got me thinking of the challenges that lie ahead. This is the year when David Cameron promises most of the 'heavy lifting' will be done, and no doubt the capital will see more protests and strikes in reaction to essential measures to bring the national debt back under control. Continuing work on London Underground will disrupt services, and we all hope for a more reliable network when the engineers move on. The referendum on AV will prove a political headache for both sides I suspect - I will be voting No.
But there will be high points too. In 2011 London will be leading the country out of recession, buoyed in the short term by the excitement of a Royal Wedding, and looking forward to the 2012 Olympics, as the huge site in the Lea Valley nears completion. More trees will be planted around town, the popular bike hire scheme will be extended and the final bendy bus will meander off to the dustbin of history. There is much to look forward too...