British summers can be very disappointing, as it has been this year, but when it’s warm enough, sunny and dry, we just love eating and drinking al fresco, that is in the fresh air, be it in a pavement café, a beer garden at a local pub or the privacy of your own back garden or patio.
I had an al fresco lunch with my colleagues in Hyde Park.
The phrase was adopted from Italian in mid-eighteenth century and has been in use ever since.
Funny enough, in its original Italian al fresco is a slang term meaning ‘in prison’, like the English phrase ‘in the cooler’. So if one day you find yourself in Italy in need of a table outside, to avoid confusion ask for one all’aperto. Unless you speak Italian, of course.
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Originally part of the British museum, the British Library was separated from its parent in 1973 to become one of the world’s greatest cultural institutions in its own right. A quarter of a century later, it moved into its own home at London’s St Pancras.
The impressive modernist red-brick building designed by architect Sir Colin St. John Wilson caused a lot of controversy while it was under construction and continues to divide opinions to this day.
One of its most spectacular features is the six-storey King’s Library Tower containing precious volumes from King George III’s collection that was gifted to the library at the British museum after the monarch’s death in 1823.
In her 2007free verse (=poetry that does not have a fixed structure and does not rhyme) Theresa Shiban gives a vivid description of this colossal yet very welcoming temple of knowledge whose doors are open not only to students and researches but to every book lover.