One of the things I like best about London is that despite being big, dirty, crowded and at times downright chaotic, its allocation of green spaces is among the most generous for any capital city in the world.

The centre of the city in particular enjoys a liberal scattering of parks and gardens, which can be a real haven. (And we can sit on the grass, unlike in Paris, where doing so would get you a telling off for making the place look untidy.)

We have a lot to thank these philanthropic Victorians for.

But that's the centre, which acts as an advert for the city as a whole.

By contrast, there are still large parts of London which feel almost oppressively built up, where parks are few and far between and gardens only dreamt of by most.

And those green spaces are not always the most enjoyable.

I was put off the little garden across the road from the office once and for all last summer by the behaviour of the group of street drinkers who habitually take it over.

Their booze-fuelled arguments were one thing, but the urinating in public (by men and women) was just too much for my delicate sensibilities.

This really irritates, partly because the garden should be available to all. (I also strongly object to those locked garden squares in moneyed parts of town where over-privileged residents can lord it over the rest of us.)

Even half an hour surrounded by greenery can be very soothing for the soul and is something everyone should have access to.

It is a subject close to my heart just now. After five years of being lucky enough to live in flats with gardens, in a couple of weeks we are to take up temporary residence in a flat without one.

To be honest, our gardens have never quite been the urban Edens we were aspiring to, but I will still miss having one.

Thankfully our home borough is quite well supplied with parks, one of which has been extensively improved in recent years.

Time will tell whether I have the nerve to take up the bike lessons in them again though.