On the train in to Waterloo this morning I sat with three young people, two recently arrived from Holland. The English girl asked, “Do you have windmills where you live?” To which the Dutch girl answered, “Oh yes, on my way to and from my pole dancing class I cycle past two.”
I went from Waterloo to the Tate Modern to take in The Clock by Christopher Mackay. I entered a large dark room filled with sofas. We watched one or more film clips for each minute on the clock. I arrived to see Charles Bronson warning Henry Fonda of a sniper “just past twelve o’clock.” Meaning to stay for just a bit, I found myself promising to leave “after another one or two”. It’s addictive. If you get the chance to see it rush to get a place. I finally tore myself away a little after 1:30.
Down in the Turbine Hall they’re working on the next major installation. No clues about what it is, except that there’s a great deal of black and white paint. I emerged to puddles and people folding up their umbrellas. Lucky. That is until I got out to the street to find construction and one of those “This bus stop not in use” signs. Trudge, trudge, trudge to the next stop. Then inching along in the traffic trying to get onto Blackfriars Bridge on a Friday afternoon.
Back on the train reading the commuter papers. One story advertised a workshop on caring for your aging pets. Useful.
We’re eating the remnants from the fridge as we attempt to empty it. Mr. Fox is the chief beneficiary of the clean-out. The packing isn’t going too badly. I took a bunch of stuff to Oxfam this morning so that helps with some of the bulk.
This evening I took food down and he wasn’t sitting at the end of the drive. However, I called and he came barrelling over the wooden fence running over to where I had tossed his dinner. I stood watching about eight feet away. Too bad it will all end in days.
Our guests left this morning. I missed my last Thursday group outing so didn’t have a chance to say Goodbye. So many exhibitions and theatres switching to their Fall/Winter seasons and exhibitions. Breaking my heart. I may try to run in tomorrow to pick up one or two. “The Clock” at the Tate Modern is getting lots of buzz. The artist has taken film clips showing the time at each minute over 23 hours. You can stay overnight on specified dates to see round the clock. I won’t be doing that.
You will be devastated to hear that the paper I saved with a particularly gibberish cricket article got thrown away. It had stumps, bowls, legs, wickets, ducks, etc.
We started the departure process today-laundry, packing, checking tickets, storing in the garage, tossing precious brochures, clearing the fridge, and so on. We have wisely decided to stash the extra wine for next year rather than frantically trying to drink it down. Some foodstuffs will keep; others go to the neighbors. It’s all a sad process for me even though I look forward to seeing friends and family again. Oh yes, and the West Virginia Fall.
The fox has taken to sitting in wait by the garage where I turn to deliver his evening meal. He lets me get within a few feet before hiding in the bushes until I go. The poor guy has a sad surprise in store when nobody appears with dinner regularly.
Yesterday we went with our visitors the Baxters to Trafalgar Square to visit the temporary red lion amongst the four regulars. This one speaks poetry back when you give him a word. In the evening you can see the words scrolling across his open mouth.
After a bit of people and lion watching we walked up the Strand for The Importance of Being Earnest. We enjoyed the production. It takes doing to keep an old favorite fresh, and this one succeeded. The lavish costumes and special touches were exceptional, and Lady Bracknell received repeated ovations.
Afterwards we bussed back across Waterloo Bridge to the station for the train back to Wimbledon. We marched into Marks & Spencer to select dinner–we decided on Indian if you’re interested. Of course we had discussed eating out, but we did need to finish up a bottle of wine or two laying about the place. That’s the wine laying about, not us. Well, now that you picture it that way . . . . . .
The Thursday group ventured far north to the village of Walthamstow, a quirky quickly gentrifying area of London, to the William Morris Gallery, a first for me. Morris lived in the house for several years as a teenager. It is surrounded by an extensive heavily used park. What I didn’t realize is that Morris came from a well to do family. His father made a fortune in copper mines, so the family, as one does, bought a mansion. Then the father died so the family had to downsize, moving into this house which is pretty darned big. Anyhow, Morris went off to Oxford as his mother planned for him to gain a guaranteed living in the Church. He decided to become an artist. Oh woe! Fortunately he did well.
The house, part gallery and part Morris museum, featured a small but effective weaving/tapestry exhibition. As you would expect some were quite beautiful and some not. One, mounted in various size pieces scattershot across the wall, is meant to comment on the ongoing Syrian conflict. Another, separated into wolf, bird, and fox, was supposed to speak of the balance of power. I suppose my favorite was an almost three dimensional forest scene which seemed alive. Successful day, except for a couple of transportation blips, with a particularly good lunch in the gallery conservatory.
Watched the last in the Grayson Perry series on life’s rituals last night. This one on coming of age was the least successful. Perhaps because watching South American girls have their hair pulled out by village women was too difficult to watch.
Remember my joy in reciting the numerous cream choices at the market? I now can top that. Yesterday I stopped in to buy potatoes. Want to guess how many possibilities faced me? Twenty-two! I’ll spare you the list, but I can tell you I’m still feeling overwhelmed.#
Yesterday I hied off to the British Museum to catch I object: Ian Hislop’s search for dissent. Ian Hislop is the editor of Private Eye, a satirical magazine. He enlisted the aid of BM staff to select +/- 100 objects to explore the idea of dissent or subversion. It comes across with mixed success. I found some of the objects fascinating, but overall the exhibition is a bit thin. Turns out a major practice over the ages is to deface currency. You can do it anonymously and get away with it. The coin bearing your message stays in circulation, passing from hand to hand. There were messages demeaning Cleopatra in order to get at Mark Anthony; mocking pictures hidden within pictures; Afghan rugs with Soviet soldiers depicted as horned demons bordered by tanks and helicopters; etc. The dangers of taking on the King, Pharoh, or any authority figure are made clear. Of course there’s danger if the authority figure perceives something to be subversive whether it is so intended or not. There’s a painting of a Chinese soldier of noble visage depicted as a terracotta warrior. Heroic you say? Sure, unless the government perceives the artist to be saying the military hasn’t had a new idea in a thousand years.
The oldest item in the collection is a brick with a mocking message about the pharoh from a laborer working on the pyramids. The newest item is a pink pussy hat from the Washington women’s march.
David and I took an epic bus ride from Victoria up to the Clapton Ponds. It goes past many landmarks so is a cheap sightseeing expedition. We noted a street full of food tents in Mt. Pleasant but didn’t get off, pressing on past the Sadler’s Wells dance theatre and one of Jamie Oliver’s places which is still open (You heard about his woes I expect.) to a rather sad Clapton. Unfortunately Clapton appears to have de-gentrified over the years. One still notices a pretty row of 18th century houses on the other side of the one pond left, but that’s it. Don’t count them out though. Another year or two and the rich folks will move in on them.
After a delicious lunch at Dom’s tiny Turkish establishment we sat in the park for a bit before finding our bus for the return tour. There seems to be a large Turkish presence in the area, so much so that there’s a large social hall.
I went to Book Circle last night. Anne Patterson, author of the month’s selection Yes, joined us for a lively discussion. (I strongly recommend the book.) At the end of the almost two hour intense conversation she complemented the group on our focus. This brought on comments about other book clubs. Angela observed, “I visited my sister-in-law’s group once. They drank wine. By the time the book came up they were all pissed.” Eleanor commented, “I went with a friend to her group. They had a meal and barely spent five minutes on the book.” Karin pointed out that this group had been founded in 1973 on the proviso that conversation includes books only with “no talk of husbands or children.” As a consequence the group meets once a month for a “coffee morning” to chat, keeping Book Circle meetings sacred for books.
The down side to going to the meeting is that I missed “The Great British Bake-Off.” Must catch up. Shall I tell you what happens or let you wait until you get the season?
Well I sat around Sunday with the full intention of attending a big antiques fair at the Royal Horticultural Hall in Westminster. Never left the flat. Read the newspaper for hours. I’ll do better next time – perhaps.
A few snippets culled from said reading, allowed as how Boris Johnson and the Brexiters should beware of aligning themselves with the Trumpsters in the hope of gaining some kind of back door trade deal: “Trumpism must not be allowed to contaminate and debase our own political debate.” This from a Conservative paper. The British seem on the path to doing themselves in with party divisions and careening toward economic suicide whether they align themselves with any one foreign politician or another. Mr. Johnson, accused of announcing a divorce from his wife following one affair after another in order to take people’s minds off the latest dalliance, says it has nothing to do with “clearing his path to No. 10.” Another eye-catching item promoted coal for floors and decorating accents declaring its “kryptonite” look a pleasing antidote to “those many years of damage caused by using it as fuel.”
And finally, “Voter ID plan is branded as ‘expensive and ineffective'”. The Electoral Reform Society finds that such a plan can cost millions and prevent thousands of vulnerable people from casting their vote, i.e. those with disabilities, the homeless and older people. Hmmm. No mention of minorities as targeted with the above in other places we might be more familiar with.
We’re being forced to keep the place in order since potential tenants gawk through each day. It’s tough. At least the dining room chairs are coming back today after being away to get re-glued so we don’t have to explain their absence. This is always a time of anxiety, for of course a quick rental finances our quick return.
Length of day report — Sunrise 6:29 Sunset 7:23