Friday 14 September 2007


Gone are the songs and cries of street sellers, the unruly and violent theatre audiences, the plagues and the hangings, but the stones of London still guard the bones of Kings and Poets in Westminster, and Sir Christopher Wren's magnificent dome still o'erlooks the city entire from Tower Hill to Tottenham Court, nay further still, for I had a clear view as far as Notting Hill. In the first of my two short days I paid visit to the shops on Brompton Road, Peter Pan in Kensington Garden, the Queen's Palace, Westminster Cathedral, the Parliament, the Horse Guards, the National Gallery, Canada House in the Square, St. Martin's in the Field (Gibb's building shrouded by scaffolds and sheets whilst suffering a restauration), Covent Garden (and Benjamin Pollock's, now owned by actor Peter Baldwin, where I purchased several tuppence sheets for my collection), quiet Temple, the Embankment and thence to St. Paul's and its 530 steps to the Golden Gallery and its views. It was on slightly wobbly legs I did then discover a rebuilt Tate Museum, now become a monstrosity housing monstrous art, and a rebuilt Globe Theatre, where I secured a gentleman's box to enjoy a delightful Merchant of Venice. Having a better view of the groundlings than I did of the stage, I remarked how enraptured the audience was of Kirsty Besterman's intelligent Portia, and of the remarkable Craig Gazey, who stole the show as the ribald servant Launcelot.
I spent a more restful second day sketching in the V&A and British Museums (which change appearance every time I visit) and browsing in Bloomsbury bookshops.
London was preceded by a quick trip to visit friends in Oxford, where I reacquainted myself with the Radcliffe Camera and the Ashmolean Museum, and saw a tiny, perfect exhibition of armillary spheres and other navigational and scientific instruments exquisitely fashioned of brass at the Museum of the History of Science (or Old Ashmolean).
The (so very tall) Duke of Marlborough was at home during the horse trials at Blenheim, and I enjoyed a wonderful morning watching dressage, cross country and Chris King's spectacular jumping on The Secret Weapon.
Onward to Prussia....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your missive leaves me breathless with a hunger to visit London, which I have never seen. We are missing you terribly, but we know that your triumphal return will be the beginning of Dr. Faustus' prescription for our sick and weary souls. Osprey is (thus far) behaving herself and not digging her long (and possibly prehensile) toes into the soil of Bodega.