Thursday, 26 March 2015

A little jaunt south

I flew down to London on Tuesday morning.
Flybe operate a good service to London City Airport but I flew in what looked like a purple dragonfly, with very noisy engines!  The important thing, however, is that I got there and back safely, which is all that matters.  I do like to sit by the window in an aircraft.  Down below, on Tuesday, I could see a smidgen of snow on the top of some peaks in the Lake District.
Tilly and I had enjoyed a short walk around one of the fields a few hours before I found myself standing on this platform, staring at the golden syrup factory, and a solitary street of Victorian terraced villas.  The woods, the fields, the wild animals, and the cry of the curlew were a world away.
The Docklands Light Railway bore me off towards central London, past the Emirates Air Line which straddles the River Thames, near the O2 arena.  I had no idea it existed, and only know the name now because I have just Googled itI  It was one of many changes I found.  I can't remember the last time I was in London.
The evening was spent at a rather special reception, related to some part-time work I am doing.  It was a brilliant evening which I thoroughly enjoyed, and the next morning I walked from my hotel, in Frith Street, through streets I once knew well, to Regent Street and on to the Royal Academy, in Piccadilly.
London is not host to the kind of graffiti you can find in Melbourne, but I did see this on a wall off Dean Street, so took the photo for Mr Gaucho, who loves this stuff!
I rather liked these lovely red apples, which have survived the winter, hanging on their tree in Dean Street.  It's tempting to think they may be fakes, and although the tree looked like the real deal, I am still slightly suspicious!
When I was young and worked in London, in my lunch hour, I would walk through to Berwick Street market to do some shopping.  I loved to visit a long established Italian deli called Fratelli Camisa.  They were both institutions in this part of London, and I was looking forward to spending some time in both.  But it was not to be.  The market has dwindled to a sorrowful handful of stalls. It would have been less sad if they had not been there at all.  And the deli had gone completely.  I couldn't believe it!  In fact the whole area has lost its character.  Carnaby Street is lifeless, with the exception of one shoe shop, which was just brilliant!   Sadly, though, the colour, the characters, and the life and soul of that legendary part of London has been swept away, and replaced by bland new buildings of dubious architectural merit, boring shops - all the usual high street suspects.  Isn't it always the way - it's never a good idea to go back to a place after a long absence - it is not going to be the same, because life doesn't stand still.  The memories are safe though, and much treasured!
I just had time to whizz round the Richard Diebenkorn exhibition at the Royal Academy.  There is a sculpture in the courtyard area at the front of the Academy.  It is by the American artist Frank Stella (https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/frank-stella-sculpture-courtyard).  It's not my cup of tea, but made for a few interesting photographs!
And then home.  I think Samuel Johnson was wrong when he declared that if a man was tired of London, he was tired of life.  I find more life in the woods and the fields around me here, than I did on the streets of central London!  I was amazed at how many changes have taken place in the years since I worked in town, but I was even more amazed when I got home to see the transformation in the field I mentioned in an earlier post (http://therunningwave.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/im-just-saying.html).  The dead field now looks like this!
 What a difference a day makes!
On the other side fence, the violet patch is flourishing, and that makes me very happy.  I had a great time in London.  It all seems like a bit of a dream, but now I'm glad to be back in the wood.  There is so much going on here!


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