I do love London, you know. I like both the friendliness and the anonymity. We may not catch each other’s eye, but that’s not malevolence, it’s just busyness and respect for the other person’s space. If you do have occasion to speak to anyone, you receive a civil reply. London looks good nowadays. It looks more prosperous, though rarely in a flashy way, than it used to. It’s cleaner. There’s litter, true, but the air is, on the whole, cleaner than it was in the past. It feels like home to me. I could live there.

Forty years ago, you wouldn’t have let your dog splash in the Thames, by Hungerford Bridge (just up from Waterloo Bridge, by the South Bank Centre).

The fountain was most entertaining. The four girls pictured here were clutching each other and giggling, and passers-by were entertained too. Each wall starts to spurt at random – once the girls were in there, all twelve walls of water kept their flow going for a good couple of minutes, making them wonder whether to make a break for it – then one stopped, so they ran into that box. Of course, it started again at once and then the outside walls beyond (the wrong side for the girls) stopped next, so they were as stranded as before.

Diamond Geezer (Sunday 10th June), I, like the View, and Lettuce(Saturday 16th June) have told us about Blind Light, Anthony Gormley’s exhibition, which is on here.

I loved it too. It is a most engaging display, both in the sense of being likeable, and of drawing you in to it.

Read their posts. They have put it so well, I don’t need to describe it again. Just a few more pictures.

My train arrived a few minutes late, because they had had trouble closing the doors after the Chelmsford stop. I hopped on the Tube (we provincials get a little frisson of pleasure just by using our Oyster cards, we don’t even pretend to be cool about it) and, from South Kensington, trotted along to the V&A. As I expected, I adored ‘Surreal Things’. Afterwards, I spent some time looking for the door to the courtyard. Wonderlandily, I could see it but not reach it. Eventually, having walked all the way round, I discovered that the only opening door was so close to the exhibition exit that I hadn’t noticed it. I fetched a glass of ‘home-made’ lemonade (all right, but not as good as mine) and a chicken roll (nice, chewy bread) and sat down. So benevolently was I feeling that I surreptitiously fed bits of bread to the pigeons.

Afterwards, down to the Thames and the other exhibition. A woman talked to me while waiting to go into the ‘Hatch’ room, and we both talked to a couple of young American men. When we came out of the room, in unusually expansive mood, I assured the patient queue that they should wait, it’s worth it. Only two allowed in at a time, I can see the queue getting awfully long as the summer continues.

A cup of coffee and a gooey chocolate brownie, and a stroll along the South Bank. I showed the Millennium Bridge to a group of American visitors and said, regretfully, that it doesn’t wobble any more. They should have left it, shouldn’t they – it would have been such fun. I had, at one time, thought of visiting Tate Modern, but my mind was full enough and I walked over the bridge myself. On the other side, I bought a Big Issue and had a friendly few words to the seller – he asked if I’d had a good day. A very good day, I told him and wished him one too. He thanked me and called me ‘lady’. Well, he wasn’t English (didn’t recognise the accent though).

I had intended to walk through the city, but my legs were tired, so I hopped on a No. 11 bus and travelled back to Liverpool Street Station. I had a while to wait and found a seat, and did the Independent crossword until my train arrived.

11 comments on “London

  1. martin

    Sounds like you had a nice day. London is wonderful,when you live here it passes you by. Next time you come let me know and I will meet you under the clock at Waterloo Station. I will be carrying a copy of The London Times and wearing a false nose. And a flower the squirts water and a loud check suit. If you can’t find me just shout “MARTIN”.

  2. hey bartender

    Boy do i feel like I have been gone forever! Thank you Z, for being much more diligent than I will ever be (internet connection or no). Your trip sounds wonderful and I feel inspired to post about mine. Lovely photos.

  3. Newbie

    Two things I loved about that post: 1 – your description of the South Bank is spot on and 2 – the word Wonderlandily. I might nick it!

    Glad you had a lovely day xx

  4. Z

    Julie, if I didn’t post regularly, I think I’d lose the feel for it, and after a year and a half, I think I’d miss it.

    I rather like the word ‘Wonderlandily’ too, Newbie. Feel free to use it as much as you like. Lewis Carroll introduced a few words into the language, didn’t he?

    You never notice the familiar, do you – and if you work in a place you’re usually in a hurry too. But I remember the days before the buildings were cleaned, and they were all blackened with Victorian smoke (this was back in the 1960s, I’d like to make it clear) and then the gradual clean-up. And really hideous 60s concrete edifices going up and, later, the more interesting and stylish buildings. I love the range of people too – you can see a worldful in a day. It’s a fabulous place.

  5. I, like the view

    I didn’t really write the exhibit up properly – did you like Blind Light itself? I was very very disorientated and would have stayed inside longer if I’d been with a pal. . . my favourites were Matrices and Expansions

    the rest of your day sounds lovely!

  6. Z

    Yes, I enjoyed the disorientation. I went back in, after seeing the rest of the exhibition.

    I loved Matrices and Expansions, it was my favourite part too. I thought they were fascinating and beautiful.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.