It’s been an exceptionally good day. I met Wink at Tate Modern – we arrived only a few minutes apart and a quick phone call helped us meet up. We went to see the Matisse cut-out exhibition and we both loved it. We both had quite open minds, were interested but didn’t know what to expect, but were charmed beyond our expectations.
I liked the pictures very much, but my engagement with the exhibition was more than that. I should explain that I have a great love for old people, especially those who don’t sink into old age but still are interested in life. Life, I should say, with a capital L. I know people who retired early and have never really done much afterwards – holidays, meals out, drinking with friends, hobbies for the sake of something to do – I don’t know, darlings, I sometimes feel that I’d rather love not to have responsibilities for a while, but I also feel that they’re necessary for my wellbeing, to make me vibrant. Not that I aim to be vibrant, a laid-back Z is more my style, most of the time.
Anyway, I liked the art works, but I also loved the fact that Matisse, although quite old and infirm, still had such a vivid imagination and was able to find a way of putting his art into effect, when he was no longer physically able to paint. He relied on assistants but the art was very much his own. I have to confess a dreadful ignorance, because I had no idea that he lived until 1954, I associated him with an earlier time.
We had lunch at Tate Mod afterwards … darlings, don’t bother. It was ok, nothing more. I had a salad with broad beans and pecorino – the salad was lamb’s lettuce straight out of a packet, slightly gritty. There were baby broad beans, shelled, and peas and shaved pecorino cheese, and a perfunctory drizzle of oil – oh, and roasted asparagus which was tasteless. Wink had a Caesar salad with smoked chicken, which was probably the better option except that the lettuce was Iceberg rather than Cos – it wasn’t great. We had a glass each of the house white, which was very nice, and later thought we’d look at the dessert menu. It proved impossible to catch the waiter’s eye and I had to go and accost him in the end. My green tea was delicious, the success of the meal, and our shared slice of banana cake was nice, but we never managed to catch the waiter’s eye again, although I resorted to waving, we had to go to the desk and, though an unwarranted gratuity of 12.5% was included, I abandoned my change, bringing the tip up to 20%, because we were losing the will to wait for it. In short, go for tea but not for lunch. Even if it’s raining, you can do better.
During the day, I had a message from a schoolfriend of Ro’s, in the village to visit his parents, wondering if it would be convenient to call round. And so he did this evening, and it was really lovely to see him again. He moved away some years ago and lives in Kent – he was friends with Ro as a child and we liked each other then and we like each other now. I so appreciate that.