I phoned Martin. “You’ll get piles if you sit on that cold wall” he advised me. I looked about – I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I am the least observant person I know, and he had to tell me I was looking the wrong way. He and the divine Wendy were approaching from my left. They swept me into the rather smart restaurant at the Wallace Collection so that I could have breakfast – yes, I know it was nearly 11 am, but the freezing fog had necessitated an earlier start than I had expected and I was far too lazy to walk the length of the train to the cafeteria. I munched a croissant as they drank coffee – but, darlings, despite a tempting pat of French butter and two whole jars of jam, I ate it neat.
We admired the less ornate furniture and some of the china, and many of the pictures, particularly the Laughing Cavalier. Martin seemed slightly embarrassed that quite so many of the painted ladies had their tits out, and rather wished to avert our gazes. He was shocked when I pointed out the extreme rudeness of the Fragonard The Swing, pretty though it is. They were both splendid company and I had a lovely time – thank you both. Pity we didn’t know Boy was on the spot at lunchtime, as he could have joined us. I expect I’d still have been the only one drinking alcohol, though.
I’d intended to go to another gallery in the afternoon, but it was such a lovely day that I didn’t want to go indoors again. I walked across Westminster Bridge, along the south bank for a bit, meandered across the river, walked along the Embankment, crossed again, just so I could back over the footbridge to St Pauls. I’d bought a couple of books on the way and read for a bit, and now bought a cup of tea and read some more.
I’d be bound to catch a bus to Islington, I thought, if I headed north, but Islington buses didn’t seem to stop at any of the bus stops. By the time I reached the Clerkenwell Road, I decided that I was more than half way and my quid would stay in my pocket and I’d carry on walking.
I reached the Angel and a young foreign woman asked me for directions to the British Design Centre. I directed her along Upper Street and, at the next junction, was engaged in conversation by a slender lady, older than I, who was bouncing a multi-coloured rubber ball.
All is well with El and Phil and the next morning I visited the From Russia exhibition at the Royal Academy. Fabulous – do go if you have a chance. It was pretty busy, so I’d suggest getting there soon after its opening at 10 am if you can, or maybe later in the afternoon.
I met the Sage at the auctioneers and we were shown the items we wanted to see. The Sage will go up for the sale in March; not necessarily to buy anything, but it’ll be interesting [though an auction is so much more fun if you’re bidding ;-)].
And we spent the evening with Al and Dilly and the family. I’ve hardly glanced at your blogs, and will have to spend the rest of the week catching up.