Saturday, June 19, 2010

London walking

Pater and I have evolved a travelling style that suits us but which makes us the target of family jokes -- we walk and walk and walk. Then we walk some more. Rarely do we resort to public transit. However, we thought we'd be less rigid this visit and since we were going to the Tate Britain for the Henry Moore exhibit (as per the poster above) from our hotel in King's Cross, we took the Tube there, planning to arrive fresh enough to get the most out of the show, then stroll back over the afternoon.

The visit was wonderful, and we feel we've gained some understanding of Moore's work as well as been exposed to the work of a few other artists/sculptors we want to learn more about (Barbara Hepworth and Bill Nicholson above all). We enjoyed a simple lunch of sandwiches and crisps (the Brits really have those gourmet potato chips down pat, don't they!) in the sunny courtyard of the Tate Britain, and felt quite ready for a lovely walk back along the river.

Applying our newfound knowledge, we were pleased to recognize a Moore sculpture along the way. Pater took this snap which, like the one above, he thinks I look great in -- I think, Oh, dear, maybe don't do the white anymore, and lose the cross-body strap, and, hmmm, maybe not the cream tea tomorrow -- honestly, I like his vision of me much better than my own.

Moving along,

we admired some stunning skyline architecture across the river, something I admire about London's energy, although it's often to chaotic effect.

But this scene, for example, of the Battersea Power Station (decomissioned) offers wonderful juxtapositions of light and dark, round and square, columns and blocks -- irresistible!

We even liked the purely industrial when it's not so monumental

Now, if you're alert, and you know London at all, you may know enough to think we're heading the wrong way, considering we're planning to have afternoon tea at Trafalgar Square's National Gallery Cafe. But we hadn't figured that out yet, and moseyed along, remarking on interesting buildings across the Thames
until we sat down for a rest (we'd been walking over 90 minutes by this point, had passed the Chelsea Physick Garden, disappointed that it wasn't yet open for the season. Instead, we settled for a bench in this pretty little riverside park, where Pater happened to remark that he suspected we might be walking in the wrong direction. . . .

So . . . long story short, or at least much shorter than our walk was, we finally recognized that we were now several hours' from our hotel, but at least we could have a lovely walk back through Chelsea and Kensington, stopping for tea and pastries and, eventually, speaking to each other again . . . I knew there were no grounds for blaming Pater, but I can't say that made me happier. We've agreed it will become one of those stories we'll laugh about, and this is meant as a start!
Since then, a Baroque ensemble playing Bach's Art of Fugue in St. Martin's in the Field, The Tempest at the Old Vic, and we've just coming in from the wonderful, energetic, hilarious, even moving Priscilla, Queen of the Desert!
More stories to come. Stay tuned . . .