Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Allowing myself to be distracted

The Clifford Still with another admirer

Me and Gerhard (I'm Fickle!)

St Paul's Cathedral (with the new camera - pretty happy!)

Tower Bridge from the Northside - or is it the South Side??? Same coming as going, and I'm upside down over here anyway

Tower of London - East Side walk

I started Day 2 of the London sojourn expecting to take advantage of the Red Rover pass on the City Cruises (a London Pass inclusion), allowing hop on hop off all day, and do the Thames loop, returning at evening to do it again with a "London light show" before making my way to Tate Britain. I managed the two changes on the DLR/Rail/Tube like a Londoner and boarded the boat with a prime viewing spot in the middle, next to the side of the boat. A short trip later and the enthusiastic singing, clapping and chanting of the Spanish High School students who had jostled me when boarding, drowning out the commentary, made the decision to see the Tower of London and Bridge (which, for some unknown reason, had escaped my careful planning) for me.
A quicker version of the day follows: Decided to bypass the mounting crowd, waiting for the Yeoman Guide at the front gates and take advantage of the audio included "free" with the London Pass and go it alone. It's truly a wonderful building with real "Tudor Manors" which escaped the great fire in mid 17th century that devastated much of London, and fabulous Gothic and Georgian Architecture. And a moat! (The Thames) And a beautiful bridge! And Armour! And Torture chambers! And the history we grew up on until they decided that Australian History wasn't boring! (it was).
I saw a raven - big and blue and menacing like you'd think, which is why I recognised it before the audio told me that the name of the lawn was "The Raven lawn"; and I learnt way more about regal England than I ever wanted to know until .... I lost my map and couldn't work out what was next on the audio and how to marry up the words in my ears with what I was seeing. And since you can't stop or rewind or, more importantly fast forward those bloody things, I decided that my tour was over (after more than two hours!) and headed for the bridge.
I walked the Tower Bridge, a truly magnificent structure which pictures cannot do justice to and so I took about a thousand of them. I re-walked the bridge (now two of them fully under my belt:)) and continued across the other side on the Queens Walk. After a stop for lunch and hunting a tube station on the wrong side of the river - I seem to be backwards on the other side of the world - I stumbled upon an interesting installation and bad sculpture referring to the past of this now shopping mall, when it had been the slipways for the Cutty Sarks which plied the Thames some couple of centuries ago.
More walking the Queens walk until I hit another Bridge - The London Bridge, so, since I could see St Pauls ever so close, I walked over, and followed some school kids who seemed to be heading in the direction of St Paul's, as well, Some 20 minutes later, I came upon the building and, although weary and footsore and in need of some care and attention, presed on in the way of many a time poor traveller and saw the Cathedral. This time the Audio was great, so I learned a lot while looking at beautiful architecture, wood carvings, and even a Turner painted on the floor. Down to the crypt to sek out the dead - and was delighted to literally stumble across the graves of Turner, Millais, Singer-Sergeant, Hogarth and Blake. Oh...and Lord Nelson and a whole lot of other soldiers/sailors/ field marshalss etc - here we go again!- as well as scientists that hose of you more knowledgable in the subject than me might recognise. Anyway, I saw them all!! and decided that, whilst my purchase of tickets from the other side of the world may not be great, my travel timing was.
Emerged somewhat dazed into the late afternoon. Just over an hour to spare? Well, the Tate Modern is close.
So I slepped back over the London Bridge (that's three bridges now) and found the tate and entered the gallery I most wanted to see - that on materiality. I had forgotten that they had six Richters in a room, and beautiful ones at that. I sat for some long tome, taking in the lemon yellows against the grey, and, over there, the Alizarin against purple. and All of the paintings basically white! Clifford Still impressed, with an "Yves Kline Blue" of surging dark and lights that rendered the surface lively file:///private/var/tmp/folders.501/TemporaryItems/com.apple.mail.drag-T0x210a970.tmp.lmbl2i/IMG_0461.jpgand hard to pin down as cool or warm; offset by a rough stripe of searing orange and a "tear" in the top revealing blank canvas. And the Miro - I have never seen a more beautiful one, so he's moved up on my opinion poll. There were Kandinsky's in a style I never knew he had - I need to study up on him more - and Philip Guston and numerous wonderful pieces.
But the best part of the day, the defining moment, was that I stumbled into a darkened room and - yes folks - there were the Rothkos, the last of his life. And yes, they are more than you would expect in terms of colour, depth, brushstrokes, spatial confusion - coming forward/going back; in front/behind - strange and definitely spiritual. Especially as I had the room to myself for about 8 of the last 10 minutes before the curators threw me out.
So, walking on air, I returned over the Millenium Bridge (that's four) to find Monument station, where I caught the Tube to Tower Hill to catch the boat. I lined up on the wharf, allowing the Commuter Thames Clippers to fill and leave, wondering where the City Cruises boat was. Then I asked someone, who old me they stopped at 5pm, despite what the girl selling tickets told me yesterday. So no night cruise...
Returned to Tower Hill Station, caught the underground to Embankment, and headed for the boat I had the Merlot on last night. They make equally good Thai Chicken and, yes, the Merlot was just as good the second time round, so I headed home a happy chappy and literally fell into bed.
It's now 11pm, and I haven't even mention what I did today, Day 3. May write about it in the morning....

1 comment:

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