OK ...So I am already behind in my blogs, since my days are unbelievably full and at nights I am tired and trying to keep up with emails, work commitments etc. So the following three day reports are a shortened version of what's been going on.
Had a fantastic day taking the one and only tour I have booked, to Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge. I didn't know that WC was in a functioning town (albeit one whose major industry is tourism - go figure!) and was suitably awestruck by the outrageous wealth on display, as well as the pomp and ceremony that goes with royalty, not to mention the supreme organisation of our tour guide. I was, however, mostly underwhelmed by the art - too much Italy in a previous life? Or is it the rooms and rooms of it, such that a great painting by Van Eyck (favourite of Charles the first) and even Tintorettos lose their punch because they are hung too high and are overwhelmed by the brocade, tapestry, gold that surrounds? Anyway, it's a site to behold and I am glad I did. I experienced my first London rain - and it struck me much like in Sydney (excuse the pun) as it was soft and light, and threatened more than it delivered, and was over almost as soon as it begun.The grounds of WC are beautiful and I was particularly enamoured with the view to Eton college - a misty, grey and spindly tree one.
Next on to Bath, some 1.5 hours away. Entering this city is like awakening to a fairytale. You approach from on high, a smattering of beautiful buildings becoming a suburb of superb ones; but nothing can take away the impact of the vista as you emerge from arresting Georgian architecture to see the pretty town itself. So glad I came! The Roman baths were quite intact, and further archaeological discoveries continue. The information displays and audio tours were well presented, so I spent way too much time here and not enough exploring the town. So, besides the fact that I could die and go to heaven happily having seen this once in my life - I'll be back!
Stonehenge did not disappoint. The tour was lucky not to experience the blistering winds that friends had reported, so we managed to move around these "Morandi paintings made stone" at a pleasant pace and in relative warmth. Oh how I long to paint from these! I found the location, in the middle of a field with evidence of long ceremonial processional avenues from centuries past, quite unexpectedly spiritual. There is something going on here, and I'd like to know what it is.
Came home a happy chappy, despite having to commute to Woolwich Arsenal again (add another hour, minimum to each trip). Me thinks it might be quicker to commute from Bath!