I've been into London a few times over the past week or so. I very much enjoyed the photos in Tom Hunter's exhibition at the National Gallery. The light is fantastic and I also like the subject matter – takes on Old Masters and photos taken to reflect the headlines of the Hackney Gazette.
On the bus back to Limehouse I was taken by St Paul's. It looks magestic lit up against the night sky. In comparison, the Tower looks remarkably squat. I got annoyed by the musical accompaniment that is the wheelchair ramp – resembled a siren sounding the alarm at a nuclear plant – and also a pair of Italian tourists trying to locate their position in an A to Z. Every time they managed to find the street they were on we'd moved on by at least five minutes. I couldn't help myself and had to intervene. I couldn't quite work out whether they were pleased or not.
Following on from Gaw Blimey's blog about coughing carriages on the c2c ( I thought it was April Fool's) the only mention I found was an advert for Benylin – Is your cough driving you off the rails? Four people were coughing, myself included, and I am pleased to say that the Health Police did not descend and remove us elsewhere.
Walking down from Fenchurch Street station I noticed a board for a local bar. 'All pints £2.90'. As if they think that is some kind of bargain.
The book (a present) I bought in the Design Museum came in a delightful paper carrier bag. I did ask the cashier if the bag was strong enough. The answer was in the affirmative. I couldn't help but check they were sure. 'Tried and tested' was the answer. Well, I don't know where. Half way down the South Bank one of the handles went and I had to carry the book under my arm – which rubbed the corner of the bag through. I am not impressed and shall tell them so next time I visit.
Outside Marks and Spencers on Oxford Street I was happy to acknowledge the black Father Christmas. He's been there collecting for charity for as long as I can remember. Lord Cole. When I asked how long he pointed to his badge – 12 years service for Diabetes Uk – except it was out of date; 15 years would be more accurate. His vice-like grip on my arm suggested he wanted more of a chat. So we did. It was lovely!
Sam Smith's pub are a shining light in the dark of London as far as I am concerned. The beer is good and cheap (£1.70 for a pint of bitter) and I have yet to find one devoid of atmosphere. Waiting for C. in the Red Lion on Kingly Street I did get embarrassed by the fact I had to ask a complete stranger to help me detach my hair from the wood panelling. That may have been less embarrassing than the fact I walked out of the changing rooms in the Ilford Debenhams having forgotten to put my top back on. I thought my coat felt odd; I looked down, saw my bra and nearly had a heart attack.