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David Hockney and hungry

Dear friends, the journey is nearly at an end. My fat suitcase is packed. Early tomorrow, after breakfast, my new friend Chris and I will walk across Russell Square to the tube stop which will take us directly to Heathrow. It will be an hour long trip at rush hour but never mind: Canada, here we come.

At breakfast this morning, Chris asked if I would try to see another play tonight, and I looked at her as if she was insane. Of all the things I did not want to do, navigating the West End at show time again was top of the list. And in the end, after various outings today, I came home at about 5.30, got into bed, and stayed there. I did try on-line to get a ticket to the Emily Dickenson film and was relieved – once more it was sold out. It’s a very small cinema. So I didn’t have to go anywhere.

This morning, I very happily went to the north entrance of the British Museum and got in immediately; when I left by the main door, the lineup, as usual, was all the way down the block. Lesson: always check if there’s an alternate entrance. The museum is ridiculous, so crammed with treasure and history that my eyes were crossed after an hour. What you do realize, though, is that a great deal of what’s there was plundered from other countries by intrepid, greedy British explorers and collectors. And sometimes that’s good, especially, for example, when you see fabulous things from the Middle East that have been preserved, as opposed to those which are being smashed by Isis as we speak. But still, it must gall Greece and Italy and many other countries that so much of their heritage is here in London. Including the most famous pillage of all, the Elgin Marbles.

However, I enjoyed looking at mankind’s creativity through the centuries, some artifacts from many hundreds of years BC. There’s a great new innovation – touching centres, where experts talk about actual ancient things and we can touch and even hold them.

Someone else I visit when I come to London: Sekhmet, 1370 B.C., the “lion-headed goddess of healing.”

Out into the cold light of 2017 for a walk down the capitalist madhouse that is Oxford Street. After the orgy I witnessed there, I may never shop again. Ha! But the frenzy is truly horrifying. Took my Marylebone hosts, Christopher, Cristina and 3 year old Marina, for lunch to thank them for my five days in their home. Christopher is French and Cristina is Spanish; their little daughter speaks three languages. They were concerned Brexit would force them to move, but it looks as if they’ve been here long enough, and Christopher’s banking job is centred here, so they will be able to stay.

Caught the #88 bus on Regent St., was thrilled the best seat, on top at the front, was free, had a great view as we sailed through Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square, by Big Ben and the houses of Parliament, and finally to the Tate Britain. I’d booked a ticket to see a massive new retrospective of David Hockney’s work that everyone is talking about. No question, the man is a phenomenal talent, adept at a variety of styles. He has spent much of his working life in California, though he also moved back to Britain late in life and then back to the States; it’s interesting that the American work is in extremely bright, almost lurid colours, and the British work is much more delicate and green. He has worked on huge canvasses, with Polaroid collages and charcoal and with film, and at the end we see his current work on an iPad, which is gorgeous. He’s 79 and still churning it out, just like Macca in the doc I saw yesterday, though my Macca is only 75. These amazing artists who never ever stop. Admirable. A bit terrifying. Ian Brown wrote a very perceptive article about the exhibition.

I wanted to see more of Tate Britain, but after a wander through the Pre-Raphaelites and a few other rooms, I’d had it up to here with art. No more art, no more beauty, I cannot see another thing, I am stuffed. I think the exact same thing has happened on past trips. Dragged my aching feet onto another bus – another seat at the top front – and got myself nearly home. Passed a Sainsburys grocery store on the final lap and went in to buy one of those small bottles of wine, so I wouldn’t have to go to a pub or bar. Contemplated buying a salad for dinner but didn’t. Mistake. Because once I got into my room, that was it. I managed to rustle up half a hot cross bun and a hard boiled egg I’d brought with me from the flat – that, with two glasses of wine, was my dinner. I’m hungry. But I don’t care, I’m not going anywhere but home.

My almost-last view of London tomorrow will be the trees of Russell Square. Thank you for everything, London. Thank you Paris, Gordes, Montpellier, Nice. Thank you Lynn, Denis, Bruce, Penny, Christopher and Cristina. Onward.




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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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