Email No 6 from London
Jun 6, 2011
Well it's been some time since I last wrote - that's probably a good sign of how busy I've been and a relief to you all.London weather has lived up to it's reputation - although it's now summer it has been mostly quite chilly with rain the last couple of days so am still often in 3 layers of clothing. We did have a couple of days when I could peel off down to a T shirt.
UntilI came up to London last Wednesday to stay in a hotel in Gower St ( next door to where we stayed Pat) and which is very central I did lots of local stuff with Barbara and Stanley and Doug from Colac.. Walked by the Thames near Kingston, another lovely local walk, one at Richmond through the park and along the river looking at the colourful spring flowers. A night at a pub with a couple of Stanley's rugby mates, to another pub in town to meet up with another of Barbara's nieces, a family lunch at a pub by the canal and lock ( we went there once before Mary), and a delicious meal at a Nepalese restaurant. So a nice restful time to prepare me for the week in London.
London is very busy getting ready for the 2012 Olympics so lots of building and renovation going on and some of the underground stations are closed as they are being modernised. I always try to do a couple of organised walks whilst I'm here and one was a walk around the East End and the Olympic site. Quite interesting although I felt like I had done the marathon by the time it finished. The main stadium is almost finished as is the swimming stadium which they say inspired Ian Thorpe to come out of retirement . It looks to me that there is a heap of work to be done but aparantly they are on schedule.
Another walk I did was around the old Jewish area which started near the Tower of London and finished in Spitalsfields where quite a few of my ancestors were nicked before being transported to NSW. Have been to the British Museum which is quite close and which has an Australian exhibition _ only saw the garden and the plants don't seem to like the English weather. Today I met John and Arthur who are here also and Marion at theV & A Museum for lunch and a look at the Cult of Beauty exhibition.
Have also been out at night to a few things - Jazz in the Crypt at St Martin's in the Fields, a very good dance program at the Royal Opera House put on by 3rd year students, a play called Bette and Joan about the relationship between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford with Greta Scacchi anad Anita Dobson which I liked very much. One thing I didn't like was at Sadlers Wells and was a modern dance progam by a Canadian Company whose dancers spent most of the time in the nude. Some of the dancing was very good but some very crass and at sosme stage they came into the audience , sitting on some laps- luckily not mine. As most of you know I am not a prude but it was often in ver bad taste. I left at the first opportunity which was after almost 2 hours!
On Friday morning I went by train to Canterbury to meet up with Angela, a friend of Pat's and her Dad. After pottering around there Angela drove me to Margate to a fantastic new Gallery - Turner Contemporary - right on the sea, full of light and a small exhibition of very clever modern works installed specifically for the new gallery. Stayed the night in Sandwich with Angela and looked around the lovely historic town and a wonderful garden which has been restored to it's former glory.
Speaking of former glory I had a quick look at the recently restored St Pancreas Hotel - it's quite unique and beautiful- wish I could afford to stay there.
That's enough for now - hopeall are well and more in a week or so, probably from my next stop in Glasgow