It’s been a while since I was last in London but I got back up there the other day. It’s a lovely feeling as you step off the train in Paddington and breathe in London and then your whole body starts to tingle and you realise that’s oxygen deprivation. In the next moment that thick, stale air hits you and then you get shoved by a commuter who has better places to be. Oh London! The hot wind of the tube trains, the sheer misery of lost and late people, the unending sea of bodies all pressing and pushing through the stygian sub terrain.
I went from thrilled to be back in London to foul tempered in about 2 minutes. An hour later I had a splitting headache, presumably through lack of oxygen and I have to tell you that my smiling strategy wasn’t going down too well. There was only one solution as there always is when I first get to London – Liberty’s. It’s fair to say that taking your husband to Liberty’s is not a smart idea, unless the cries of “How much?!” neither irk nor irritate you. Having failed to convince him that £24.50 for High Tea for one was a reasonable price, and to be honest I was struggling myself, I bought some gorgeous Christmas tree decorations and then we escaped to Tate Britain. I went for Tate Britain rather than Tate Modern because there is only so much “Call that art!” that a girl can take.
As we arrived at the Tate it turned out that the road had been closed for Burberrys’ show for London Fashion Week. I’ve never been near an event like this so we hung over the railing and gawped at loads of famous people that we didn’t recognize and found the whole thing very funny. The photographer bay was heaving with flashing lights and people shouting at other people to “look to me! To me! Lovely!” All these glamorous people and we didn’t have a clue. Steve was unfazed by his ignorance and was happy delighting in the sheer beauty of the girls and my word they were stunning. Finally we spotted Andy Murray and left happy that we could finally tell the children we saw their favourite tennis player.
The Tate itself was its usual oasis of calm and splendour. I love escaping into galleries in London, they’re free and empty and full of wonders. There’s a lovely grand picture of some well-to-do posing for his portrait with his gun and his day’s spoils in hand. I rather like the Springer in the bottom corner eyeing up the dead rabbit. I wonder who that put me in mind of?
We finally left to grab a bite to eat before watching Stephen Fry at the Royal Albert hall, the purpose for our jolly. It was a good show and we had cracking seats but I’m afraid my mind kept wandering as I kept looking at all the books on the stage set behind him – some very nice bindings there.
Unsurprisingly, for someone as in love with the English language as Fry, he overran; he had no sooner walked off the stage than we were up and running for the night train. No doubt we missed an intimate tete a tete as he returned for an encore and invited those remaining to become his best friends forever and stay at his Italian estate but we had a prior date with BR that could not be avoided.
And then it was onto the sleeper train. What a revelation for £69! That covers the journey, a bed for the night and breakfast, I was really impressed. So London and back in under 24hrs with an evening show to boot. I do miss all that London has to offer but I don’t miss the crowds and my lungs and wallet are both rather relieved to be back home, here in Cornwall, where the heart is.