Last week I took a trip to London with a good friend to celebrate both our birthdays (mine, late, hers, early). It was such a glorious day – blue skies, lovely and warm.
We decided to include a bit of culture with a visit to The National Gallery. There is no way you can look at everything so we opted to see a few favourite artists’ paintings – namely Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh and Constable. I am always amazed at what different reactions people have when they see art. What some love, others hate and vice versa. There were quiet rooms and others with hordes in front of the ‘popular’ paintings, perhaps missing lesser known ones that are just as wonderful. Tourists aplenty, many with tour headsets, children getting fed up, bohemian types and others like us, casually taking a stroll and admiring the view. No actual photos to share (no photography allowed officially, though I saw many snapping away on camera phones), just my amazement at actually seeing The Hay Wain by Constable and Sunflowers by Van Gogh in reality. My friend’s words at reaching the Van Gogh were ‘oh my goodness, I think I might pee myself! Is it really it? I can’t believe I am standing in front of it!’, with tears in her eyes. Enjoyment in many different forms, eh?
Afterwards we had refreshments outside St Martins In the Fields church. There is a really interesting East Window. At first you think it must be the remains of bomb damage from perhaps WW2, the glass looks warped and you can’t understand how it has been forced inwards and not fallen out. It is a newer installation reflecting what may have been bomb damage. I found it enchanting. (Zoom in if you can or look here
There was some excitement whilst we sat. A swarm of bees suddenly appeared from nowhere,they weren’t attacking, they were seemingly looking for something else, perhaps an errant Queen Bee. Someone knew there were beekeepers visiting the hives on the roof of the nearby National Gallery so they were summoned to see if they could encourage the bees to move on. Unfortunately they had moved on by then by themselves but it’s not everyday you see a beekeeper in full garb in the middle of London, around the corner from Trafalgar Square, opposite Charing Cross Station! What a great idea, hives on roofs, honey to be sold in the Gallery shop, and how opportune that they were being checked right that moment.
So this was the start of my day – all before the planned Afternoon Tea which was the birthday(s) celebration. We ate scones and jam, cakes and drank champagne. Sometimes it’s great to be another year older!