SO WHAT DO I DO in LONDON????
Admittedly I came here with no particular project in mind…I thought I’d find a world I didn’t know and was determined to mine it. So this is what I’ve done:
–WALKED around exploring the Boroughs–first Shoreditch, now Hoxton, my neighborhoods, then every day I push out from my bubble–today discovering ANGEL with its winding pedestrian street full of curated shops, gourmet gelato, hand-made leather bags, cozy brick buildings and of course s flower-filled park nearby–london’s amazing this way every few blocks and there’ll be a little garden nestled amidst old Georgian flats or right next to some glass and steel behemoth–there’s simply always a spot of green nearby.
Next I walked all of the “Square Mile” or the actual and original City of London where the Romans first settled after taking the native’s land, where the Lord Mayor resides and from where he or she runs the town. The City has its heraldic image on all borders–rampant griffins drooling with ferocity and holding up a coat of arms asking God’s direction. Here I went to a beautifully sung Choral Eucharist at St Stephen Walbroke, a lovely circular church designed by Sir Christopher Wren whose designs rebuilt London after its devastating fire of 1666. The church stands on the former banks of the river Walbroke that flowed through ancient London and where the cult Temple of the Persian God Mithras held his “mystery” rituals including slaughtering a bull and sharing a communal meal. Mithras was said to have been born from a rock and his cult rivaled Christianity mightily. I was privileged to share a communal meal at the church–synchronicity in action.
The City as the Square Mile is called hosts the financial world of London and any time of day you can be virtually driven to the ground by the hordes of grim faced business men in three piece suits and high polished designer shoes streaming fast and furiously around the Bank tube station right at the core of the City.
Having moved from Shoreditch to Hoxton I’ve got a new walking route –along the St Regents Canal– very lovely narrow stream with riverboats and 19th century hand operated locks along the way. It’s my daily walking site and I love it.
I’ve gone out of town too–to the Orkney islands (see a post below). And to Greenwich to put my legs on both sides of the meridian and to watch the ball of the hour drop. And to Hampstead Heath where I saw some art and rambled in fields overlooking the city.
Took a wonderful vacation from my vacation going to Paris to visit my sweet musician/actor friend Wingy and her boyfriend. I saw a brilliant Bonnard show at the D’Orsay and a fascinating Corbusier show at the Pompidou but in Paris I mainly relaxed, walked around various parts of the city and took a lot of coffees with Wingy.
I also have spent time with one of my oldest friends–Annie whom I’ve known since before my children were born!!! She still lives in the loveliest fairy tale English cottage that I’ve ever seen–rose arbored, many gardens in her large yard–lavender, poppies, calendula, stock and many beds of vegetables her daughter Jen tends to. Inside is filled with paintings, drawings sculpture set in with coral colored walls and a blue and white kitchen full of antique crockery. There’s not a cozier home on the planet and Annie doubles the pleasure by preparing food for the goddesses!!
I walked and walked and walked to the other side of London to the City of Westminster where the Queen lives, and Parliament sits, where the wealthy cavort and the West End plays are performed. Visited Westminster Cathedral and St. Paul’s as well to hear Vespers sung and, on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, I saw Prince Charles and Camilla coming to services, after which I watched a wild-eyed thespian in period dress act out the Battle’s many events by means of a pile of vegetables–the English enacted by carrots, the French, by onions–all presented in Wellington’s actual home–the Apsley House– on the edge of Hyde Park.
Steeping myself further in history and heritage, I attended two plays about failed kings whose lives ended brutally: Shakespeare’s “Richard II” and Marlowe’s “Edward II” both presented in an 11th century Gothic church–unbelievably impressive with actors declaiming and dying just inches away from the audience! For more culture I bounced back to Ancient Greece for a modern passionate version of Aeschylus ‘ “Orestiae” and attended two glorious choral works–Mozart’s “Requiem” and Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” presented in St John’s College Chapel in Cambridge…a lovely mythical town full of 23 colleges and a willow and flower banked river wherein I went “punting,” that is, sitting on a boat pushed downstream by a handsome young punter.
Oh of course I’ve been good and gone to the many great museums here especially loving the ancient sculptures in the British Museum and the splendid Shoe exhibit at the Victoria and Albert. I’m looking forward to a night viewing of the McQueen “Savage Beauty” and to seeing the choreographed version of “Carmen” called “The Car Men” and said to be the best show on London by the New York Times !!
Of course I’ve had to party a bit too so I’ve been dancing to house music at the East End Village Underground and at the Bangface Boat Party held on the Thames one hot clear night!! I saw Patti Smith at a Victoria Park concert and attended a fabulous Fashion Forum (see my post about it).
Have taken a class on drawing into sculpture–so inspiring and one on Screenwriting and another on Wood Carving. Next week I’ll be trying out an Abstract Painting class and I’m back to life drawing and loving it
So this is my answer…just what are you doing here, people ask, and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit I’m not working, am just walking and following the scent of anything that might be interesting..and it’s worked out more than well!!