Have been away for a couple of days thanks to the Queen Mother [long story] no doubt influenced by our birth signs we set course yet again for water, and ended up cruising up [down] the Thames in the rain. More fun than it sounds.
The boatman, stoutly Chelsea, intoned the list of interest, MI5 - not where I thought they were, MI6 - who were.
Lord Archer's somewhat dilapidated penthouse suite raised a small communal raspberry as the road bridges slid overhead - painted sage green, pretty pink with gilded fripperies.
This one, for good measure, has worthy Victorian statues. This is Art, they were all women which was rather sweet or irritating..
The railway bridges are more solid and serious. Many more trees than you would expect when pounding the fume filled city streets.
The splended power station is Listed, meaning the main structure must remain; after many attempts to turn it into a disco, may now become guess what, luxury apartments.
Gradually the trees win through and there you are in Kew.
If you are lucky and have caught an earlier tide you can slide thru the cool green locks at Teddington and end up at Hampton Court. But it is a tidal river, which I should have remembered, [after all we live next to one here too], and we couldn't get that far this time.
Three men in a Boat has always been a favourite of mine, Hattie could be Montmorency and I would definitely remember the tin opener, as I like pineapple a lot.
Next day it was raining rather more aggressively, if in spurts, so we ended up at the National Portrait Gallery as a reverse oasis.
The annual Portrait Competition was on, rather irritatingly it was obsessed with painting of the photo realism variety, huge and pockmarked faces gazed soulfully out. Rather clever but boring IMO, everyone looks mournful as if they can't remember where they left their smoothie.
Foyles provided further shelter, now swept clean of all idiosyncrasies; no more running around with slips of paper to at least three different pay stations before they would deign parting with a book.
I bought two of the long list Bookers, no display of the collection as yet, Foyles does at least maintain the dignity of less haste - Case of Exploding Mangoes [reportedly funny about general Zia, neat trick if true] and Child 44. This one is the first ever? Thriller to make the Booker lists. It is unremittingly tragic - it would take a heart of stone not to roar with laughter or curl up and whither away. Only those with a strong sense of humour should take the journey.