Festival of Love

Despite summer having gone awol, and today being greyer than underwear that has made a lifetime’s habit if sneaking into the dark wash, people were out to enjoy themselves on the Southbank for the last weekend of the Festival of Love.

Welcome

Welcome

If you’re thinking, as I did, hang on a second, wasn’t the Festival of Love last year? Yes, it was.

My own guess is that this is a cost cutting exercise as the Southbank was not as exuberant as in previous summers; most of the installations had, to my eye, the air of being cheaper options.

But the theme was given a twist; love as a political force. Apparently there above the QEH there was an installation reworking Mandela’s statement that “if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love”, but I was blowed if I could find it. Unless this was it.

Love

Love

In the RFH there were posters with pictures of Change Makers, people whose actions have improved the world.

Pavan Amara

Pavan Amara


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Serendipitous Boat

So much in life seems to be down to luck, to chance, to random and quite unpredictable circumstances and encounters.

If Cat hadn’t had died when he did, I shouldn’t have been looking at sites with cats needing homes, and looking at them with my friend Sue across the pond. My search was restricted to London. Sue, in Houston was looking at a larger canvas. It was she who spotted MasterB.

Oh Happy Day!

The Director

The Director


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A Wonderful Day

I shouldn't like to live on das Boot all the time, and I can say with great certainty that neither would MasterB, but that doesn't stop me from feeling sad that I shall go home tomorrow, or from MasterB having a nice time now. He has commandeered my seat, a fold up director's chair of some vintage, rather as he commandeers the sofa. I am writing in the dark to discourage the ingress of insects.

I just tried to ring Aunt, but her number was engaged. It was similarly engaged half an hour ago, from which I deduce that she is relating our day to Uncle Bill.

As forecast, the day dawned bright and sunny. It got brighter and sunnier as the morning passed. And hotter. I should have mentioned hotter, some 30 degrees C, and hotter still in my car after it had sat in sunshine for a while with the windows closed outside Aunt's flat this afternoon.

Showered, dressed and breakfasted, and with my hair brushed and also washed, I headed off for Aunt's, only to discover when I stopped to buy the paper that I had left my purse on das Boot. At least I was able to offload the bags of used cat litter into the bin outside the newsagent's. I refused all Aunt's offers of cold drinks, biscuits, and goodness only knows what and hurried her out of her flat. My big fear was that we would reach the pub only to find the table she prefers, her table, taken.

So she got her vist to the marina, albeit briefly, while I grabbed money, a hat and sun cream, not realising Aunt had already put the latter two requisites in her bag in advance of my arrival.

We admired the poppies in the fields, the growth of the corn, the neatly rolled hay bales, and the rectangular ones. The sun shone. Continue reading

A Blast of Summer and Some Bites

On and off throughout the day I remembered I hadn’t yet brushed my hair. Each time I was nowhere near my hairbrush. I remembered again on my way back to das Boot from blackberry picking and buying tomatoes. My fingernails were stained a gory red, I had blackberry juice stains on my shirt (I still have) and my face was flushed from the sudden return of heat to August. Well you have to let your standards drop so times. No laughing there at the back, you who know me.

Summer’s end of term report this year is unlikely to feature any A*s. There will be comments exhorting her to try harder, remarks about inconsistency and lack of concentration. Maybe she is in love. Certainly for much of the time it has felt as though her attention were elsewhere. We have lurched from cool days and grey skies to scorching heat and back again. Even coming away for this weekend I packed for three seasons.

Being British, the weather is of course a main staple of my conversation, and certainly this summer has not failed to give variety to the theme. But for this weekend she has it right. This morning I rather doubted the forecasters who predicted sunny skies and rising degrees this afternoon, culminating in one full day of heat and sunshine tomorrow before rain on Sunday evening.

In other words, the perfect weekend to be away from London and afloat. No doubt at this very minute some of my near neighbours at home are drinking too much after their barbecues, talking loudly, and preparing to open a few more bottles. Tomorrow will be an amplified version of the same, and tough if you want to get to sleep before the braying laughter and sudden shouts have ceased in the pre dawn. Continue reading

Settling Down

The sun was setting as I drove the last miles over what passes for a road over the fens. I stopped to buy half a dozen eggs and the Egg Lady came out and introduced herself. She recognised me as the woman who handed her some twenty egg boxes at the start of the summer. I keep them in the boot of my car for when I come East.

We had a brief chat and I explained I was on my way to das Boot. She was interested in why I had it. I explained – Mother's move to sheltered housing, my need for somewhere to stay. She asked what I would be doing this weekend. I told her the main purpose of my visit was to see my aunt who has terminal cancer. Egg Lady promptly told me if I needed a shoulder to cry on and/or a glass of wine, I should be welcome.

She has a pack of wonderful dogs, so I may take her up on it. I told her I knew someone in Colorado who wants her weather vane.

At the marina I hurried to das Boot to run the engine and get sorted before MasterB came on board. A head poked out of a nearby boat. A boat that is newish here. The owner of the head, Gary, wanted to know if I knew the code to the toilet and shower block. He seemed a bit down. Maybe he has been waiting all day for someone to turn up and give him that information. He made some comment about there being quite a few cars here but no people. They're out on their boats, I said, gesturing to the riverfront which was conspicuously empty of craft. He seemed unimpressed. Maybe I would be too if I had been hoping for use of an onshore shower all day. Continue reading

Jude’s Bench Challenge: August

I was wondering idly what the challenge was for this month, and hoping it would be something to do with animals as I have photos of a bench with a stone fox curled beneath it. It turns out she wants pix of colourful benches, and there is no way other than through a lot of digital editing my fox bench would fit.

A while ago I posted a picture of a mosaiced bench at St John’s Waterloo. Here’s a link if you’d like to see it. Obviously photos of Gaudi’s snaking benches would fit too, but it seems a good chance to share some of the many pictures of book benches that featured in London last summer.

Here are a few for starters:

Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

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