The Coronavirus Diaries, 21st June 2020

So we have reached the longest day. It doesn’t seem quite possible. Celia and I were talking about this yesterday: how can we be in mid summer when the usual rituals, the usual events that are our landmarks as we move through the months simply haven’t happened? I realise I am somehow waiting for them. So it’s surprising to see tomatoes and cucumbers forming on plants, surprising to find we have moved from the daffodils and bluebells to the hydrangeas and hollyhocks, surprising the days are going to start getting shorter from tomorrow.

The billboards thanking our key workers which we saw everywhere have changed too. There’s a really striking one about domestic violence saying abusers always work from home. Along the SouthBank there are pleas for cash as well alongside the poems to remind us of the poetry library and all the other wonders we cannot currently access, and which are now in jeopardy.

Support the SouthBank

Poetry diversion

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But Is It Art?

Our Tasmanian adventure is almost over. This time tomorrow we’ll be at Hobart airport, waiting to board our flight. It’s been short but sweet and we have packed a lot in to a few days.

More by luck than judgement we visited the important historic sites shortly after arrival. As I said, our accommodation is in Battery Point. Trying to find Tourist Information we strode the streets around Salamanca, finally making it through the doors minutes before closing. Our conversation was swift and to the point; we explained what we were thinking of doing, asked for relevant information, and advice on anything else we should do. Sorted. Battery Point has a Sculpture Trail. Without actually following it, we have managed to see most of it. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the area.

As well as Salamanca, Battery Point and Mount Wellington, we have also been to Port Arthur, a one hundred acre site of a convict penal colony, today a disorientating mix of the beautiful and the horrific. Along the route to get there we kept passing rusty sculptures; a tractor, a fish, a horse and many more. Much as I should have liked to add something similar to my own home, the practicalities of getting it back to Melbourne, let alone Walworth, made that a non-starter. However, I find that they come in various sizes, so I have a diminutive rusty Tasmanian Tiger who will fit in a plant pot. Result. Continue reading

Flags and Flowers, London 2012

I was talking to my friend on Skye last night. She asked me how I was coping with the problems in London during the Olympics. I told her, truthfully, that I have not encountered any. She sounded sceptical. I expanded on my theme, and said what a brilliant time everyone was having. She countered with some negative stories she had heard or read in the news. You should be here, I said. Oh no, she replied, I don’t think so.
After we had finished talking I realised I was feeling quite irritated by her tone. I have met people from all around the UK in the past few days, every one of them has been enthusiastic about the atmosphere in London. This includes members of police forces from elsewhere in the UK who have been drafted in for the summer. They may not be able to direct visitors to the places they want to go, but they said what a great time they were having. I’ve met people from the around the world, from the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil, China, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Russia, Lithuania. All of these people were glowing with the Olympic experience here. Most had been to the games and were now enjoying the Cultural Olympiad.
I suppose the lesson is that if people want to believe it is all ghastly and they are lucky not to be here, they are not going to change their viewpoint.
I am going away for a week tomorrow, so this is probably my last Olympic post this side of the Closing Ceremony; some photographs I took in Westminster yesterday.
I suddenly noticed that the Olympic House was flying over Portcullis House, which is part of the Palace of Westminster.

Olympic Flag, Portcullis House

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Music to My Eyes

The first week in December unleashes a host of Christmas fairs in London. Artists’ Studios are open, the Cattery has its do today. They are far more relaxing places to buy presents than the hurly burly of the West End.
I bought a couple of things from ceramic artist Lucy Smith http:/lucysmith.org.uk both of which I’d love myself. She kindly said she’d post them for me, so I don’t even have to wrap them them.

I love Barbara Wakefield’s ceramics too, /http://barbarawakefield.co.uk/and I am considering buying a piece on these lines for a musical friend next year. You can commission a particular extract from a favourite work.


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