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Sunday, May 29, 2011

29th May - Lazy Sunday Afternoon

The morning after the night before, and as usual, I'm awake hours before the others. Staying in Kew, I walk donw to the river and contemplate the day.

I love cities and London's one of my favourites. Too many people never get under the skin of it as a city, never really venturing from the sights of central London and the West End. As I walk towards the river, I go past two blue plaques on the wall of two houses close to the Coach and Horses pub where we stayed. (Great rooms - fresh air and open windows, and large breakfast with fish on the menu as well.) They illustrate why I love London so much. If you look hard enough, there's always little hidden gems, with a story behind them.

The first celebrated the fact that Camille Pissaro stayed there for a year. The peacefulness of the morning, and the changing light by the river, must have inspired him.
   Three houses further down, Arthur Hughes lived and died. He was a Pre - Raphaelite painter, who exhibited at the Royal Academy, most famous for Orphelia and the Long Engagement, and also illustrating books - mostly pictures of wistful women. Artistically an interesting contrast with Pissaro. Hughes' paintings are accurate and have incredible detail. Pissaro's captured the general light and colour of a scene, very rarely have people in, with little detail - just the 'impression' of the view at a point in time and light. Just that two minutes has meant that I've discovered a new artist. In 10 yards two snippets of history.

The tide was out, revealing the mud flats. At the east end of the city these flats inspired Charles Dickens to write 'Our Mutual Friend.' There was a variety of waders looking for food instead of mud larks looking for the treasure revealed by low tide. There were joggers, dog walkers, cyclists and rowers enjoying the peace and tranquility intermittently disturbed by planes in Heathrow. The contrast after the excitement and crowds of yesterday is marked. In 20 minutes in the morning, I've experienced a little more of London, and I liked it.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon - The Kinks - OK so its the morning, but I close my eyes and drift away.

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