17. 07. 07 This is the walk Daisy and I do most evenings after dinner. It takes about an hour and skirts the Long Walk but is still within Windsor Great Park. We do not encounter many people except the occasional dog walker or cyclist. Currently we have seen rabbits and the other night we saw a barn owl. There is a clearing where a group of guys gather to launch their radio controlled planes. I have only ever seen helicopters but Daisy assures me that they also fly planes. We have also seen riders practicing polo in a field. Another feature of this walk is planes taking off from Heathrow – one every minute in the evenings!
Archive for July, 2007
14.07.07 Daisy and I went up to the Southbank Centre to see the new Anthony Gormley show. En route from Waterloo station we encountered one of the many figures that Gormley has cast of himself and has positioned on numerous vantage pointsnear the gallery. The show consists of cast iron casts of Gormley’s body, stainless steel molecular-like versions of bodies in various poses, a maze-like installation of concrete pieces called Allotment based on the dimensions of 300 life size inhabitants from Malmo aged 1.5 – 80 years old! A foetal shape cut out from slices of Mother’s Pride bread, a space station and the really disorienting Blind Light which is a large room-sized space filled with fog. You walk in and literally cannot see your hand in front of your face. All this plus prints and, drawings and photos makes this a truly inspiring show.
I have been looking at several scooters as possible means of transport in France. I went to a Honda dealership in Slough where I looked at various models. I soon became aware of how much things have changed since my 1959 Vespa. Everything I looked at was 4 stroke and fuel injected and all were twist and drive. Lots of plastic and other lightweight materials, all very sexy! I also soon realised that I didn’t need a big bike – 125cc would do me fine – they will do 100 kph all day. A change from the 650 Suzuki that I owned 18 years ago! So finally I asked if I could test drive one and the guy said come back in 45 minutes and we will lend you a crash helmet and get a PS125i ready to go. I went back and put this unbelievably tight helmet on, left my wallet and off I went. A bit odd at first but I soon got the hang of it. Surprised that I kept squeezing the left lever every time I stopped. thinking it was a clutch. Amazed at this reaction as I haven’t driven for so long! Went up and down the Uxbridge Road, around roundabouts out into the burbs of Slough. I had a great time and the bike was really instantly responsive and dead easy to drive. The only problem was that I got lost so took a while to negotiate the back streets of Slough back to the dealership. Reluctantly handed the keys back to guy completely enamoured with the machine. Spent the evening reading all the bumph on the bike and then went out the next day to check out Gileras, Aprilias and Peugeots – loved them all but still think I will probably go for a Honda because of their reputation. E mailed a dealership in Beziers where they had a demo on for a good price but obvioulsy they can’t hold it unless I make a firm offer. I now have to wait impatiently until I get to France.
08.07.07 Biked into Windsor Great Park this afternoon with Julia. This park continues to amaze me by its size and also how unchanged it seems to be. So pastoral and peaceful it appears more 50s than the new millenium – hardly any cars, just bikes and horses and families walking. No hydro wires only planes overhead about every minute from Heathrow! We both did a couple of watercolours, mine are attached.
07.07.07 Went up to London to see the Prologue of the Tour. Beautiful sunny day for a change. Lots of people which makes you realise how big London parks really are. Caravanne started the whole thing off with floats going around the course with pretty girls throwing samples to the crowd. All very jolly. Riders warming up very colourful, lots of spandex and very high tech bikes with carbon rear wheels. Hard to see much on the actual course so watched most of it lounging on the grass watching the large screens. The hopes were that a Brit might win as this was the first time the start was in London but Fabian Cancellar, a Swiss, won with an average speed of 53.7 kph.
Decided to have a day in town so I bought the Travel card and went in on the 9.23. The first stop was the Host Gallery just off Old Street in the city. There was a show entitled Hard Men and Heroes by Stephan Vanfleteren who shoots gritty back and whites. The photos showed scenes and portraits of cyclists and spectators of the various cycle races that culminate in the tough Tour of Flanders. The show coincides with the beginning of the Tour de France in London on Saturday. Great photos of some really tough looking men who live in this cold, drizzly part of Belgium.
From there I made my way to the Tate Britain on Millbank to see the Turner watercolours. En route I passed by the old offices at John Murray where I first worked in 1959 – now but a large hole! The Turner show was partially curated by David Hockney and was brilliant. Talk about ahead of his time! I was really floored by his ‘colour beginning’ sketches which are very gestural and abstract but then you check out some of his studies of architecture and you wonder how he did them – they are so tight and wonderfully accurate. No wonder the guy was successful. I also like the fact that he travelled in the summer and then spent the winter in the studio doing large studio pieces. He owned his own gallery on Harley Street and exhibited once a year. There were also some new Hockneys at the Tate – a watercolour in the Turner show and five of his new large multi canvas paintings of Yorkshire. Interesting idea but I find his new palette a bit garish. Lunched on the steps of the Tate and then caught a bus up to Piccadilly. Rode on top at the front and was again amazed at London. The Horseguards in Whitehall looked younger than ever and I was fascinated by the variety of decoration and the rooflines of the houses. Also noticed how effective the Congestion Tax appears to be. it is still crowded but at least it moves now.
Got off bus at Albemarle Street where I worked from 1961 – 1963 – still a very elegant address. Walked along Piccadilly to the Royal Academy where I bought a ticket £6 – for seniors for the Summer Show. Huge show with every conceivable kind of art. Big Hockney but again weird palette and a massive Anselm Keifer complete with lead submarine and the roots of something sprouting out of it. Loads of paintings of all sizes and a surprising number of large drawings but nothing cheap. Lots of red dots. Also a lot of people looking and taking notes. I think that if you can get in, one can probably sell from here. After all this culture I caught the tube to Waterloo and met Julia and her friend Donna and we had a tasty and cheap fish and chip supper at a place on Waterloo Road just by the Old Vic. Julia and I then returned to Windsor.