...the Journal

After the boat trip, we are staying in London at the Commodore Hotel, near Hyde Park (and next door to the Brasilian Consulate--we've stayed here before).

If you want to see some information about the hotel, this link is a good place to start.


Someone suggested I add a discussion board, so I have.

If you have anything to discuss, go to this link. Feel free to start a new discussion on anything.

Keep the discussion going while I'm away, will ya!


Who knows? I took lots of books with me!


The sights of London

Eat your heart out!

That's it for today!

An "Art-ful" day

21 May 2001

Bayswater Rd. is half a block from our hotel. It runs along one side of Hyde Park, and on Sunday artists, craftsmen, and purveyors of trashy souvenir junk set up stands to put their wares on display. So yesterday, after my time here at Internet Access, and breakfast, we decided to walk the length of the displays and check out the artwork.

The very first stand I passed had a painting I really liked, but I didn't know how I could get it home, as it was not small (it's not huge either), and it was framed behind glass. I talked with the artist a bit, swallowed a bit at the price which was on the upper end of "affordable," and told him I'd think about it.

We continued down the length of the wall and saw great stuff, fun stuff, schlocky stuff and junk you wouldn't bother about. I took pictures of the things I liked (except for some wonderful masks which the artist refused to let me photograph). When we turned around to head back, I was drawn again to the first painting and when the artist agreed to take it out of the frame and pack it so it could be put in a suitcase, I caved in.

It actually turned out to be a good decision. I had a chance to talk with the artist about how he painted it, about his likes in the subject matter, about his travels, etc. It was the most "intense" British encounter I'd ever had. I hear all the time about people traveling in foreign countries and having great encounters with locals, but being basically a shy person, that never happens to me. I loved talking with this guy, briefly.

While I was completing the transaction, Walt took the bus downtown to visit the half price ticket booth to see about tickets for a show for Sunday. This meant I took the painting back to the hotel and then went up the other half of the art displays, in the other direction. I found a guy selling miniature paingings, oil on velvet (which I've always thought of as kind of tacky) of birds. There was a lovely swan mother with babies and a kingfisher. Both were such big parts of our boat trip, that I bought both (not expensive--8.75 each). They were small enough they could be carried around with me all day.

Now I was on my own to get downtown. I caught the bus, feeling good that I knew what I was doing. I hoped to get a picture of the designated graffiti wall (another form of art), but the bus passed by too quickly for me to take a picture. Likewise I missed the picture I wanted to take of the Japanese display at Selfridge's. But owell.

When I got off at the National Gallery, across from Trafalgar Square, the bells of St. Martin in the Fields were pealing like crazy. I guess they were calling folks to noon worship, since it was close to noon at that time. When I crossed the street to the church, I could see that in front of the church, behind a gate, was a collection of "pearly kings and queens." Those are those folk who dress in black clothes covered with white buttons. I took some pictures, but only from the back, 'cause I was too shy to climb the stairs and take pictures from the front.

And then off to easyEverything again. I had an hour and a half left on the time I bought for computer access the day before and didn't want to leave the country leaving it unused, so Walt and I planned to meet there. I had also spoken with fellow journaler, Miriam Nadel of Areas of Unrest who is in London right now as well. We agreed to meet at easyEverything, figuring that was a good place for a couple of cyber journalists to meet!

Walt arrived. Miriam arrived and we all exchanged pleasantries and decided to continue visiting over lunch at the crypt of St. Martin in the Fields (kinda weird to sit at a table sitting over someone's gravestone!). We had a lovely lunch. Miriam is probably the first person I've met who was en route from Malta. She had wonderful stories of out of the way places she's visited and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with her.

Walt had purchased tickets for the "matinee" (5 p.m.) of a comedy, "Art," starring George Segal, and we had a couple of hours to kill before curtain, so we wandered over for one last trip to Covent Garden and the Transport Museum, where Walt wanted to buy a cup to add to his cups representing various tube lines here in London. We watched a soprano sing arias in the center of Covent Garden, and watched the crowd gather for one of the street performers outside. I kept looking for Henry Higgins or Elisa Doolittle, but they did not show up.

We stopped for coffee at a small cafe, wandered around a store featuring stuff from Australia (just to see what the country has to offer), and slowly made it back to Charring Cross Rd., where the theatre was. We passed by a Women's Bookstore which had some refrigerator magnets in the window and I couldn't resist taking pictures of them, which will ultimately go in the "guest refrigerator" section of this journal.

"Art" had been a last minute decision. We hadn't intended to see a fifth show, and most theatres are dark on Sunday here anyway, but we had run out of things we really wanted to do that we had time to do, so we decided to do one more show. I think we both decided that of the lot, this was our favorite. What an incredible tour de force. I think, if I'm not mistaken, that the touring show when it came through Sacramento did not get a good review. This is a 3-man play and obviously depends strongly on the actors and these three guys were perfect. I sometimes think of George Segal as a lightweight actor, especially now that he is doing the sit com "Just Shoot Me" but forget that he has a pretty impressive set of credentials and you couldn't ask for better. Unfortunately I have left the program at the hotel, so I can't remember the names of his co-stars, but each of the three were amazing and the whole show was a perfect way to end an enjoyable theatre orgy.

We came back to Bayswater Rd. and the Swan Pub, which is a pub we've been saying we were going to try for literally years now. Tonight was the night. We hadn't expected to find it overflowing with patrons! But we were determined, so we waited and waited and waited to get out food, and found it decent, though nothing to write home about (we hadn't expected it to be wonderful--just wanted to say we'd eaten there. I suspect it's more a tourist place than any place locals would patronize.

We talked with a woman from Florida who had just arrived with her two daughters. She was asking me for advice on shows to take 20-somethings to, and places to shop for trendy clothes. I couldn't really help her with either, but we did have a nice conversation anyway.

And then back to the hotel for the last night. I'd had a run of good luck, with three nights of actual sleep, but luck ran out and I was awake at 4 with back pains again. The next time I go to sleep for the night, it will be at home where I know I will be comfortable and get a good night's sleep. I can't wait.

We are catching a cab to Paddington Station in a couple of hours, and then the train out to Heathrow, where we will have lunch and hang around waiting for our flight to leave. Our London experience is over yet again, and I, for one, am really ready to be home again.

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 5/5/01 by Bev Sykes