With our freshly minted book on the UK to hand, we’re trying to explore parts of London yet unseen. I will confess to a well ingrained habit here, of shopping + squirrelling = whole days lost.
In this spirit of “new”, we set off for a recommended walk through Covent Garden, an area once full of warehouses, now converted into shops and restaurants, also home to Covent Market.
We have a rare misstep at lunch – expensive and less than average would be the kindest description. If cafes are going to charge the better part of £30 for a couple of sandwiches and a juice, the least they could do is make them well. Himself is not best pleased.
The market we’d hoped for has been converted to touristy shops and fast food, along with our decidedly average bakery/cafe. At least they left the historical structure intact.
We see the Royal Opera,
and the interesting “Bridge of Aspiration” that links it to the School of Ballet.
We pass greened buildings,
the Freemason’s Musuem,
one of London’s oldest pubs, The Lamb and Flag, opened in 1623,
and the Seven Dials monument, although it’s a replica of a 17th century original.
Going a little off piste, we find ourselves in Trafalgar Square under the bluest of skies.
It’s certainly where all the action is: there are street artists, buskers and even a doomsayer loudly proclaiming that a bitter end awaits us all. No-one bats an eyelid: eccentricity is well tolerated here.
Nelson looks down from his column as we explore the St Martin in the Fields church,
the Square’s fountains
Nelson’s impressive pussy cats
and the National Gallery.
The Gallery draws us in. I’m sure you’ll not be surprised. It’s another vast space: we focus on a mere two wings featuring Rembrandt,
Van Gough, Rubens,
Vermeer and Turner
to name but a few highlights.
It’s very easy to lose time here, wandering through the talent behind centuries of brushstrokes. Scores of school groups are on site too, from excited primary schoolers, to teenagers feigning indifference in only the way they can. The geeks are out front, busily sketching and taking notes. Of course they are.
Himself eventually calls time for home, dragging me behind. I would have happily roamed the Gallery corridors for hours yet. My inner geek is still alive and well. Himself calls her Hermione, which I’ve chosen to take as the highest compliment.