The London sky was alive with contrails today.
Morning found us back at a familiar haunt. If you were to ask us we would both confess we are getting a little worn out now in our sixth week of travel. But with it being Friday and there not being any matinees we decided to relax a bit, not leave so early and spend some leisurely time visiting a place we haven't been to before.
Every embassy flies its flag and this area of London between Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square has embassies in abundance.
Brazil's embassy with its flag proudly flying.
You know how wherever you travel in the world there are people that have a maple leaf flag pin stuck to their clothing, hat, bag, and who knows what all else. It's that country that has the maple leaf flag. Obviously the fact that the maple leaf flag is really important to the citizens of that country up north, it's also really important in terms of their embassy to make sure that everyone does exactly who they are. I believe it's a case that if one flag is okay 5 flags are way better.
Our morning destination, the National Gallery in the foreground. In the background is St. Martin of the Fields church, the one where we saw Batman and Robin on the steps a few years ago.
Before I go any further I need to warn you, there are a great number of photos in this post, particularly of artworks we saw at the gallery. I've also tried to include the descriptive placard that accompanies each piece. If you're not into art you've been forewarned. I picked up my enjoyment of art when I was in grade school and our class took a field trip to the art gallery in a city near where I lived. I'll just say that Linda didn't have the same experience and while her tolerance of spending time in the gallery may not be quite as intense as mine, she still very much enjoys seeing the paintings of the great artists. At least until her feet start hurting and it's time to go. Readers need to think of that as a good thing because if it was up to me there'd be many more hours in the gallery and dozens more pictures in the post. Lucky Readers.
The question on the above photo is, did she take it to show the cat or the foot as I think. Or did she take to show the dog or the foot as she thinks. Meaning, the question is, is it a cat or dog? Blind Bob. ( According to Linda.) I think she really took it to show the foot and some animal just happened to be in the photo.
We always enjoy seeing artists working at copying the works of art.
We both really love the paintings by the French Impressionists and can recall our two visits to Monet's Gardens is being fantastic experiences.
You can always tell when your getting close to one of the greats because of the crowds.
When I downloaded the photos there was no doubt that Linda was reaffirming who her favorite artist is.
Why is it that people who use their phone to take photos think they need to be 6 inches away from the subject? And not only do they get up close to take the photo, then they stand right in front of what they've taken the photo of an block everyone else from seeing it.
My kind of photographer, he had a camera very similar to mine and he used it like it should be used.
And if you're wondering, yes we spent a good deal of time in the rooms where the French Impressionists paintings were displayed.
Not every painting needs to be filled with colorful objects.
Linda knows how to enjoy an art gallery. Spend some time on your feet looking at paintings and spend some time relaxing in a nice soft comfy seat. No hard wooden benches for her. Smart Linda.
I marvel at the emotion and artist can capture.
There is obviously an unknown story behind the unfinished portion of this photo. Could've been a child that died? Could it have been that Mrs. Andrews died? Art cannot only be dazzling, it can get you to wonder.
It's hard to see but the photographer wearing Tevas and hat is holding his camera out and taking a photo of the domed ceiling. Unfortunately the photo of the domed ceiling was not of the quality of the photos displayed on the walls and thus will not be displayed here.
If there's a chicken in a painting, Linda will see it.
My take on this painting is it needs a little restoration to make the lemons look more freshly picked. Either that or they were picked when there was a lot of smoke and other particulates in the air that dulled their color. Art Critic Bob.
Linda and her animals.
Now what could she be staring at?
The greatest artists are great for a reason. I wonder if we should call Castiglione Rubenesque? Bad Bob.
A closeup of a section of the painting. For some reason it really spoke to me. Fascinated Bob.
When it comes to art classes we are observers, not participants. Stick Figure Bob.
It's the only Leonardo on display and it was in a tiny room. I wonder if they do this on purpose? Puzzled Bob.
Buskers come in all manner of entertainment endeavors. These artists are drawing maps of different countries on the courtyard in front of the gallery. A little sign says "Place the money on the flag of your country", which is a better way I guess than standing frozen in a spot all day with a bunch of paint on you.
Mid afternoon at the White Hart. Linda is such a great customer here of their gin and tonic's that she even gets a glass with the name of her favorite tonic water. The smile says it all. Pretty Linda.
The camera is sitting on "our table", the one we always try to sit at in the White Hart.
Homemade steak pie. Linda pronounced it even better than the one she had at the George Inn.
The search had been on for some time on this trip for Linda's sole request for what she wanted to buy while in London.
They aren't the best photographs I'll admit. What she got was to coins, the photos were an attempt to show both sides, that were somewhat older than is currently used. They are bronze coins that were struck in Britain by The Roman Army between 41 and 54 A.D. which was during the reign of Claudius and his head is on the one side, while Minerva with shield and spear is on the obverse.
Being such great fans of Time Team, we watch it nearly every night on YouTube, these kinds are away of making their digs real, and it also in a way touches the past of our ancestors who came from England to the US. I asked her what she was going to do with them and she just said I want them.
A close-up of my hand on the sign.
A close-up of what was on my hand. I'll just say it took a long time to purchase those to coins. That meant I had a long time to look around in the shop. They were really dealers in coins, but also had a few other items. I knew I also wanted something from Rome and looked at brooches, hasps, bits and pieces of silver that were broken off of other items. None of them struck that special chord. Then I spied this ring, which was literally right in front of me. It was listed as a agent Roman bronze finger ring with the bezel showing a crosshatched design. It was certified original and genuine, being made in the fourth or fifth century A.D. in the Roman Empire got into line. This one really called to me and when he unlocked the case and took it out it slipped right onto my little finger and I knew it was found just for me. Happy Bob.
Buying things like this isn't all that easy because you have to have faith in who where you buy them. We had seen things like this for sale in some of the markets, but having read how so many fakes were being sold, many of them being made in Bulgaria and Romania, and looking at the sellers, then making a mental connection that may or may not be correct, we decided there was no way we would buy off of them. We even looked up this shop on the Internet before we went back again to buy the objects and they had excellent reviews. As I said we have to take a purchase like this on faith, but the way I felt when I put this ring on my finger, I just know that someone in the Roman Empire wore it.
Some people might make fun of these signs at the street crossings, but we find the very helpful since traffic comes from the wrong direction and the UK.
Tonight we opted for something very serious in terms of the play.
There was only one set, but with Tennessee Williams as the playwright and Cleve Owens as the star it was more than enough.
This theater really had nosebleed seats, though I managed to cut off most of the third circle at the top.
You knew we had to take a selfie.
It's Linda's hand holding this gin and tonic, but it's the one I ordered. She chose Beefeater for her gin, while I made the mistake of choosing Isle of Harris gin. The only way I can describe that gin is that it was almost undrinkable. It did take me almost all the way to the interval of this three-hour play to get it down, but tough person that I am, I was able to to do it. Sometimes my tendency to try things I don't know what they are gets me into trouble. This was one of those times. Venturesome Bob.
There's just something about being in that huge swarm of humanity when the theaters all end at approximately the same time and the hordes to send on the underground stations that makes what London is all about so very real. And with that I'll in this post. If you've kept with it to the end you deserve a reward and the good news or bad news depending on how you look at it is that we only have two more days in London so the end of these ramblings are about to end. Wordy Bob.