I arrived at London’s Euston Station around midday, and then took a cab to the Aspen Suites, where Mark and I have stayed before. I then took the Bakerloo Line of the Tube from Paddington to Charing Cross and headed straight for Trafalgar Square. Last time in London it was winter – the fountains were freezing over and the men were cutting up the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square. This time however, the sun was shining and there were crowds of people. I patted the lion’s paw at Nelson’s Column, which is becoming a bit of a tradition.
I went to the National Portrait Gallery and saw an exhibition called Gay Icons – which isn’t portraits of Barbra, Judy and Liza, but rather, as the brochure says: “this exhibition brings together ten selectors…each of whom is a prominent gay figure in contemporary culture and society [including Alan Hollinghurst, Elton John, Billie Jean King, Ian McKellan, to name a few]. Each selector was asked to name six people whom they personally regard as inspirational, or an icon for them.” It was a fascinating exhibition – I really love the National Portrait Gallery. I then spent a bit of time upstairs in the Tudor Gallery and saw all the famous royal portraits again – Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn etc. Had a spot of lunch in their cafe.
I then walked down Haymarket to Picadilly Circus.
Along Picadilly I had to stop into Fortnum and Mason – they beat Harrods hands down in my opinion. I bought a tin of macadamia biscuits – yum!
I then went to the Royal Academy.
They had a brilliant exhibition of J W Waterhouse, the Pre-Raphaelite painter. It was amazing. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the catalogue or any postcards because the printing process couldn’t reproduce the brilliance of colour in his paintings – they have to be seen to be believed. There is a wonderful cerulean blue he uses, especially in his rendering of water.
I then took a double-decker bus to the Royal Albert Hall:
The Albert Memorial:
I walked through Hyde Park and sat on a bench:
I managed to find the statue of Peter Pan:
Came back to the hotel, went out for dinner and am now back at the hotel watching a program where they are dissecting a crocodile.