I arrived in London yesterday at about 2pm and caught a black cab from Euston Station to the hotel in Paddington.

I have studio with a groovy mezzanine bed level.

I then took a walk through the nearby Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.

I accidentally came across the Serpentine Gallery, which I’ve always meant to visit. They had a great photographic exhibition by Wolfgang Tillmans.

The 2010 pavilion is by Jean Nouvel. It’s quite beautiful – the red of double decker buses and post boxes contrasts with the green of the park.

I also sought out the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Despite the fact that the signs say no wading or swimming, it’s basically become a huge granite toddlers’ pool. I don’t think Diana would have minded though. It was one of the liveliest places in Hyde Park.

I had dinner nearby and then an early night.

This morning I started out by walking from Paddington to Mayfair. Halfway along Park Lane is a beautiful new (well, 2004) memorial to all the animals who have died fighting in wars.

From dogs and pigeons to elephants.

The motto is “they had no choice”.

Didn’t see any cats though. They were too smart.

I went to the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, their 242nd annual art exhibition featuring open entry. Anyone at all can enter their artwork into the exhibition – though not everyone gets accepted. There were some fantastic exhibits, plus a few less spectactular pieces. I am determined now to learn printmaking (I did etching in school) and get accepted into the Summer Collection!

This was followed by a visit to Fortnum and Mason for a supply of tea, infusions and jams. I then had coffee at Nero’s – a coffee chain with a outlet actually in the grounds of St James’ Church in Mayfair! Nice setting though, plus there’s a market.

I got caught in a heavy rainshower between Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square, but I took refuge under the portico of the Theatre Royal Haymarket, home of many of Oscar Wilde’s plays. I saw a version of Lady Windermere’s Fan there many years ago. Back out in Trafalgar Square there is a temporary hedge maze. I didn’t go in for fear of getting caught in another shower.

Is that a lion I see lurking in the bushes? It’s a familiar one at the base of Nelson’s Column.

After a lunch in Leicester Square I headed to the matinee of La Bete at the Comedy Theatre starring Frasier’s David Hyde Pierce, Joanna Lumley and an oustanding performance by Mark Rylance. Determined not to nod-off in the matinee (as I have been known to do) I made sure that I had three cappucinos in the preceding few hours. As it turned out there was no way I could have fallen asleep as the play was lively, funny and intelligent.  The funniest moments came from Greta-Lee Dorine as the monosyballic maid.

News on the home front is that the repairs are almost complete and that the painters are scheduled for the next couple of days. The bad news is that the entire house is now covered in a layer of wood dust.

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