I had some difficulty reading the Oxford History on the train to Waterloo today. After unsuccessfully struggling to shut out a conversation between two men sitting opposite about a business meeting concerning the creation of a website, I decamped to a seat further up the carriage. This was not entirely successful; first because their voices continued unabated throughout the journey, and were most penetrating; secondly because even they could not compete with that of a young woman like delivering like a monologue to her friend like mostly about the like stupid people like on Jeremy Kyle, or about like her own like relationship and whether it was like on or off. Even her sandwich was inadequate to stem the flow. Her constant repetition reminded me of a similar speech delivered on a commuter train from Newark to London about twenty years ago. It would have been impossible to calculate how many times the words Tom and Cruise were woven into a young woman’s delivery taking the whole of a journey of an hour and a quarter.
Just, no doubt, for variety, today’s cacophony was supplemented by the speaker system. Some time after we left Woking, the last stop before Waterloo, we were treated to the automatic announcement welcoming us to this train and listing every single station since its departure. Twice. On the way back I sat in the quiet coach.
I chose a different route to walk from Waterloo to Green Park where I boarded a Jubilee Line train to Neasden. This was across the Golden Jubilee Bridge to Charing Cross station and onwards via St. Martin’s-in-the-fields, Leicester Square, Shaftesbury Avenue, and Piccadilly Circus with a diversion along Jermyn Street.
A bitterly cold wind swept across the bridge and I admired the spirit of those in the London Voyages speedboat that rushed underneath it.
Overlooking Embankment I gained a different perspective on tourists’ fascination with our red telephone boxes.
On the steps of the famous church beside Trafalgar Square, with a companion, 72 year old Nara Greenway is holding a vigil in memory of 117 Tibetans who have immolated themselves.
One of the features of sightseers’ London is the group of visitors being lectured on the city and its history. The speaker in Jermyn street sounded German to me so I could not tell if he was relating the tale of Beau Brummel, the early nineteenth century dandy who stood behind him. Notes were being taken.
Not to be confused with the memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales, in Hyde Park, the Diana drinking fountain in Green Park was originally erected in 1954. It stands near a food and drinks outlet near the Piccadilly entrance. Presumably the vendors do not see it as a serious rival waterhole. As it was in disrepair, retaining E.J.Clack’s statue of ‘Diana of the tree tops’, the fountain was replaced in 2012 by The Constance Fund which exists to promote the art of sculpture in London’s parks. The huntress and her hound, perched above their gilded supports, were interestingly silhouetted against the grey sky.
Norman produced turkey thighs and vegetable bake followed by trifle for lunch with which we shared a bottle of Carta Roja.
School was out as I walked back to Neasden underground station to catch the tube train direct to Waterloo to return to Southampton where Jackie collected me. Children in various stages of disarray, accompanied by or straggling behind their parents, wended their way home. One small boy, wearing his bright green uniform jumper with his raincoat hung loosely over his head by means of its hood, carrying his blue plastic schoolwork container, ran on ahead and skidded to a halt when bellowed at by his father.