Looking at London – & further afield

Monday, 12 August 2013

Serpentine Gallery Fujimoto 542
▲ Every year there’s a new pavilion erected by the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. This year it’s a white climber frame grid with glass or clear plastic panels by Sou Fujimoto. Indeed kids were climbing all over it, although not in this picture.

BMW concept cars 542
▲ Then I looked in at the BMW Park Lane showroom where they had the new i3 and i8 concept car versions of their forthcoming electric cars. The i3 has been officially announced now, although customers won’t be driving them away until November. No secret that I’m really intrigued by electric cars, whether it’s the Chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera take or the Tesla sports car. I sold my Prius earlier this year, what should I replace it with?

Trafalgar Square 4th plinth

◄ Trafalgar Square has Nelson standing atop his mighty column plus four plinths. Statues of Henry Havelock (army heroics during the ‘Indian Mutiny’ in 1857), Charles James Napier (more army activity in India), George IV (unpopular king, on horseback) on three of them. The fourth was intended to feature Willliam IV, also on horseback, but the cash ran out and for 150 years the plinth was empty. In recent years a series of temporary, sometimes humorous figures have appeared. Currently it’s a blue rooster, which hopped up there soon after a British rider won the Tour de France for the second year running. Poking fun at the French and their national symbol someone suggested?

Thames from the Swan 542
▲ Before catching Indian Tempest at the Globe Theatre we had dinner at the adjacent Swan, with this fine view down the Thames from our table.

Stonehenge 542
▲ Heading out of London we went to stay with some friends at their place in Wiltshire, just beyond Stonehenge. They’ve been arguing for more than 20 years now about what to do about the road by Stonehenge. Ideally – and at great cost – put the road into a tunnel so there’s nothing to disturb the prehistoric scenery. Meanwhile the road goes from a dual carriageway to 2 lanes for about 8 km (5 miles) and most of the time the traffic backs up for many miles in both directions. We wasted about an hour on that overstressed stretch of road. This is the view from traffic jam.

Millbank by Caro 542▲ We paid a visit to the NewArtCentre, a garden sculpture park at East Winterslow, just east of Salisbury. The lonely Anthony Caro figures are interesting; Supposedly everything is for sale although it’s only the work in the indoor gallery which is price tagged. Topping out at £190,000 for a Barbara Hepworth. Millbank Steps by Anthony Caro looks like a modern Stonehenge.