A Weekend Diary

…words and images from England's green and pleasant land…

Archive for the tag “Trafalgar Square”

Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square…and around Charing Cross…

A rainy Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Friday afternoon, 11th October

A rainy Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Friday afternoon, 11th October

Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, opposite Portsmouth Guildhall...

Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, opposite Portsmouth Guildhall…

North side, Trafalgar Square, with The National Gallery, St Martin's-in-the-Fields, and the Fourth Plinth...

North side, Trafalgar Square, with The National Gallery, St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, and the Fourth Plinth…

'Save Rosia' an environmental Action Group...

‘Save Rosia’ an environmental Action Group…

A juggling uni-cyclist , performing in front of the National Gallery...

A juggling uni-cyclist , performing in front of the National Gallery…

A London City skyline from Hungerford Bridge...

A London City skyline from Hungerford Bridge…

Another view downstream from Hungerford Bridge...

Another view downstream from Hungerford Bridge…

Nelson Mandela statue, outside the Royal Festival Hall, on London's South Bank...

Nelson Mandela statue, outside the Royal Festival Hall, on London’s South Bank…

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The Shanghai Ballet Company at The Coliseum – Jane Eyre

I confess straight away that I have no pretensions at all when it comes to an appreciation of ballet, and it’s a very rare event indeed for me to buy a ticket to watch a live performance of it. That said, I was intrigued by the idea of a Chinese ballet company giving an interpretation of an English classic novel. Moreover, I’d never visited The Coliseum before to watch anything, so that is just where I found myself on the second night of this brief four night season.

A newish addition to Gerrard Place, in London's Chinatown

A newish addition to Gerrard Place, in London’s Chinatown

The Coliseum, home of the English National Opera, at the southern end of St Martin's Lane

The Coliseum, home of the English National Opera, at the southern end of St Martin’s Lane

View of the theatre's stage, from the Balcony

View of the theatre’s stage, from the Balcony

And a (mono) view upwards from the Balcony

And a (mono) view upwards from the Balcony

Despite being a bit of a philistine when it comes to an appreciation of ballet, it was a very watchable performance, and I particularly enjoyed Fan Xiaofeng’s portrayal of Bertha Mason, which had an utterly compelling beauty, and was well worth the price of the entry ticket alone (£20 for a Balcony seat if you were wondering ;)).

The cast page in the bilingual programme, which cost eight quid, but I was always going to buy one

The Cast page in the bilingual programme, which cost eight quid (but I was always going to buy one)

This rare night at the ballet triggered the memory of a poem that I’ve long loved, Louis MacNeice’s ‘Les Sylphides’, published in 1939…

Life in a day: he took his girl to the ballet;
Being shortsighted himself could hardly see it –
The white skirts in the grey
Glade and the swell of the music
Lifting the white sails.

Calyx upon calyx, Canterbury bells in the breeze
The flowers on the left mirrored to the flowers on the right
And the naked arms above
The powdered faces moving
Like seaweed in a pool.

Now, he thought, we are floating – ageless, oarless –
Now there is no separation, from now on
You will be wearing white
Satin and a red sash
Under the waltzing trees.

But the music stopped, the dancers took their curtain,
The river had come to a lock – a shuffle of programmes –
And we cannot continue down
Stream unless we are ready
To enter the lock and drop.

So they were married – to be the more together –
And found that they were never again so much together,
Divided by the morning tea,
By the evening paper,
The children and the tradesmen’s bills.

Waking at times in the night she found assurance
Due to his regular breathing but wondered whether
It was really worth it and where
The river had flowed away
And where were the white flowers.

The Coliseum, after sundown

The Coliseum, after sundown

After the performance I wandered the short distance to Trafalgar Square, and listened to a reggae busker for a while before heading for home.

The National Gallery, looking north from Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery, looking north from Trafalgar Square

Moon through clouds, near my north London home

Moon through clouds, near my north London home

As so often happens in life, synchronicities manifest themselves at times like this, and on two occasions in the following couple of days, I found Jane Eyre staring out at me from the window display of a charity shop in North Finchley High Road. Yes, I think I owe it to Charlotte to read the original ;).

Some reading to catch up on ;)

Some reading to catch up on 😉

A hot summer’s day in London Town…

For those of us whose homes lie on the Northern Line of London’s Tube network, we’ve been experiencing a lot of weekend engineering work this year, and that was true again this weekend, with no trains running on the Northern Line between East Finchley and central London (on the High Barnet Branch) nor any trains running between Golders Green and central London (on the Edgware Branch). So it was, I found myself on a crowded Replacement Bus Service between East Finchley and St Pancras today, and once we’d all been disgorged into Midland Road, I decided I’d take a nostalgic ramble southwards towards the river, taking a few pictures along the way…

First stop was a visit to the courtyard of the British Library, which is just to the west of St Pancras Station on the northern side of the Euston Road. Here, I stumbled across a display by some Morris Men, as part of an event called The Full English Discovery Day…

BritishLibrary0

BritishLibrary1

BritishLibrary2

Along with the Morris Men, other displays included as part of this Full English Discovery Day, were traditional English entertainments such as Maypole Dancing, but as I was intending to pay a visit to Trafalgar Square for the day’s event there, the London Evening Standard’s ‘Readathon’, I left the courtyard soon after the Morris Men finished their performance. However, before leaving, I took a couple of photos of Eduardo Paolozzi’s 1995 wonderful statue of ‘Newton, after Blake’…

Newton1

Newton2

Then, across the Euston Road, for a photo of St Pancras Station, before continuing the journey southwards..

One of the glories of English railway architecture, St Pancras Station, as seen from the far side of the Euston Road...

One of the glories of English railway architecture, St Pancras Station, as seen from the far side of the Euston Road…

Given the day’s heat, at some point in the afternoon I would inevitably be taking some liquid refreshment, but as tempting as it was, I gave ‘Mabels Tavern’ a miss, as I wanted to make sure I got to Trafalgar Square by four o’clock or soon after…

'Mabel's Tavern' a Shepherd Neame (a Kentish Brewer) pub on the corner of Mabledon Place and Flaxman Terrace...

‘Mabel’s Tavern’ a Shepherd Neame (a Kentish Brewer) pub on the corner of Mabledon Place and Flaxman Terrace…

I must confess here that until today, I had never even heard of the man celebrated in this statue in Cartwright Gardens, but he was evidently a man way ahead of his time in his political opinions :)…

John Cartwright (1740-1824), an English political radical...

John Cartwright (1740-1824), an English political radical…

On I rambled southwards, stopping off in Brunswick Square to buy some food and water in Waitrose, before continuing on past Russell Square, to Holborn Tube station, at the top of Kingsway. Between 1988 and 1996, Kingsway was my working address, and I have many happy memories from those years :)…

The door of St Anselm and St Caecilia's Roman Catholic Church in Kingsway, London, WC2

The door of St Anselm and St Caecilia’s Roman Catholic Church in Kingsway, London, WC2

When working in this area, I spent countless lunchtime hours visiting Covent Garden to the west, either for lunch or visiting the market stalls there, and the following building, is on the Covent Garden side of Kingsway, at 1, Kemble Street. It’s called Space House, and is a Richard Seifert building dating from 1962…

Space House, as seen from the west...

Space House, as seen from the west…

And in nearby Wild Street, I found this vehicle parked…;)…

Pink Limousine, Wild Street, London, WC2

Pink Limousine, Wild Street, London, WC2

And a few more WC2 places in the vicinity…

Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London, WC2

Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London, WC2

Some 'Boris Bikes', awaiting hirers...

Some ‘Boris Bikes’, awaiting hirers…

'War Horse', Parker Street, WC2...

‘War Horse’, Parker Street, WC2…

Ballet pumps, in a shop window of one of the many shops selling dance-wear in the Covent Garden area...

Ballet pumps, in a shop window of one of the many shops selling dance-wear in the Covent Garden area…

Monmouth Street, WC2, in the heart of London's Theatre-land...

Monmouth Street, WC2, in the heart of London’s Theatre-land…

I eventually wended my way down to Trafalgar Square, arriving well after four o’clock, and just managed to capture this shot of the author Kathy Lette as she was leaving the ‘Readathon’ stage…

Kathy Lette, saying her farewells after doing her bit for 'Readathon'..

Kathy Lette, saying her farewells after doing her bit for ‘Readathon’..

The following photos show the cast of ‘Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain’ (Benedict Martin and Lauryn Redding) doing their performance of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn on the ‘Readathon’ stage. The two are currently performing ‘Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain’ at the nearby Garrick Theatre, at the bottom of the Charing Cross Road…

Henry and Anne get introduced to one another...

Henry and Anne get introduced to one another…

Some kind of wooing going on...;)...

Some kind of wooing going on…;)…

...but all good things come to an end... :(...

…but all good things come to an end… :(…

Methinks it'd take more than a sparrowhawk to frighten this pigeon away from Trafalgar Square..;)...

Methinks it’d take more than a sparrowhawk to frighten this pigeon away from Trafalgar Square..;)…

Two double-deckers, one old, one new, in front of Charing Cross Station...

Two double-deckers, one old, one new, in front of Charing Cross Station…

Embankment Tube Station, at the southern end of Villiers Street...

Embankment Tube Station, at the southern end of Villiers Street…

The band performing in the 'With Love from Lambeth' festival in the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall, late on Saturday afternoon...

The band performing in the ‘With Love from Lambeth’ festival in the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall, late on Saturday afternoon…

Alas, I never discovered the band or this singer's name, but she did some good covers of stuff like 'Summertime (When the Living is Easy)' and Etta James' 'At Last'... :)

Alas, I never discovered the band or this singer’s name, but she did some good covers of stuff like ‘Summertime (When the Living is Easy)’ and Etta James’ ‘At Last’… 🙂

A model of the 1951 Festival of Britain site, near the front of the Royal Festival Hall...

A model of the 1951 Festival of Britain site, near the front of the Royal Festival Hall…

Overlooking the Thames at the Members' Bar at the Royal Festival Hall

Overlooking the Thames at the Members’ Bar at the Royal Festival Hall

Another view from the Members' Bar...

Another view from the Members’ Bar…

A bronze head on a wall of the Members' Bar...

A bronze head on a wall of the Members’ Bar…

Duly refreshed, I went outside to have a look around the South Bank towards the London Eye...

Duly refreshed, I went outside to have a look around the South Bank towards the London Eye…

In the foreground, a modern sculpture called the 'Jubilee Oracle', and in the distant yonder, The Houses of Parliament...

In the foreground, a modern sculpture called the ‘Jubilee Oracle’, and in the distant yonder, The Houses of Parliament…

Susana Silva, a Portuguese singer, and South Bank busker...

Susana Silva, a Portuguese singer, and South Bank busker…

The said Susana, in her South Bank context...

The said Susana, in her South Bank context…

The work of a portrait sketch artist on Hungerford Bridge...

The work of a portrait sketch artist on Hungerford Bridge…

View upstream from Hungerford Bridge...

View upstream from Hungerford Bridge…

And finally, Swan Lane Open Space in Whetstone, London N20, which I wandered through after catching a number 34 bus to Barnet Church, from Arnos Grove Tube Station on the Piccadilly Line...

And finally, Swan Lane Open Space in Whetstone, London N20, which I wandered through after catching a number 34 bus to Barnet Church, from Arnos Grove Tube Station on the Piccadilly Line…

Some Titchfield flora…and a day in the life…

dandelion
FloweringCherry
daisy
BedOfPetals
PinkPetals

All the above were taken in the past week in Titchfield in Hampshire, during lunchtime walks to get some fresh air…whereas all of the following were taken today in Portsmouth/Southsea and London. The first is of Guildhall Square in Portsmouth at midday, with the Guildhall being watched over by Queen Victoria…

Portsmouth Guildhall, looking resplendent in the welcome sunshine...

Portsmouth Guildhall, looking resplendent in the late spring sunshine…

The next is of a book I bought in the Adelphi second-hand bookshop in Albert Road in Southsea early this afternoon. It cost me two pounds fifty, and is a 1938 reprint of a book originally published in 1937. It is the narrative, with paintings and poetry, of a Chinese artist living in London in the 1930s, recording an expedition to the English Lake District, taken in part to escape the London fogs, and also to reconnect with landscapes reminiscent of his home in China…

The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland, by Chiang Yee.

The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland, by Chiang Yee.

From Albert Road, I wandered down to Canoe Lake on Southsea seafront, aware that a procession of naked cyclists would be making its way from the naturist beach at nearby Eastney, along Southsea seafront and beyond. It was one of a series of World Naked Bike Rides taking place at various venues this summer, and it seemed like an event worth recording for posterity here (That said, I’m being very discreet in tagging these photos, restricting the tags to one only, ‘naturism’ ;)). Anyway, here they are, and if nothing else, it was at least a lovely day for such an event…

So here they come, along the seafront road from Eastney...

So here they come, along the seafront road from Eastney…

Unsurprisingly maybe, there were a minority of women cyclists participating, but there were some brave enough to take part...:)

Unsurprisingly maybe, there were a minority of women cyclists participating, but there were some brave enough to take part…:)

Methinks the character in red here looks distinctly over-dressed ;)...

Methinks the character in red here looks distinctly over-dressed ;)…

At nearby Canoe Lake in Southsea, among the attractions is 'water walking', a bit of a misnomer, but that's what it's called...

At nearby Canoe Lake in Southsea, among the attractions is ‘water walking’, a bit of a misnomer, but that’s what it’s called…

And this is what it means...

And this is what it means…

Further attractions in Southsea this summer...

Further attractions in Southsea this summer…

German fans in Trafalgar Square,  prior to this evening's Champions League Final at Wembley...and a great match it was too :)...

German fans in Trafalgar Square, prior to this evening’s Champions League Final at Wembley…and a great match it was too :)…

A living statue, north of Trafalgar Square...

A living statue, north of Trafalgar Square…

Union Flags in Leicester Square...

Union Flags in Leicester Square…

Finally, close to home, a couple of pictures taken in Whetstone, London N20…

Swan Lane Open Space, early evening...

Swan Lane Open Space, early evening…

And another of Swan Lane Open Space...

And another of Swan Lane Open Space…

新年快乐!…Chinese New Year in London

Gerrard Street, London Chinatown's main shopping street, early afternoon today...

Gerrard Street, London Chinatown’s main shopping street, early afternoon today…

Flower baskets, lamps etc. above Waxy's Little Sister, on the corner of Wardour Street and Lisle Street...

Flower baskets, lamps etc. above Waxy’s Little Sister, on the corner of Wardour Street and Lisle Street…

Kung fu and qi gong demonstration, in Lisle Street, by Lau Gar Kuen from Essex, England…

Kung fu and qi gong demonstration, in Lisle Street, by Lau Gar Kuen from Essex, England…

Odeon cinema, on the eastern side of Leicester Square, just to the south of Chinatown...

Odeon cinema, on the eastern side of Leicester Square, just to the south of Chinatown…

White dragon, at the southern end of the Charing Cross Road...

White dragon, at the southern end of the Charing Cross Road…

Steps leading down into Trafalgar Square, where Chinese New Year events were taking place all afternoon..

Steps leading down into Trafalgar Square, where Chinese New Year events were taking place all afternoon..

And here's the stage where most of those events took place...and note the Hong Kong/Cantonese heritage of London's Chinatown, with 'kung hei fat choi' instead of the Mandarin 'gong xi fa cai'...

And here’s the stage where most of those events took place…and note the Hong Kong/Cantonese heritage of London’s Chinatown, with ‘kung hei fat choi’ instead of the Mandarin ‘gong xi fa cai’…

I didn't catch this young singer's name, but she told us she was on her first visit to London, and after singing her first song in Mandarin, she said she'd prepared a song in English, which I recognised as being 'Venus', a rock song from 1969, originally recorded by a Dutch group called Shocking Blue ;).

I didn’t catch this young singer’s name, but she told us she was on her first visit to London, and after singing her first song in Mandarin, she said she’d prepared a song in English, which I recognised as being ‘Venus’, a rock song from 1969, originally recorded by a Dutch group called Shocking Blue ;).

We were also treated to some elegant and colourful dancers :)...

We were also treated to some elegant and colourful dancers :)…

Back to Gerrard Street, and the traditional Lion Dance, bestowing good fortune on the Loon Tao restaurant...

Back to Gerrard Street, and the traditional Lion Dance, bestowing good fortune on the Loon Tao restaurant…

And here he is again, further along Gerrard Street, doing the same for the Golden Dragon restaurant...

And here he is again, further along Gerrard Street, doing the same for the Golden Dragon restaurant…

And if you were wondering, it's the Year of the Snake this year :)...

And if you were wondering, it’s the Year of the Snake this year :)…

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