Diary: 1-3 August

SATURDAY A good-story start to the day is a good habit to get into.

📌 The Barbican has opened its remarkable conservatory free, allowing visitors to book tickets online and using a strict one-way system. Every time I visit there’s a new discovery waiting. Today, one of the huge terrapins was even out on a rock, sunbathing.

Terrapin around 35cm head to tail…

📌 The self-made Thankyou card Mia sent us for her 17th birthday present reminded me of the sleeve for Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life album.


📌 Frank had a small gathering in the allotments to release the 10 butterflies he had nurtured as a school project. It was also another chance to smell our tomato plants.

Butterflies awaiting release…

📌 I knew that a neighbour who’d been gravely ill was well on the road to recovery when he wouldn’t stop talking and I started muttering to myself, “Oh please shut up, you boring windbag.”

📌 We watched all 3 hours of the BBC2 documentary about Rupert Murdoch. It was chilling in parts, but what hit me most was the resemblance in the methods used by newspaper snoops and hackers to those of the MI5 staff in TV’s Spooks.

SUNDAY In Quora, someone asks, “Has anyone made plans to leave the UK due to Brexit?” The top answer is a blunt YES: “This is no longer the country I grew up [in] and had a degree of affection and allegiance to. It has become an increasingly divisive and spiteful place, run by nasty spiteful career politicians.”

📌 On the radio, Sue Perkins spoke to two boybanders of yesteryear, one from Boyzone, the other from Westlife. They have gone into partnership as BoyzLife, which allowed Perkins to speculate on the ‘girl’ equivalents. The funniest was Destiny’s Kitten.

📌 From a Crystal Palace supporter…

📌 Did a couple of postings from our visit to Barbican Conservatory yesterday. One, a picture story, plus 3 short videos and a gallery.

📌 Although Dead To Me is quite suspenseful, it has some funny moments. Tonight’s involved a birthday cake for Jen’s dead husband.

MONDAY An early posting as we are off to Tate Britain to see the Aubrey Beardsley exhibition.

📌 A message arrived saying Headway East London, where I am a member, have made all their Covid-safe adjustments to the Kingsland Road centre and plan to reopen in September. They invited me to be a guinea pig/lab rat on trial day later this month, and I said Yes.

📌 On the way to the Tate on the bus, we passed through Trafalgar Square and got to see the new artwork on the Fourth Plinth. It is called The End. And anecdotally, again it was men who are not wearing face coverings.

📌 The Beardsley exhibition was disappointing, not so much because of the content but because the rooms were still overcrowded (despite timed ticketing), with no directional signage and minimum supervision.

We noticed later that outside the Beardsley exhibition, numbers in the rest of the gallery were comfortable and a clear one-way system in operation. If this item had been a separate posting, with picture gallery, video, etc, the headline might have been “Tesco trumps Tate in Covid comfort wars“.

Of the exhibition itself, the surprise was how short Beardsley’s life was (RIP@25). And the lasting influence of his work, right up to album sleeve design in the 1960s. One of my favourite ‘inspired’ works was a Picasso.

One more surprise was the ham-and-cheese sandwich in the Members Room costing £6.

2 thoughts on “Diary: 1-3 August

  1. I love the Barbican. It is a treasure trove. The library is wonderful, like municipal libraries used to be twenty or thirty years ago before they started trying to ape Waterstones. And it has the only theatre where the women don’t have to spend the entire interval queuing for the loo.


    1. Hi Isobel
      I do all my lockdown exercise walking there. It is a great place to explore, a kind of massive concrete park. The cinemas are also the best in London.

      Liked by 1 person

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