After visiting the Fashioned from Nature exhibition, I made my way to Westminster and walked up Whitehall, stopping at the Cenotaph which had been the scene just four days previously of the remembrance service, 100 years to the day after the ending of the First World War.
I was particularly moved by the text of this African wreath:
“Be quiet and calm, my countrymen, for what is taking place is exactly what you came to do. You are going to die….. but that is what you came to do…. Brothers, we are drilling the death drill. I, a Xhosa, say you are my brothers. Swazis, Pondos, Basutos, we die like brothers. We are the sons of Africa. Raise your war cries, brothers, for though they made us leave our assegais in the kraal, our voices are left with or bodies.” Reverend Isaac Wauchope Dyobha – Address to the doomed men of the SANLO, aboard the SS Mendi, sunk on its way to France 21 February 2017.
In fact she sunk in thick fog, struck by a Royal Mail ship.
Continuing up Whitehall, I was pleased to see that this gathering of Brexit supporters standing opposite the Cabinet Office, where (yet another) crucial Cabinet meeting was about to takes place, was nothing like as numerous as 700,000.
I was aiming for Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery
where I met Mary for lunch. Afterwards we went to the Lorenzo Lotto (c1480 – 1556) – no, I hadn’t heard of him – portraits exhibition there.
I had been pleased that the Fashioned from Nature exhibition had not restricted photography, (it was my failure to ensure there was a memory card in my camera that had) but was reprimanded after I had taken a few at this one, so I shall content myself with sharing just these pictures I took during an introductory video.
In the evening I went to a very interesting talk at the offices of The Guardian, where one of the newspaper’s editors interviewed William Davies, Reader in Political Economy at Goldsmith’s College, University of London. He had just published a book, Nervous States – how feeling took over the world.
His explanations around the rise of populism and fake news in politics were extremely interesting.
The next two days were spent at the O2 watching the tennis, so I was not looking for too much activity in the hours remaining on Saturday. Mary and I went for a gentle walk in Regent’s Park.
Then we joined four of her tennis club friends for a coffee in the club’s café in the Park.
My London visit was completed by watching, with Mary, the first of the ATP tennis semi-finals on television. Then it was time for me to make my way to Hammersmith for my long-distance bus home. Somehow I managed to stay awake all the way, catching up on downloaded radio programmes through headphones. That had been quite some four days!