I’m not getting caught in a routine. This week, I changed up my routes. Or maybe I was forced to, but whatever. I walked thirty minutes to the furthest tube station I could reach and tapped in, purposefully missing rush hour fares by one minute and crossing my fingers that I would make it to Uni on time. Now that it’s Friday, I’m quite grateful I am a cheap skate because I forgot to check the tube forecast this morning and it just so happens I would have been screwed otherwise as the line was only open from this far station onwards.
I’ve done classes and jogged a bit this week. I also had the opportunity to see Billy Elliot, a comedic theatrical play at Victoria Palace Theatre. I wasn’t expecting a 12-year old Billy or all the dancing that it entailed but I was blown away. The set was constantly changing, something I wasn’t prepared for after Mojo’s two sets last week. And the sheer number of actors and actresses involved was shocking. I’m not accustomed to broadway and theater, but this is a nice addition to my days.
The 48-hour tube strike took place Tuesday night–Friday morning. This disruption is also scheduled to happen next week. Does everyone strike here? Is this the 14th strike in my month here? Yes. Yes it is. So with very limited tubes, very congested streets, and very moody Londoners, we walked the four miles to class. And then four miles to the theatre. And on Thursday, I just said no. I can be more productive at home than waiting for 6 buses for 3 hours and then wondering if I can make it home in the evening. Instead, I woke up and went for a run to Hyde Park. I’m ashamed that this was my first encounter with Hyde Park, living as close as we do. I saw the Peter Pan statue and Princess Diana memorial and it was all very nice. There were horses galloping near the Serpentine pond and the grass was very green and the trees very dead. The rain scared me off from seeing all of Kensington Park as well, but I was wearing too little to be caught in a storm. I think I had the biggest rush of emotions that morning—thinking how I’m twenty and walking in Hyde Park and when does life get better than this. I saw some swans which always remind me of Olive so naturally I had to spend some time there to let my heart weep for a minute and on my return run, it poured. I was rounding my last turn when I was handed a free coconut water from a lovely British man and things just don’t get better than this, you know? The next eight hours were spent sketching and transposing sketches into Illustrator, but that’s ok. I went to the pub for a pint afterwards and happened upon a few celebrities and a pedestrian/vehicle accident that sent a woman in the air. I do believe she is well. As well one can be in those circumstances I suppose.
I had a bit of time of explore Tate Britain this week, but I look forward to going back and seeing more David Hockney and admiring this flower installation by Anya Gallaccio. The ephemeral nature of this piece really excited me.
I also had time to explore Harrow-on-the-Hill this week. My tutor thought it would be beneficial to my project development so I set out, became excited at the views atop the hill and the architecture surrounding me, walked down the hill thinking I’d catch a bus in the next town, didn’t catch a bus because it wasn’t as simple as taking one bus, walked lost for a few miles in the dark, frozen in my tights until I made it back. There was a private gallery viewing that I planned on killing time with until tubes fares dropped for the evening, but I was rather frustrated with my cold adventure that I sat grumpily on the couch. Until I saw a student with a glass of wine. Going to the student bar downstairs crossed my mind, but it was quickly erased when I noticed more wine glasses inside the gallery. So I hopped up, popped in, and grabbed myself a glass. Or two or three or I don’t know how many, but it was exactly what I needed after the long day. I made my way home happily on the tube that evening, nearly experiencing death by escalator.
I just read a pretty upsetting article about Banksy’s Girl with the Balloon. I saw this piece a few weeks ago in east London. The artwork is covered by a wall (built specifically to conceal her from the public) and if you pull back a loose plank, you can make out her dress and head. Now to have the piece ripped off the wall and sold is ridiculous. Street art doesn’t belong in a gallery, it is meant to be ephemeral.
I just need to pack and make my way to Amsterdam this evening. Hope the cold is treating y’all well! Cheers.