London Again

Harold Pinter Theatre

I’m back in London, have been for a week. Got a flat in Hounslow and lo and behold, there’s a bomb scare the day I arrive and they arrest one of the perps … in Hounslow. The whole delay to trains and tube due to the failed bomb attempt added four hours to my travel into Greater London from Liverpool, and a few people were hurt by the incompetent would-be terrorists. Londoners are heard to deride the “rubbish bomb”.

Chinook Helicopter over Trafalgar Square

A couple of days after the bomb scare, 19th September, I am in Central London, specifically Trafalgar Square to visit the National Gallery, when two military helicopters appear in the Thames Heli corridor. It is not unusual to see military helicopters in London, but a troop carrier Boeing CH-47 Chinook manoeuvring around Central mere days after a serious bomb scare denotes special forces on training, preparing to be inserted in any area of trouble. I am slightly bemused by the sight, but unfazed. It does not seem to have anything to do with me.

There are a lot of police on the streets and visible police vehicle movement. It is a crazy time in history.

Venus & Mars, Botticelli

I try not to think about all this, and head back into the National Gallery.

Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks is unbelievable. I’ve seen this countless times in the flesh and it never ceases to astound me. Leonardo was supernaturally gifted. The technique is light years ahead of even his greatest contemporaries.

Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks, detail

The National Gallery is awesome.