Went to St Pat Day event at Trafalgar Sq. with 100,000 of our closest friends today. We listened to a harp concert, and the Commitments on loan from the musical ongoing here. It was a bright and sunny day. A friend I met in Spain but from here met us there and we walked past Big Ben (leaning 3 degrees), Parliament, and across the river. Lots of activity on this beautiful day- which started out badly when the parking lot machine wasn’t working and the call in number wasn’t either- but ended well as we got no parking ticket either.
Good moaning ladies and germs! An interesting day in London yesterday. We saw two plays. The first is called ’12 Angry Men.’ This was written in the 1950’s and is about a trial of a 16 year old black kid accused of killing his father. 11 of the 12 were in favor of immediate conviction, saying it was obvious. The 12th said he was not sure. The play is about the techniques and challenges of consensus building. One guy, one of two bullies in the room, you later find out is a racist. The other is angry at his son and transferring that anger to the kid. Very well done. Robert Vaughn was in it- you may recall him from Man From Uncle in the 1960’s. In 2007, 12 Angry Men was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. from the wiki.
The second, Woman in Black, is a very old play (we got 1/2 price tickets to this one). It is just for fun, this one. It is about ghosts and they do a good job of making your hair stand on end.
In between we had dinner and one of the many crowded and noisy places in the theater district. We could not even get into a pub- by 6pm they are jam packed with pint drinkers. Without paying a fortune we ended up in an American place. It cost us $50+ for a chicken breast, a burger both with coleslaw and fries preceded by calamari and a bowl of soup. I had a soft drink- gotta stay awake ya know- and Peg had a vodka and tonic for $11. Ouch! But it was a fun day nonetheless!
This is the link to the wiki about ’12’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_Angry_Men_(1957_film)
March 12, 2013
We’re somewhere near Oxford in an old farmhouse, long since converted to residential and quite nicely at that. Some friends we made in Paris, now 8 years ago, are now in Asia somewhere, wandering about. They asked if we like to sit in this old house while they are gone. They have a cat who is, in human terms, at least 962 years old, weighs no more than a mouse, and meows in a most loud and annoying way no matter how often you feed her. On the other hand it is a beautiful place in a lovely area where the Thames is 100 yards wide or even less not far from here. We have use of their car, which greatly facilitates matters. It is a few miles to the nearest Underground station and from there 45 minutes or so to the center of London. We have already been.
We went this past Sunday to the Courtauld Museum http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/index.shtml.
This is a small museum located in Somerset House, a fabulous building. The museum also is an art school founded by Samuel Courtauld. He and Count Antoine Seilern bought much of the art. I went there mostly to see the fine collection of 19th century French painting. There are some fine examples of Gaughan, Renoir (and a lousy one or two), the fabulous A Bar at the Folies-Bergère by Manet,
and a new acquisition, the lovely Portrait of a Peasant Woman by van Gogh.
There’s also this fine Degas, Two Dancers on a Stage:
After lunch in the Eastend, where the English was considerably harder to understand at least where we ate, we went to the National Gallery for the 4 p.m. lecture. We saw 5 paintings in an hour that covered the development of the portrait from the confines of the religious in the 15th century (they knew about perspective but did not care much about it) until the 18th century when it because a significant source of income for some painters.