Tuesday, January 30

Dog Days

Who can resist this dog?

Madeleine returns to Manchester today for the final term and her dissertation which focuses on mental anxiety in UK prisons (our gal is a psychology major). It has been a difficult time with Aiden's death.

Sonnet is in the crunch for Naomi, her next exhibition, opening in June. The book, published by the V&A press with her name on it, finalised at the type-setters last week with all hands on deck for a final review including Eitan (who was sly enough to charge £15/ hour but could have had more). 

For me, it is swim, swim, swim. Up at 6am and sometimes 2x a day.

Monday, January 29

John and 180 Studios

John and me, Trafalgar Square
John joins us Friday night and we head into central on Saturday to see the "UVA : Synchronicity" exhibition at 180 Studios at 180 Strand, which are built into the defunct Anderson Consulting car garage in a brutalist and deserted cement building not far from the Courtauld Art Institute. I interviewed at Anderson in '97 which is another life ago. The exhibition is a disorienting, immersive and multi-sensory experience (as the program states) and the kind of thing one can only find in London, I think. My favourite ? "Chaos" presents a sentient-seeming light at the end of a rotating multi-beam, circling in and out, without pattern - fascinating and menacing.

John is a stylish kid in a 1950s way - it's a sharp look that he carries exceedingly well. He is a culture vulture with a mind for detail and we discuss film, theatre, art and modern writers he finds interesting. It is super insightful to dial into a 20 years old's mind. Biden? for instance (John has British and American passports). John is not a big fan as Biden promised to serve one term to set the ship right and not run for a second term. This, he feels, betrays the commitment made to his generation.

United Visual Arts, 180 Studios

Wednesday, January 24

Dave's family

Berkeley reunited
Dave is in town for daughter Bella's graduation ceremony from London University with a Masters degree in theatre, only the ceremony is cancelled last minute, no explanation. Who knows - following the teacher's strike across UK universities Eitan's final marks were delayed months after his graduation (top honours, with distinction).

Joining in are Dave's partner Laura and son Dexter, who has photographic memory and interested in video games and the San Francisco 49ers following after Dad's obsession. Bella has a two-year automatic post uni visa and is looking for work in the West End, supporting herself with a non-theatre job in the meantime.

Dave, for his part, is teaching jazz at privileged school in the East Bay valley where not one kid has heard of Duke Ellington and the moms ensuring their children receive a bit of cultural diversity for the college application - God help the educator who grants anything less than an 'A.'    

Sunday, January 21

Waterloo Bridge

I am most familiar with Waterloo Bridge, pictured, as I frequently walk across the Charing Cross pedestrian bridgeway from Waterloo Station to go to "town" (or "central", as the kids now say). Evenings are best as there is a single strip of lights that traverse the bridge adding colour and connecting North and South London.

Man, how the skyline has changed since 1997 and it continues to do so: at night, red warning lights dot the cityscape as new buildings go up and up, the St Paul's rule be damned (until maybe 2008 no building in central London could obstruct the view, or be taller than, St Paul's dome).

Thursday, January 18

Rathfinny Estate

Sonnet and I spend the weekend at the Rathfinny Wine Estate in the South Downs of Sussex which offers some of the world's very best sparkling white wines due, in part, to a warming climate.  The grounds are lovely and isolated, surrounded by the vineyards, of course, which spread across a number of valleys not far from the seaside.

Action shot

Our weekend comes to an abrupt shocking end upon learning the terrible news that Madeleine's friend Aiden has passed in his sleep likely from an epileptic seizure. We are heartbroken.

Richmond Hill

Eitan and I , and a roomful of old age pensioners, have coffee at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park, protected by the Crown Estate and once home to Bertrand Russell. The southwest views of the Thames Valley are lovely on any day and especially when clear and cold, like today. 

While difficult to see the grade, the below photo presents a steep hill from river level to the highest point in the park where Eitan once did Sunday hill-runs when in training ("brutal", he now says). 

Thames valley to Windsor, the Chilterns and hills in the Borough of Runnymede
King Henry VII's Mound offering a protected view of St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London and 10 miles away

Tuesday, January 2

Rusty On

Rusty has maintained his composure in the advancing years now at 13+. A Welsh springer spaniel has a 13-15 year lifespan while our dog is as poorly trained and energetic as ever, especially when guests stop by. Still, he is irresistible to young and old alike, who stop by to scratch him behind his ears or ogle his fine coat when at the coffee bar or on a walk. The goofy big nose completes the picture. He laps up the attention while giving cheer to those who seek it.

2024 Upon Us

 

Pre-party
We head out a touch earlier than the kids for New Year's Eve and happily make it home in time to celebrate midnight from bed. Eitan and Madeleine both see the sunrise. 
And, like that, we are in 2024. Good to be alive.
This is what Jan 2 feels like