Had a day out in London with my cousin.
We met at the Royal Academy and decided to start our day by sitting outside in the courtyard with a coffee. There are currently three giant bronze hare sculptures displayed as a memorial to their sculptor Barry Flanagan. A steel band was playing and then quite a crowd gathered before processing off to St James' Piccadilly for a service. They were led by the band, crucifer, acolytes and wardens with wands.
We then went to see an exhibition - Relics of old London: Photography and the spirit of the city. There was a fascinating collection of photographs from the 1870's and 1880's showing London of the time. Above them were modern day photographs of the same areas, allowing you to compare and contrast. In some the only difference was the modern photos were in colour and the buildings seemed cleaner, whilst in others the area was unrecognisable.
A stroll up Piccadilly led us to Fortnum and Masons where we enjoyed a mooch around and the aroma of the coffee. I decided against buying the very small £10 bar of chocolate. I'm not sure where the reality is in this photo - the sweets in the shop window or the strong reflections.
On leaving we continued up to St James' where we discovered a photographic exhibition entitled "A world for children - growing up without child labour" by Peter de Ruiter. Some of the images were incredibly powerful; they really made you stop and think about how the goods we buy are manufactured. There was a book which contained further images, so hopefully I'll have a chance to read this tomorrow.
After lunch we went to the National Portrait Gallery where we enjoyed looking round, revisiting some favourite pictures as well as discovering some for the first time. I'm always amazed by the skill of the artists.
In Trafalgar Square the Fourth Plinth had Nelson's ship in a bottle. The sculpture is 3.25m high, 5m long and weighs 4 tons. By then we were ready for a walk round St Martins and a cup of tea.
I returned home via the foreign exchange terminal where I collected US dollar & Israeli Shekels for my trip to the Holy Land on Wednesday.
I've since been out for a meal in Romford with friends celebrating Phil's recommendation for ordination training - a great way to round off a good day.