Late Life Crisis - November 2018

With Black Friday came a message from Glyndebourne offering 30% off. What a bargain I thought - 30% off tickets. On closer inspection it turned out that it was 30% off at the Glyndebourne shop. Sanity restored - surely we would not want all the riff-raff turning up in genteel Sussex....


Sticking to culture, I have long fantasised about the Tate boat. I conceived the thought of a craft welling up out of the mist, to transport the worthies between Britain and Modern or vice-versa. Champagne, smoked salmon and caviar would be served en route, and perhaps there would be artwork displayed in odd corners, although the swell might give a kinetic quality to the pieces on display unless they were firmly battened down. 

It turns out that the service is part of the scheduled Thames Clipper programme, so on a Monday afternoon I and a friend caught a mid-afternoon boat from Bankside (Modern) up to Millbank (Britain). Strangely the experience was no less magical than my fantasy ride. The boat used is smaller than the ones that do the tourist routes, though of course is not confined to the limits of the route I took - see below, thus creating an intimate atmosphere, enhanced on the day by there being no more than half a dozen passengers on the boat at any time during the journey. The seats are very comfortable, and where we were sitting you could overhear the radio chatter between the captain and other craft.

And there was the Thames, grey in a murky afternoon that paradoxically made the experience even better as buildings appeared from nowhere in the mist. There was an illicit sense of going beyond the main drag, upstream from Westminster Pier, and the mystery of what lay beyond Millbank. Yes, this was not the end of the line, and the boat was then heading up to a place called Putney. Some time I must return for that journey.


At Sunday lunch in a nice pub, I spotted a gingerbread house constructed just outside a set of French windows at the back of the restaurant. There was a door from the French windows, but it was locked. It turned out that the house could be booked for bijoux tea parties etc. 

Periodically younger children would go to the back of the restaurant and press their noses against the glass. Girls, when asked gently by a parent to return to their tables, would take one more wistful look and comply, whereas boys would resist, and complain about why the door would not open despite their wrenching of the handle. I could not work out why the latter gave me so much annoyance. Perhaps just the intolerance of age, but on reflection I realised the answer is that I was blessed with two wonderful daughters, and that the other gender is different altogether.

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