Make some noise! (For peace and tranquility)

Dalai Lama comes to town

Yesterday lunchtime in the horrible drizzle, I popped to the library to bring some books back. On the way there I heard a right old din reverberating around Covent Garden Piazza. Thinking it was some sort of demonstration (and praying it was nothing to do with the rugby) I trotted off towards the Strand to find out it’s origin.

The closer I got, I realised it was loud rhythmic drumming interspersed with chanting (in a call and response style) from a couple using megaphones. The crowd consisted of about 40 people including a couple of shaven-headed nuns in ceremonial robes holding brollies while others waved Tibetan flags.

Speaking to a hobby-bobby at the scene, I was told the crowd were there for Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, who was inside a building just off the Strand giving a talk for World Peace Day.

It was a nice hypnotic audio treat for a Monday lunchtime, shame it was tipping it down or I would have stayed around. P

Float, float on

Today I spent elevenses in a dentist’s chair at Guys Hospital Dental Department having a tooth yanked out. On the way back to work around midday full of Co-codomol, I walked via the Millennium Bridge. I was hoping to have a word with the artist Ben Wilson aka “The Chewing Gum Man” who I saw earlier on the way to Guy’s, creating artworks on old bits of chewing gum stuck to the walkway of the bridge. More on him here.

Flotilla_2That was all forgotten about when I saw these two older ladies in union jack hats perched on camping chairs looking towards Tower Bridge with about thirty other people obviously waiting for something.

Flotilla_3

Within a couple of minutes, there were the sound of rave type airhorn’s and a flotilla of boats was coming towards us.

Flotilla_1

The best one looked liked a hybrid of a posh Chinese restaurant with a rowing boat stuck to the front, with what looked liked a gang of well-dressed polo players rowing hell for leather. The boat was full of VIP’s who waved to the assembled crowd who cheered back enthusiastically waving mini-union jacks. Following that was a water tender that soaked the crowd with a couple of high jets which no-one complained about even though it was a cold day!

This event that I’d stumbled on by chance, marked the day Queen Elizabeth became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch (and the day I finally had that painful back tooth taken out!) P

I shall return

Here’s our first ever guest post, and it’s from our good friend Matt E. 

Lincolnc inn fields

It’s a blazing Sunday afternoon, and I’ve just bought an armful of books (Penguin Little Black Classics, 80p a pop) at the nearest open bookshop (Waterstones, along from Charing Cross Station.) Now all I need is somewhere to read them.

But where? The parks are packed and, anyway, I fancy a drink. I doubt the pubs are full, but who wants to sit in a boiling boozer on a day like this? Then, as I wander through St James’s Park, I suddenly think of another green space, and of a restaurant that nestles within.

Arriving at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, a minute’s walk from the hell of Holborn Tube, I wince at the crowds spread thickly over the grass. Surely, some of the overspill have stumbled across Fields Bar & Kitchen (Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ) – an unassuming pizzeria that overlooks the park’s tennis courts. (It’s so unassuming, in fact, that until very recently I’d always thought it was an oddly opulent parkies’ hut.)

Stepping inside, I instead find glorious near-emptiness. Giddy with relief, I lavishly order a bottle of ice-cold house white (£20) and head outside to the part-covered terrace. There, at one of the distressed metal tables, I happily sit for the next few hours, reading Michel de Montaigne’s collection of short essays, How We Weep and Laugh at The Same Thing, while watching people play tennis to a standard that also makes me want to Weep and Laugh.

I eventually get up to leave, thinking I really should try the food the next time. Because there will most definitely be a next time, having already assigned Fields privileged ‘bolthole’ status – the kind of place you can count on when London’s burning and you’re in urgent need of shaded sanctuary. M