Monday, 29 October 2012


Behind the Palace the sky is the colour of an RAF uniform, air force blue, no doubt about it. I cycle round the huge monument at the front.  Queen Victoria is flanked by gods and goddesses and symbols of the British Empire as was. 

Already at nearly eight-thirty in the morning tourists, Japanese, are in hot pursuit of the first day’s photographs.

I halt my journey to Victoria and circle back to the front of this coliseum and park up to make a drawing.

Lines on paper and a string of traffic around this Circus with black cabs bumper to bumper. Then the lights change and like beetles waiting for someone to lift a stone, under which they nestle, off they go down The Mall.  My output is hastily annotated by notes so I remember greys, the deep bronze to black on statues and all the gold leaf that now and then catches some hope of sun.

I too scuttle off to my meeting.

Monday, 22 October 2012


A bright Sunday in this small village, a place loved by Margery Allingham. 

There are few people about down at the hard small boats lay around like discarded shoes.
One is being prepared by her helm; outboard being checked whilst two others stand by watching and chatting. Sun glistens on the mud and the tide seems to slow on a Sunday.

We come here whenever we can, never staying long my dad and I. This is the edge of Essex the edge of the known world. Often time will go up onto the sea wall the defence against the sea’s nature, to protect the farmland here abouts.

In what might past for a boat yard one man dozes in a old chair, sun full on his face towering above him a huge wooden keel. From this part of England’s coast the sailors were recruited to crew the huge J class yachts for the rich men of Cowes. Once upon a time a small railway took oysters from here to London everyday.

Today barely a breeze moves as we return to the car.

Monday, 15 October 2012


Green Street, Mayfair.  A romantic road, I always think it is a street of spies, right out of Buchan with John Hannay or Le Carre’s  George Smiley, walking along here on the way to meet the opposition.

Green Street, just of Park Lane, parallel to Oxford Street and just down a bit. A street of wealth and plenty. A chauffeur stands sentry against his long black car and looks at his mobile phone. More espionage?

Green Street, with its red brick apartments each portico with shiny black railings. Each portal with its polished brass plate bearing improbable company names The HLR Helicopter Company, Export Recruitment Limited; implausible businesses the business of spies?

I arrive at Number One Green Street for my meeting. I promise myself to make a drawing of the warm red brick and tile doorway with its polished plaque. 

I am here to see my friends at Hedron, no collusion only collaboration.   

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


 The following Monday evening, the familiar route to the hotel,
Again smiling sweetly for a sandwich and a beer before bedtime.

Vilnius and I am again aware of this extreme youth and boutiques on the main street,
Gediminas Avenue.

A small time before leaving for the airport and home:
A visit to the Russian Orthodox Church - The Church of Blessed Virgin Mary
Up on the hill and by the river.

Hearing the closing words and chants of the afternoon service as I draw.

I am the last to leave this lovely place
A smiling lady locks the great God door behind me.

I had soaked the label off the bottle of beer and put it in my book the night before
Now pasted on the same spread as my drawing of the church,
Of itself the label looks apostolic, its colours with gold leaf surround match the interior.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Arriving late into the airport and scooped up by taxi
Through dark streets with yellow sodium half-light
John Le Carré country.

Next day to work.

This city is exciting mix of classic baroque, turn of the century Empire and Soviet concrete.

Everyone looks so young and full of purpose

Three excellent days
A restaurant in the old part of the city, Zemaiciai,
We enjoy the feast
“Only Lithuanian, truly plenty. Rich table. Pieces of pig leg, lightly smoked pig's ears, homemade sausages, baked flank”

Local beer most pleasing

Footnote: Le Carre?  See here