Monday, 6 July 2015

A Year in Pictures – 29 to 30 June and 1 to 5 July 2015 – Another Week Goes By

On Monday 29 June my brother and I went to The Royal College of Physicians for an evening of lectures about The Great Plague of 1665. It was the beginning of what became, for the most part, a week of exceptionally bright and hot weather. Lurking in the shade I caught this shot of the College, a wonderful Modernist building designed by Denys Lasdun (1914–2001) and now listed Grade I.

Tuesday 30 June saw my wife and I having an alfresco supper with friends by the canal at the foot of Horsenden Hill (in what used to be known as Middlesex). Another beautiful evening.

On Wednesday 1 July I sneaked up on one of the four sword stands at St Olave Hart Street, each of which was set up by the parish in the 18th century in honour of a different Lord Mayor of London. The stands are all topped by crowns and bear the Royal Arms of the time, along with the family arms of the dedicatee, the arms of his livery company and the arms of the City.

On Thursday 2 July I went to St Mary-at-Hill, the church closest to the starting point of The Great Fire of London in 1666. There was a short service of Evening Prayer followed by a talk on aspects of human rights by the former Tory Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, who traced the golden thread of rights law in England from Magna Carta until the present day and outlined some of the challenges of maintaining a robust framework of such law amid the pressures of the age of instant communication and soundbite politics. On the way to Bank Station afterwards, I spied three men making their way down the west side of the Walkie-Talkie, cleaning the windows in the rosy light. Two are clearly visible in the photograph, while the other is mainly hidden by the elegant ribs that extend outwards from both flanks of this perplexing building.

On Friday 3 July, on the way home from French class, I again made the short deviation from my route that brought me face-to-face with one of my favourite trees, the mighty oak that stands just inside Marble Hill Park. It was around the moment at which British citizens had been requested to observe a period of silence to honour those killed in the shooting of over 30 tourists in the Tunisian resort of Sousse. The last time I had contemplated this tree I was thinking of the sudden death of a much-loved and respected local pharmacist. Maybe trees, with their sometimes unfathomably long lives, are natural objects to seek out when we need a broader vision or a sense of stability or even eternity.

On Saturday 4 July, my wife and I attended our fourth wedding of the year, at St Stephen's Church East Twickenham, itself very close to Marble Hill Park. The church was built in the 1870s and above its chancel arch is this large Celtic cross cared in stone, another object I have contemplated over the years and reminiscent in shape and arrangement of a Hindu or Buddhist mandala, a circle typically divided into four quadrants and representing the Universe.

On Sunday 5 July we entertained two friends from church to lunch. They both brought beautiful bunches of flowers for my wife. Here is a detail of one the bouquets: stocks, whose perfume is of the luxurious variety. The weather was bright again today, but much cooler after the thunderstorms that had begun the weekend.

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