Blogging in the Tavistock Square Park
Could life become more perfect? To be honest, I don’t know. At the moment I’m sitting on a park bench in Tavistock Square Garden near the student accommodation and taking advantage of the free wi-fi in the park. It’s 8.30 PM, and although this week began in a slow motion, it’s going to be a wonderful week ahead, I’m pretty sure about that.
The weather now is so mild and gentle that I would just like to stay here all night long: there’s no wind, no rain, no hurry, just hundreds of different shades of green everywhere. The statue of Mahatma Gandhi stands next to me, and, as usual, I’m becoming more focused and productive when the night falls.
This morning, when entering school, we watched new students arrive looking just as confused as we must have looked a week ago. Now, instead, we knew the drill, got to the so-called Square (cafė) at St. Giles and tried to wake ourselves up with a hot cup of coffee. Everybody seemed a little bit tired but then the bell rang and we got to our routines again after a nice and warm weekend.
In the afternoon we got introduced to the language and phrases used in interviews in English. George, our teacher in language of journalism, is a well-experienced gentleman with good sense of humour. The textbook and the printed material he gave to us last week will be useful in many ways for some of us in the future. You never know when you might have to do an interview in English and use formal expressions instead of informal ones.
After classes we were still wondering what to do on our spare time since we had not planned anything special for tonight. After a moment of thought we decided to jump into the bus 91 to Trafalgar Square with Sonja, a fellow student of mine. I had just noticed that there would be paintings by Lucien Freud on display at the National Portrait Gallery until the end of May so we decided to take a quick look at them before the museum closed. We found out that at the moment there were only two paintings by Freud on display. It turned out, however, that there was something even more interesting to see, namely relatively recent portraits of both contemporary British artists and the royal family.
The portraits of both Princess Diana and Prince of Wales had been placed side by side opposite the portrait of the Queen; in another room hang the recent and much debated portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge. I quite liked the artist’s way of presenting her, although we wondered why on earth paint her older than she is now since there are obviously going to be more portraits of her painted in the future; the artist could have captured her youth now when she is still young.
In other rooms we admired portraits of for example actors Stephen Fry, Dame Judy Dench as well as Dame Maggie Smith, and many more. The National Portrait Gallery is a must for me, as I personally find nothing as intriguing as portraits of people, whether in written or painted form. People, and the way they present themselves (autobiographies) or by the way someone else presents them (biographies), never cease to interest me.
Before returning to the school for prepaid dinner (only to find out that all food had been served and eaten before we arrived!) we took a brief look at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the restaurant in its crypt. The place was packed, and we would have stayed there for a meal if we didn’t have the prepaid meal waiting for us at school (which then proved not to be the case). The restaurant had been awarded a prize for its atmosphere and quality food supplied by local producers.
Instead, we ended up having the worst meal by now at a shabby restaurant in Bloomsbury. My colleague had the worst pasta ever, and that was not all. The waitress didn’t even bother to listen to my colleague when she tried to talk to the her. She just walked away with our plates in her hand while my friend was still talking to her! Until now we have had only good, delicious meals both at the school’s cafeteria and in restaurants elsewhere in London. The worst thing about this restaurant was not even the food but the totally indifferent attitude towards both the food and the customers paying. Why bother run a restaurant if you don’t care about anything?
To end with something positive I would like to refer to the beginning of this post. Is there anything better than when on your way home from work you can have a cup of coffee in the park where you are allowed to sit in peace and read or write without being disturbed by anyone? There may be some things nicer, but this night I was reminded of something my friend said to me today when we talked about finding moments of importance and joy in everyday life. It is true that basically most of our time is spent on routines and there never seems to be enough time to do the things you enjoy most. Instead of just postponing a date, a swim, a movie night, or whatever you like, but don’t seem to find time for, do it today! Take an ex temporė bus ride to a new neighbourhood, invite a friend for a coffee or just walk home from another bus stop than you usually do.
I plan to do it this summer and not just get everything for granted. That’s just what I like most about travelling: although it is a bit of a clichė, it is so true: after a trip to a foreign country or having done something out of your comfort zone your daily tasks and responsibilities seem easier to accept; you might even enjoy returning to your routines at the end.
Let’s all do those things this summer that we most enjoy!