An early, misty-Friday-morning Lufthansa flight to London. The automatic dispensers not accepting cash, there's a long queue at Heathrow Central snaking towards the Ticket Desks for a Day Travelcard to ride the Piccadilly Line to.....South Kensington where, "Due to an earlier problem....." the Circle Line's not going anywhere, so it's the District to....Aldgate East, over the bridge and backtrack to Liverpool Street. The clock's running.
On a route ne'er used before, escalating to street level turns me out of the terminus in an alien place: where am I? Where's familiar Bishopsgate? With all the tearing down of the old and putting up of the new, London Wall might as well be in Beijing, but turning left, some 150 metres on, Sir Norman Foster's No.30 St Mary Axe, better known perhaps as The Gherkin, hoves into view and all's well as the City compass is restored, but what was earlier planned as a leisurely meander to make a Rubber Association meeting at noon, has been reduced to a sticky, drizzly gallop that gets me to Folgate Street with just five sweaty minutes to spare.
Meeting over, duty discharged, it's a sharp left for the committee into the 'Water Poet' next door for sandwiches, risotto and ale: all red walls, gilt and seen-better-days leather Chesterfields.
Sated, it's dodging the now settled-in and steady shower back to Liverpool Street for the short ride to Bank, Cheapside and Daunt's: not the most atmospheric of their London bookshop address but the signature selection's as good as ever, three hardbacks tempting, tempting, then winning easily. Feel very much at home in this part of the City having spent 25 years here learning how to.....ah, but that's another story for another day.
Done with The Law for the week, son Daniel cuts short my reverie and opts for the District Line to Richmond from where, two supermarket stops later, we're on the bus to St Margarets: Emily, grandson Edward, senior son Adam; family. Feels good. Rains all night, non-stop.
Tap's still leaking on Saturday morning but eases just enough for a 'perambulation' with Teddy along the neighbouring Thames towpath, over Richmond Lock footbridge and into Richmond proper for a take-away, echt-Bayerische Currywurst at Stein's: yes, in Richmond not Munich. On the river, but summer's now a distant memory and even Border Rasen's pleased to go home to dry her nose. Adam drops me off at Heathrow on his way back to Portsmouth and a bumpy seventy minutes flying sees me home. Wish I could do this more often.
Sunday's not much better here, weather-wise: an evening with Peter Barnes's 'The Ruling Class' at the English Theatre tolerated only until the break, burgers at the Chicago Meatpackers winning the toss to round off the weekend.
Footnote: In these days of carry-on baggage restrictions and heightened security, travelling photographically 'light' is not a quality issue anymore; the diminutive Sony RX100 and Nikon 1 V1 with 10mm and 18.5mm lenses losing themselves in the bottom of my briefcase, weight unnoticed, shoulders unstrained. Sony recorded Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street Station and Cheapside, the tiny Nikon took family, River Thames and Richmond and if anyone frets about shallow depth of field or bokeh, don't: almost anything is possible.