Greetings. It’s been a while and a busy while too. But it also has been very good.
For the past few months (4 in case you curious), I have been commuting from home (Yep, that is still North Shields) to London on a weekly basis. For most of that time I have regarded the Angel of the North statue on the outskirts of Gateshead as a sign that I’m home. What then followed was a frantically busy period before Monday dawned and a commute work cycle repeated. Busy working week with a bit of time after work in one of a several options before retiring to hotel room for a bit of telly and sleep. A bit of a bitch in terms of quality of life!
In the past month life have been changing and improving with slightly more social routine be it music, or a movie or a different place. An effort which would conceivably draw critique from any good friend “could try harder at life”
With work contract very recently extended by 4 months a different and better personal plan is in place. There is more to life than work-sleep-boring routines.
Last weekend was the first during which I stayed over in London. Stupid to have stayed away from there so long but now there are bookings for end July and August where I will stay alternate weekends.
For my first stay on a sunny Friday evening, I ventured south from my hotel a great distance of 10 minutes getting to Peckham Rye which is a treasure trove of English life at a gentle pace and much different to Peckham high street with its never ending blare of blues and yellows emergency vehicles. Awful noise. Peckham Rye started with an ice cream cone and a stroll around the streets of small shops bustling with activity and fresh produce competing to be sold. Artusi provided the meal and Victoria Inn the refreshment as sunlight enabled a joyful feeling to permeate the ether and lift any darkness.
Saturday morning had me eagerly travelling to the British Museum for “Sunken Cities” a memorable and wonderful exhibition of treasured buried in 2 cities off the delta of the Nile. The strong bonds of Greece and Egypt were obvious in terms of their deity worship and a bold statement of living together when we shortly vote of divisions between us and our neighbours. Trade binds in the money sense but people bond too across countries as they have done for millennium. The equivalent of gravestones bear testimony to people adopting aspects of both cultures in which the Gods of the Greeks had human form whilst those of the Egyptians had animal form.
British museums are charge free but special shows as this have a cost of approx. £15 which deters many. A positive aspect of this for space loving me was the relative calm compared to the rest of the museum.
A contrast was offered by the Modern Tate which used the cash register to dampen the audience numbers at certain parts of its displays. Its sinful to keep the Mona Hatoum away from the general public as its inspirational in its creativity, provoking at every step and entertaining.
Evening time had me walking around Covent Garden busy as could be before seeking calm and entertainment at the Royal opera House. Excellent Ballet performance with a threesome of ballet: Obsidian tear (a sorrowful watery emission from the eye or a rip- you to decide) with Wayne McGregor providing the choreography for 9 male dancers in a strange and beautiful performance prompting many questions and leaving the interpretation to the audience. Wonderful not to be simplified. The 2nd performance was “The Invitation” by Kenneth McMillan a retelling of a controversial ballet from the 1960s’ about the crossover relationships between a younger and older couple. The 3rd ballet was “Within the Golden Hour” by Christopher Wheeldon a mesmerising performance by 7 couple dancing either as a couple or 2 couples through 7 dances until the final stupendous scene. The 3 ballets in one night provided great variety entertainment and thoughts for the mind. The quality of the dancing superb and the setting divine. Return visit booked.
Sunday morning had me enjoying one of the many walking tours in rain, for 2 and a half hours through the quiet silent streets of the business district, its wonderful streets of old, rebuilt churches and the special peace of St Dunstons with its Blitz bombed walls untouched for over 7 decades and now a garden space of serenity in a money mad making stretch of trillions but emptied for a Sunday. Lunch in a Christopher Wren pub was a touching reminder that people are often remembered for one thing only when we often do many great things.
I don’t see myself moving lock stock and barrel to London in
2016, but I will spend more of my personal time there this year. In November I
will be looking for a new contract in London as the quality of engaging work is
there at a day rate that covers the expenses and hassle of commuting. The North
East offers average quality work at average £rates and lengthy gaps between
contracts that crucify any savings and cause unnecessary stress (2 mths last
year and 1 this year with a low paid
role in between). A creative blend of work life balance is an option as my work
does not mean I have to be in London for 5 weekdays but that depends on my
client / customers and by negotiation. My dream job would be 3days in London per
week with alternate weekends, a 4th workday each week here at “home”
during which days (all 4) I would do a
working week of say 37 -40 hours. Its good to have a plan and I must simplify how I tell it.
Will be back here more often now.