The climate change protesters are holding demonstrations today in parts of London and some of the tube lines are affected. I have a busy day planned with Lakshmi. Luckily our travel is not disrupted and we reach Leicester Square with plenty of time to spare. In fact we are a bit too early and decide to have a walk around the Square.
On one corner of Trafalgar Square is St Martin-in-the-fields, a church, with a first mention in 1222 when it was surrounded by fields. The current church standing in the site was completed in 1726. Described as the ‘the church of the ever open door’, it is a place where people of different faiths regularly pray together, according to their website. The interior is quite simple compared to the grand external structure. There are no figurines, sculptures or stained glass windows. Notices posted around the church remind us that anyone needing help can contact the church charity and it provides support, shelter and food for the vulnerable and homeless. On some days there are free lunchtime concerts and in the evenings there are concerts by candlelight and even jazz nights.
Outside the Church, Nelson stands proudly on his column bathed in sunshine looking down at the hustle and bustle going on around him. The masses of pigeons which once occupied the square are now gone. A few still hover around trying to snatch whatever titbits they can get from the tourists, but feeding them is banned. We walk up the stairs to the entrance to the National Gallery. I point out the paintings as we move from room to room. Room 34 is where we are heading. Here, colouring pencils, pens and crayons are provided along with transparent paper mounted on glass boards. We pick up a few pens and settle down on a comfortable settee. Lakshmi starts drawing her masterpiece as I look around the room.
Constable’s paintings hang on the wall in front of me and they evoke memories of regret. We were given a beautifully framed copy as a wedding present. It had pride of place on the living room wall in my first house. There it hung sharing our trials and tribulations during my early days in London. By the time we moved to our second home, I decided to leave it behind as it didn’t go with the decor in my new house. Even though the house was sold to my brother in law, over the years he rented it out and somewhere along the way it got lost. I didn’t know it was a Constable print and the significance of it till years later. Now as I sit in front of the original work, the feeling of regret wears heavily on me. Lakshmi finishes her picture and we take it back. The lady at the desk shines her torch behind the glass to bring up the colours on the transparent medium. Lakshmi is very happy with her finished artwork.
A lunch stop and it is time to make our way to the Unicorn Theatre near London Bridge. A theatre holding shows for children of all ages for the past 70 years. We are watching a show called “The polar bears go,go,go!”, designed for children aged 2-5. Lakshmi has brought her own little teddy polar bear for company and holds on to it tightly as she watches the show. I had chosen seats at the front but she was too scared and wanted to sit at the back. There are plenty of spaces and the ushers allow us to sit where Lakshmi wants to sit. It is only a small theatre with good views wherever you sit. The polar bears obviously can’t talk and as they mime their way through the hour long show and tell us their story through actions and colourful props, the children sit and watch entranced. In between Lakshmi looks up at me and beams each time she sees something funny which is quite often.
I have also booked the ‘Bring a Teddy bear’ activity which follows on after the show. Lakshmi is not keen to join in but slowly lets me carry her and join the group. Towards the end, she also gets into the spirit and joins in. We have had a busy and tiring day. The Easter break is coming up and we have more shows booked for this weekend.
Regarding the climate change protests, the more I hear and learn about the climate changes, the more worried I am for the future of our children. Unless we do something about it soon, we are all going to be in deep trouble. I totally sympathise with the demonstrators and understand why they do what they do, but I am still glad that my travel was not affected today.