Sunday December 7
An underground guitarist plays Jim Hendrix’s Hey Joe.
Our last day in London and on the way to Joelle’s favourite place, Kew Gardens. Joelle had lived nearby in Richmond, but can’t remember the name of the street. The barrier at the Kew Gardens tube station ignores our out of zone day passes, and refuses to open, but we manage an exit. Walking down West Park Road, I lose my footing. Ice! The path is treacherous. Who are the gods, summoned today, to obstruct our passage I wonder? Just left around the corner there’s the house. Joelle had lived at 110 Mortlake Road. Malevolent daemons stir. We don’t linger and return to the tube station, cross the railway bridge, have a coffee at Starbucks and find the Kew Gardens’ entrance. Frost covers the grass and the lake is iced over. We walk and walk. It’s so beautiful. I picture an Alice in Wonderland hedge. A late lunch amongst blazing rays of sunlight, in the Kew Glasshouse Café, and it’s time to return to Exhibition Road and Princes Mews. On the way the Victoria & Albert.
Alfred Stieglitz’s The Steerage, is in the Victoria and Albert’s photography collection, a gift from Georgia O’Keeffe. As a painter, O’Keeffe shared what she saw without fuss. Images of flowers, the Hudson River, New Mexico, Ghost Ranch. Always dressed in black and white, she looked like a photograph. With her dark hair tied back, Stieglitz found her irresistible. On the same wall as The Steerage is a beautiful print by Joel Meyerowitz. One of a series of 12 photographs; The French Portfolio. The young woman pictured so pensive and distant.
December 8 (Monday)
The driver texts Alistair. He is on his way. 7.30am. A car glides slowly through the dark over the cobblestones of Princes Mews and comes to a careful stop at our door. We confirm Terminal 3. We load our luggage.
Tuesday, December 9
What are you two doing back? Remi has put a 6 pack of Stella Artois in the fridge. On the kitchen table, is Alix’s Christmas CD and a note. Welcome Home. She will arrive back from work soon.