My sister Teresa (no, not the Saint) has invited me to a private view at the Menier Gallery in Southwalk.
We enter the gallery, and smart waiters offer me a large glass of wine and a plate of nibbles. I pick at the tasty selection, and feel sorry that I have already had dinner and there is no room for more; nevertheless out of pure greed I stuff the delicious morsels into my mouth, instantly regretting the increase in my girth that will ensue.
The wine is cool, dry and crisp and just how I like it.
The artworks on the walls are accomplished, sophisticated and sublime, displaying a simple beauty that the Japanese are so good at.
Teresa grabs my arm ‘We are in the wrong gallery’ she tells me.
‘What?’ I mumble. The food in my mouth restricting clear speaking.
‘We’re in the wrong gallery!’ She reiterates. ‘The one we’re invited to is downstairs… in another gallery. I gulp the remainder of my plate and swill it down with the cool crisp wine.
Downstairs a glass of Champagne is placed into my hand, and I wave aside the offer of crisps. I drift around looking at the paintings and sculptures. Everyone here seems to know everyone else and a lot of talking is going on.
I prefer to stand quietly by myself and gaze…
I wander around and discover an interesting sculpture by Laurence Perratzi.
I am taking my normal route home toward St Bartholomews and Cloth Fair, but suddenly I am confused and feel lost and disorientated (no, it’s not the Champagne!).
My route is blocked. I am sure that when I came by this way recently there were no building works.
There had been great solid buildings here! The alley I usually go down is no longer there!
There is a vast space where a massive demolition has taken place. The like of this has not been seen since the Blitz I feel sure.
What were the buildings that have gone? Why can’t I recall what was there before?
I am forced to divert and find another way. So much building work is going on in London today. There are 150 skyscrapers planned!
Can you believe that!?
Gone are the days when the clay substrate that London stands upon restricted the height of the buildings. At least, at this time of night the works are silent. The construction workers are asleep; the heavy drilling and thrum of construction to start again in the morning.
Susanne du Toit
Sarah Jane Moon
Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco