Why I still love London: Art, street art and people watching.

Grayson Perry, The Most Popular Art, Exhibition Ever! Saturday Morning.

My day’s adventures began with a visit to see this show at the Serpentine Galleries before it closes on 10th September. I knew it would be popular so I arranged to meet my friend at 11am.  We could walk straight in but there are lengthy queues by the time we leave.


Tapestry Battle of Britain, inspired by painting of same name by artist Paul Nash. In glass case is the remain jar from a work entitled Matching Pair.


Matching Pair by Grayson Perry. One of 2 jars made to commemorate the 2016 EU referendum. This is the remain jar, 4% smaller than the leave jar.


Detail of remain jar from Matching Pair. And in gold letters on the map image it says Hackney!


Kenilworth AM1. Yes, this is a real bike with Grayson Perry’s teddy riding in the rear.

It may be being billed as the most popular but for me it was the best art exhibition ever because it combines my love of fabrics, ceramics, illustration, graphics and model making with moving political and social commentary.

Its on in London until 10th Sept before it transfers to the Arnolfini in Bristol from 27th Sept until 24th December 2017. I hope you can get to see it too.

Kensington Gardens and The Bird Whisperer.

After a stop for coffee and plenty of chat, we mooched around the park which I don’t know at all because I’m an East London girl. 😉  What caught our attention next was a heron, on the grass and away from the pond, starring fixedly at a man with a pigeon on his shoulder.  We paused to watch and my friend called him The Bird Whisperer.

Kensington gardens. He was using the chopsticks to feed the birds pieces of tinned fish.


The herons seem to be the main ones interested. The magpie is acting as if nothing is going on. And the pigeons are restless.


This might be a Royal Heron because after the fish was eaten, he flew back over the low railings and posed for photographs.


Either lonely or hoping for more fish, he flew back over the railing to hang out with the pigeons again.

The Princess Diana Memorial Gardens

I’ve had never, ever visited the Princess Diana Memorial Gardens before. And if you love garden design, they are worth a visit. You can only view the central pond through gaps in the hedge which surrounds it.  It was magical as all the white flowers were in bloom.



Flowers of remembrance for Princess Diana on the 20th Anniversary

My friend led the way and as we continued our walk around the side of a large, Georgian building, I recognised the the rear of the familiar gates of Kensington Palace.  So again we paused to spend time at this shrine of remembrance, so close the 20th anniversary of her death.





Neil Horan, The Dancing Priest 

The quiet and dignified atmosphere was broken by the sound of Irish folk music.  A man appeared with a homemade banner and I was reminded of Stanley Green who used to haunt Oxford Street, warning of the perils of eating meat, “Less passion, less meat.”  But I couldn’t quite see what this man’s banner said, so I followed him for a better view.



He circled through the crowd to attract our attention and then found a spot to set up his act.



Neil Horan, the Dancing Priest entertaining the crowds outside Kensington Palace.

We didn’t stay to find out if there was any more to his performance but it was an unexpected twist to our afternoon.

When I later googled the name on the banner, I didn’t expect to find photos and a wiki page dedicated to this man. And it says he performed the same dance/message outside the hospital when Prince William was born.

Neil Horan, the Britain’s Got Talent Irish Dancer. I perform at Weddings. My Mission in Life is to help prepare            the world for the Second Coming.” (taken from his wiki page.)

Soho,  Street Art and cake

After a late lunch with my friend, we went our separate ways.  I was in the still in the mood for walking and returned to Soho  for a couple of new street art murals.  My first stop was on Wardour Street for a portrait by the artist Dreph.  It is near two busy cake shops, so I paused to capture the cake lovers first.


In the background you can see the face of Dreph’s portrait, peeping out under the flowers.

Leyla Hussein by Dreph, part of his series of portraits of black women, You Are Enough. #youareenough.

Nearby on Berwick Street is a new collab by PichiArvo, two artists from Spain who have a show on soon.  The light was against me but I tried to capture it anyway.


Mural by PichiArvo. Berwick St, Soho, London (photographed 2nd Sept 2017)


Is he thinking, “yes, I am eating two ice creams!

By this point, after nearly 6 hours on my feet, I decided to head home. Exhausted but very satisfied.

At the moment, the world appears to be in a very dark place and cities like London are not places people want to live.  Yesterday, London surprised me by how fun it can still be here.  Little money is needed but time and attention to detail gave me great pleasure and uncovered a number of small stories.



10 thoughts on “Why I still love London: Art, street art and people watching.

  1. My God. You did more in a day then I do in a year. I’m exhausted just reading it! I love it when people have such enthusiasm about London.

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