This afternoon I visited the National Gallery. Once upon a time it was somewhere I would visit at least two or three times a year, but I can't tell you the last time I went. Seeing some of my favourite paintings was a bit like seeing friends you haven't seen for a long time; faces you recognise with a smile. I don't remember it being as busy as it was today, and I don't know whether it was the time of day I visited, or whether I've changed. My firm belief, on the basis of today's visit and my trip to the British Museum on Tuesday, is that all the secondary schools on the Continent are empty just now.
The highlight of the day was seeing Susie play netball. It's not a sport I'd ever watched until this evening, and it was a memorable event. It was a bit like a sporting version of musical statues, with everybody running around frantically in short bursts, and then standing very still in a range of agreed poses, like mime artists expressing things like, 'I'm going to try to score', 'I'm going to try to get in your way', 'If you get in the way I'm going to leap out from the edge and I'm going to score', 'Cripes it's a cold night in Kennington'... but all very still and quiet, much more still and quiet than the National Gallery. And then something happens and they all start running around again.
Tomorrow I'm going to take a walk from Bishop's Stortford to Saffron Walden. It's all part of my planning for some sort of parish pilgrimage form Edmonton to Saffron Walden next year; it will be around forty miles altogether, so it may not be a hugely over-subscribed parish event. I'll be glad to be back in my boots.