Sunday, January 31, 2016

Français, and a Crowded Gallery

I was out and about all day yesterday. I left home about 8:30 a.m. for French class and didn't get back until around 7:30 p.m. with Dave.

French has been going better lately, heureusement. After a frustrating period when I felt like I was spinning my wheels, I'm starting to see more improvement. I'm sure I still wouldn't be able to talk about anything more complex than ordering coffee with the average French person, though.

I got a laugh from the class when I tried to come up with a word for medicine and I used fanid, which is what a pill is called in Morocco. I guess fanid must be Arabic and not French, because no one knew what the heck I was talking about.

Anyway, class lasted until 1 p.m., and then I grabbed a soup and sandwich from Pret before going on a photo walk through Marylebone, Bloomsbury and Soho. My goal was The Photographer's Gallery, which is having a retrospective of the work of Saul Leiter, a mid-century street and fashion photographer in New York. I'd heard it was a good show and indeed some of Leiter's pictures were interesting, especially his atmospheric color shots. The gallery, however, was incredibly crowded, which made my enjoyment of the show more difficult. I got out of there as quickly as I could and went walking for a couple of hours to take my own photos.

Afterwards I caught the tube down to Brixton to meet up with Dave and attend a birthday gathering for one of our friends from work. I met Dave by the David Bowie mural, where memorial gatherings are still going strong. Flowers are mounded up now even more than when I photographed it a couple of weeks ago.

The birthday was fun, but we gathered in a packed little pub where we couldn't even sit down. Dave and I beat a hasty retreat after a couple of beers. As we get older, I find, we are less and less tolerant of crowds.

We were happy to get back to Olga and the cozy comfort of our flat. Have I mentioned that we've started watching the Amazon series "Transparent"? It's terrific. We're binge-watching again -- nine episodes so far!

(Photo: Soho, yesterday.)


  1. "Sweaty Betty" is a good name for a shop that specialises in women's anti-perspirants or perhaps it serves the needs of mature ladies passing through the menopause? Is it a brothel presided over by a vigorous "madame" called Elizabeth? Or maybe it is an outlet for personal care products sanctioned by Queen Elizabeth II.

  2. LOVE that shot. Glad that French is coming along, dear Steve.

  3. I'm glad the French is starting to go well. It is a difficult language to learn. Probably as difficult as English is for some people.

  4. Our daughter, who went through the French Immersion program at school, used to use this trick (as did many of her classmates): if you don't know the French word, use the English word with a French accent. Surprising how many words are shared by the two languages! (medicine is not one of them, although it's close) I'm glad it's coming along. I would think there'd be a sort of tipping point, where all the bits and pieces you have learned start to fall into place. And then it gets easier to insert new information into what you already know.

    Interesting photo - the window boxes have what looks like miniature shrubs in them! Do you know what they actually are? (the tallish evergreens)

  5. Sweaty Betty. I'll leave that to YP, for fear of offending any monarchists who read your blog - and the comments.

    And the photo. Did you stage manage those people - sitting pausing and walking?

    Ms Soup