Summer daze. Blinding yellow drowns the morning. Crowds of tourists throng on the riverside, some straining to look down the Thames, others hustle towards the mother of parliaments - a strange sense of disappointment awaiting them. The river winds it’s own sweet way, the shipping performing a complex maritime quadrille.
We are released for a few days. There is the sense of freedom about my shoulders - even as I carry my own tourist bag, and shimmy through the oncoming hordes, anxiously glancing back to ensure that I haven’t got carried away and lost her in the traffic. We meet up with my Father and head down to the jetty.
Today we are set for a voyage down the Thames through memories and geography. Each one of us seeks something unique: the recapturing of the past, an understanding of history, a feeling for the building blocks of a country. Settled in on the top deck we meander down the river - past tourist spots and the climbing architecture of a land rediscovering its value to the chagrin of those who have lived there for years.
Bridges pass overhead, Victorian fingers that play cat's cradle supporting the life and industry of the city. Urban sprawls into suburban certainty and now the country begins to sprout out of the banks, greenery bursting and draping dappling reflections on the water - nymphs and spirits that cannot be contained by their corporeal form.
I am filled with Constable visions - shades of green that are vibrant and full of the moisture that fills the English countryside; vistas that stretch tantalisingly out of reach as we climb upstream, and skies that are populated with a school of playful clouds that frolic in the Sun’s rays.
Sketching moments as they happen, trying to capture a glimpse of such a glorious day in line, scribble and black and white. I find myself fighting time and motion as the boat carries on, regardless of my need to plant my feet and screw my eyes tight. Vital seconds fly onto the page in a bending perspective that follows the world that heads towards me.
For a glorious day we are part of an ancient journey, away from the day to day, able to indulge our imaginations, our memories and our whimsy. Actors and captains of industry look down from penthouses, poets tidy their grottos, old rock venues sing again, and ancient monarchs bestride barges with their fresh new wives, the stench of court intrigue following behind.
I try to capture the now, but all the time I am distracted by the echoes of the past.