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The white and the blue

It rained heavily today. The view down the Winchester train tracks was blowing mist from which the dim trains emerged precisely on time and carried their passengers away.

St John's Wood, London, was seen under an umbrella until, emerging from a door on Wellington Street, in my Wellies, I'm afraid to say, I found the rain had lifted, and I had time to walk through the old St John's Church grounds, green fields as recently as the 18th century.

Travelling back to Shawford by train, the sun appeared and shining white cumulus clouds, and my mind began to drift over London and all the white buildings and monuments I could see -- the Cenotaph, the monument to Victoria outside Buckingham Palace, the spire of St Martin-in-the-Fields (with its blue clock), Nelson's statue overlooking Trafalgar Square, and the great white facade of the National Gallery, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, a sensational white and gold at night, the Piazza and Central Market at the Garden, white, too, St Paul's Cathedral, Nash's Cumberland Terrace (white, yellow and blue), the Queen's House at Greenwich, the Royal Naval College, the Albert Bridge, the gleaming white moulding surrounding windows and brilliantly painted doors. . .


Cumberland Terrace

Well, you get the picture. I know the historical view - these buildings were designed to establish a sense of empire inspired by and superior to ancient Rome and Athens.

When I arrived back at Winchester station, the low sky teemed with rain. At Shawford, it rained and hailed and then the rain vanished, the sun shone beneficently, the sky became a pure cerulean blue lit by white clouds, and I wondered, is this the reason for those beautiful white buildings and monuments in London, to dazzle us in a gold and blue hour?

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