While waiting for the train to London, I explore the "up" end of Platform I. My camera is at the ready. Without trespassing, I take some photographs like this one. It shows the entrance to the tunnel which passes under the centre of the town and beneath the disused cinema. As I walk away, a pleasant young railway employee approaches me. "Are you alright?" he asks tactfully. "Only I saw your camera!" I ignore the non-sequiter and refer to my interest in odd corners of buildings and crumbling engineering structures, in signs and symbols. I am not sure how convinced he is but apparently dismisses me as harmless.
Lunch with my son and daughter and the eldest of my grandsons. Daughter has to hurry off to a meeting, but as we leave the restaurant, the three of us, about to go our separate ways, ask the owner of the restaurant to photograph us. On returning home, I look at the photograph and realize that, while I think of myself as being of average height, I appear to have become a dwarf, in comparison with the two successive generations beside me in the picture. They tower above me, the younger now an inch or so taller than his father, who is himself well over 6 ft. Yes, there is a certain pride and wonder at such offspring, but also, for the first time, some sympathy for stature-challenged dignitaries like President Sarkozy, who must often worry about where they are standing when in a group photograph.
As the train enters London I am, as usual, fascinated, by the graffiti, which cover the walls beside the railway lines outside London Bridge station. I have a guilty admiration for the energy which they display, modified only by dismay at the general absence of wit or talent in their execution. I think, however, of the New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who graduated from graffiti to produce, sometimes enormous, graffiti-like paintings, which made him famous during the last years of his brief life. "Every single line means something," he is supposed to have said. Words, which could be challenged by those who have to remove acres of spray paint from often inaccessible and apparently interminable brick and plasterwork.
Then there's Banksy, whose amusing and well observed graffiti on the walls of urban building are now famous and valuable in the art market, but that's another story.