UK and beyond - Sept 18, 2022 - UK 01

Dear friends and family,

We are on the road again. Traveling these days can be a bit nail-biting, but that’s part of the package. Don and I have scheduled a long trip; that way I figured if we do get Covid, we won’t have to be sequestered during our entire trip.

We left from San Francisco International, Hung Liu’s gate, or the gate where her piece is installed. She produced this piece at Magnolia, before we had our more or less giant flatbed press. Hung was up on scaffolding, painting at Magnolia for weeks. Seeing this work again, I was reminded of when a Chinese artist friend of Hung’s (it might have been Yu Hong) visited Magnolia. Hung insisted that we paint a stroke or two on her large piece. We both felt intimidated, but both made some tentative strokes, which Hung probably later had to paint over. (This just in: Don thinks she left them intact).

Today, I felt like Hung was wishing us a safe and enjoyable trip. She was so loved and admired by so many and her presence so strong that in ages past, and in a different culture, she probably would have been elevated into a Boddhisatva. 

Click this and all photos to enlarge

The plane trip was a breeze. Our plane was delayed by an hour because of the late arrival of an earlier flight. We hung out in a lounge drinking some truly excellent wine and eating some pretty delish prawn curry, so we were fine with it. On the plane Don and I both slept. I ate some good food and left some bad. 


I was a little concerned about landing in Heathrow as I had heard some horror stories of people waiting for three hours this past summer to clear arrivals and customs. Heathrow has completely automated things since the summer (or perhaps we did not have a typical experience), so when we got to what used to be the agents who coldly interrogated you about why you wanted to enter their great country (much like American immigration agents), there was a place to scan your passport yourself, which then triggered an automated gate that swung open and that was it! It took about two minutes. Collecting our bags took longer, but nothing very out of the ordinary. 

We were wearing our masks in the airport, which was very unusual behavior. I would say only 3 percent or less of the people wore masks. Looking at the Covid reports, it seems that there were zero cases reported in London the day before we arrived. The mysterious ways of Covid. 

We took the Heathrow Express into Paddington, which is our usual when in London, but a very friendly British Airways stewardess advised that next time take the tube. It is cheaper and you will be dropped closer to your location. But that way we would have missed our very accommodating cab driver in his Black London cab. 

Our London digs are in Fitzrovia, near Bloomsbury and the British Museum. It’s a great location, still maintains a vestige of its one-time village origins if you use your imagination. Last night we went to a place Michael and Jill Wild strongly recommended, people with highly refined taste buds, and it was great. It’s BRAT which is “turbot" in a local London fisherman dialect. 

Almost everything at Brat seems to be cooked in their wood-fired oven. Those are girolles on top of the puffy bread, mushrooms foraged in Scotland.

The revenge of the velvet crab. He’s coming for us.

Roasted duck rice. A British version of paella. Very tasty.

Feminine Power at the British Museum. What a powerful Kiki Smith sculpture of Lilith. The Feminine Power depicted in this show was all pretty supernatural — goddesses, benign and not so. I didn’t see much of the more run-of-the-mill common females. We can be powerful also. Nevertheless, a good show and interesting.

Lilith crawling down the wall.

The Goddess Inanna, who later was worshipped as Ishtar in Mesopotamia.

Yawkyawk, an Aboriginal mermaid-like being who control the weather. In the back can be seen Aphrodite. The caption said this statue was considered lewd and lascivious when it was first unveiled in Ancient Greece. It over-excited some men. I had imagined the Ancient Greeks to be a little more worldly.

We’re having almost freakishly good weather. We’re enjoying it, but ...

Don stretching his leg muscles in preparation for a long walk ahead. Looks like he is propping himself up with a Bufano.

Much love,
Era and Don