An Awakened Dream Like No Other!

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On the final full day of this trip to London, it was also the 29th anniversary of Merlin’s passing.  I had planned on visiting Spencer House, the Monday evening prior; however, the event which was a ticketed lecture had been cancelled –  this was my only chance at getting to Spencer House.  

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Climbing from the Underground at Green Park, the park was relatively empty and there was a crisp bite to the early morning air as I walked along the periphery of the park’s western edge.  I opted to take that route and be close to the park’s trees than use the suggested route – St. James Street and St. James Place.  The only persons in the park were intermittent joggers, looking fit; strange in November it was to see persons running in shorts.  

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Walking along, I passed a narrow break in the shrubbery; the narrow path that ran beneath on the houses stated that it was a private road and to keep out.  A few more steps revealed the signage; yes, indeed, this was the place that I was looking for.  Turning back, I made for the private narrow pathway and awaited as a tanned, moneyed man approached with a wonderful, happy dog before him.  The fat little thing tried its best to act on his vibes and grumbled; staying my ground, I waited for him to get closer, said hello and asked if this was the way to Spencer House.  

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“Is this the way to Spencer House?” 

“It is a private path…” he replied from behind thicker, darker and more-expensive-than-mine sunglasses, to which I brushed past his American accent by elegantly rebutting, “Thanks, I’ll find my way…”  

Entrance to Spencer House: looking west to Green Park & East.  

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On entering Spencer House, I noticed that the splayed and slightly bloated feeling that began on approaching the stately home continued.  Inside were two men; both were rather pleasant.  We began speaking; for the next half an hour, we warmly visited.  Seemingly, there was a group tour booked and they thought that I had simply arrived especially early.  

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As members for the guided tour arrived, I slipped into the ante room and enjoyed the still-life.  Remarkably, there was a real ease for being in his place, which seemed more than passingly familiar.  Finally, when enough of us were arrived for the tour, a silver-haired lady with clear, focussed eyes entered the foyer, walked up to me and smiling, we warmly greeted.  A group of no more than twenty-five persons, the informal gathering was cosy and engaging.  

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As the tour began in earnest, it dawned on me that this house was remarkably familiar.  There were no doubts in my mind that I had never previously visited it; however, even the tour guide approached me and asked when I had last been to the house.  She was convinced that I had been there before and scoffed at my response that I had never before visited the stately home.  She had done so because I seemed with uncanny accuracy to know which door to next use to progress on the tour.  That aside, the energy between us flowed with the greatest ease.  

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As she spoke, the guide mentioned that Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch, who lived in the same street as Spencer House had actually had their wedding reception in the Georgian masterpiece.  As she spoke of the ladder, I suddenly experienced a vision and it was of seeing the room as it looked during Georgian times; however, as in dreams everything was back-to-front from the current life experience.  Indeed, I had definitely been in this room in the past; moreover, I had a rather memorable dream, which was set in this house.  Then as I intently looked to one corner of the room, the rather knowledgeable tour guide announced that in that very corner, Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson loved sitting in that spot as he was a frequent and favoured guest to the house as the 2nd Earl Spencer had been First Lord of the Admiralty.  

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In this marvellous salon is a painting of the Death of General Wolfe… it is even more grand and emotive than the painting of General Wolfe’s death on the Plains of Abraham at the Royal Ontario Museum.  

During that time, as a countertenor with Merlin (then female) my accompanist on harpsichord that I would have encountered Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson.  I have dreamt of this man many times and some were set in the very house where, though it had not been planned, on the 29th anniversary of Merlin’s passing, I was taking a tour.  

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Just before we left the library, the tour guide then announced as she drew our attention outside the window from the library, there on the grounds of Green Park were cattle and other livestock kept.  Indeed, in one such past-life dream, which was set at Spencer House, there was the intense smell of livestock.  For this reason, I had assumed on awaking that this stately home on the edge of vast acreage was situated in the English countryside rather than in London.  

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Definitely, this room – the great room – was familiar; however, somehow, it did not seem as large as it ought to have been.  

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The view from the great room out to the beauty of Green Park.  Suddenly, it dawned on me as I looked out the window that is why on Armistice Day after I left the splendid exhibition: Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs at Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and cut through Green Park en route to Green Park Station, I felt so joyous. 

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That is why too, for moving past Spencer House earlier on November 11, 2018 and in essence, becoming harmonised with the locale of a past life that I would have such lucid flying dream activity on returning to the hotel that late afternoon and napping.  

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Without doubt one specific dream was centred in this room and there, a play was being staged in the past life dream.  In between acts, one retired to this room from the great room and visited whilst the performers took almost forever at costume changes.  

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This was the setting of great music and laughter; indeed, I may well have performed for the Georgian glitterati on this balcony/stage-like staircase.  

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Lady Spencer’s room.  lovely.  

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The Music Room where 2.5 centuries earlier, Merlin and I were in creative full bloom.  I had a really powerful response when in this room.  I was left teary eyed and on looking in the mirror, I actually saw the outline of my aura; it was silvery as it picked up the stunning sunlight streaming through the windows on either side.  Somewhere in spirit, Merlin was with me and there was further validation that this place, this day… indeed, nothing is coincidental.  

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This room was pure sensory overload.  I felt gay and as though on the cusp of flying.  This visit was more adventure than even I could have imagined.  When the tour was concluded, I warmly parted with the staff and assured them that I would be back.  Then out into all this balmy, glorious sunshine, I headed into St. James Street and made my way to Piccadilly Street. 

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Feeling way too glorious, I decided against using the Underground and instead, headed east along Piccadilly and slipped into the Burlington Arcade’s splendour, browsed then went coffee table book-shopping at the Royal Academy.  Though I hardly had room to pack the six books.  Well in excess of 300£, the handle-barred and zoot suit-wearing poseur – eccentricity is never affected, asked way too condescendingly what did I mean by VAT “dear” and why would I get money back.  You blasted, silly little twit; as I do not gladly suffer fools, I shot back, “Look do us both a favour and go restock these… and try finding a brain while you are at it…” the latter stated whilst walking away from the counter; you’ll get no commission from me.  Who are these people, forever trying so damn hard? 

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With that, it was across the street into Fortnum & Mason to buy more teas and rose petal marmalade and jelly.  From there, further easterly I bopped and grooved in the glorious sunlight and circumambulated Piccadilly Circus and bailed into Coventry Street and into the crowded intensity of Leicester Square. 

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From there, I snuck from the rear of the National Gallery and inside.  

The delightful guide at Spencer House had insisted that I return to the National Gallery before leaving London and catch the Mantegna and Bellini exhibition.  She could not have spoken more highly of it.  I did tell her that I had reservations about seeing Italian art as it was much too ecclesiastic for my liking.  However, since she had been such a gracious host, I decided to just this once to go with an open mind and just explore. 

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You cannot believe how fast, I got out of there.  As I said to the West African museum worker, who asked why I had left the show so quickly, “You cannot imagine how deeply disturbing I find a culture that goes to such great length to never address in their art their savagely ‘civilising’ influence in the world.  It is as though it never happened or they played positively no role whatsoever in the brutal murder, enslavement, extinction of peoples and cultures.  His response was, to the victor go the spoils and the shaping of history in his image; he added that he was very very proud that I am aware, unlike so many of us.  With that, we bumped fists and it was back out into the bright sunlight of this glorious day.  

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Apart from the usual suspects, Yodas seemingly levitating – now there’s a gig! – I made it past a rather engaging African artist who had the soul of a sage if ever anyone ever did.  Being drawn to its beauty, I drew closer to get a really good shot of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and it was then I made the most glorious of discoveries.  

Well, there could be no better way to restore the spirit after the disquiet that I experienced for moving through the Mantegna & Bellini show.  Great art should reflect life, not neatly reinvent and compartmentalise away all that which one would rather not address – likely, though, Bellini had no knowledge of Columbian expeditions to the New World. 

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Presentation at the Temple – Giovanni Bellini c 1460

Certainly, the prominent artists of the 16th century: Tintoretto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian were supported by the Church of Rome, which by its patronage of these artists was intent on depicting itself in a glowing ecclesiastical light rather than the brutal realism which afforded it the prominence and wealth it then enjoyed… which endures even now. 

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So with that, richly inspired by both the guitarist and Spencer House and all that it represented, I slipped into the National Portrait Gallery, to drink once more Wim Heldens masterful Oil on Canvas of the collectors Harry and Carol Ann Djanogly – she passed earlier this year.  Satiated of spirit, it was off to grab a bite and then a nap of glorious dream-filled sleep – one of which was a flying dream.  God it felt goodly glorious to have returned in spirit to Spencer House.  

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After having overslept by a hair, it was a mad dash by Underground and taxi make it by mere minutes to Royal Albert Hall.  One of my favourite concert halls, any show would do.  

Ah nothing beats a good old nostalgic adventure.

Interior of Royal Albert Hall.  

Intermission from the stalls at Royal Albert Hall.  

You cannot beat a room full of love and wonderment.  Truly spectacular.  Of course, it goes without saying that Merlin was wild about Jim Henson, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.  This was a glorious way to have capped off a great trip and to remember the life of an extraordinarily phenomenal human being, Merlin.  

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And like that, the following day, I was returned to Toronto, my art-filled home and this most glorious photograph of the most magical fellow who made life truly a happening, for seven glorious, love-filled and magical years.  

As ever, sweet dreams and thanks for your ongoing support.  

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©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.  

Two Albrechts but what a Giselle!

Giselle Royal Ballet

Second night in London and there was still lots of snow — at least, by London standards; after Montréal where three feet of snow is no horror, 1.5 inches seemed to have arrested London in its tracks — I was all excited to see David Hallberg whose recent memoir I read on the flight over and carried in my custom Ruben Mack messenger bag, to have it signed after the performance.  Enjoyed my glass of champagne and being in the balcony at Royal Opera house was magical.  My seat was smack in the middle of three Japanese young ladies who were being chaperoned by their lovely teacher.  I negotiated and they excitedly expressed their appreciation at being able to switch with me being on the end so that that they could all sit together.  The closest two sat on their coats and I even offered the tinier future Giselle my coat to sit on.  

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Naturally, I was returned to London as last June, I had pleasantly discovered Natalia Osipova dancing in Marguerite and Armand and was instantly a fan.  There was no way that I was going to miss her Giselle.  Midway through Act I of Giselle, David whom I had never previously seen perform, failed to have impressed.  He seemed not to be dancing full out and the partnership seemed strained; it was as though they had not had enough rehearsals.  Then after intermission and really good champagne, the company’s artistic director came to the stage to announce that Mr. Hallberg had been injured during Act I and would not be proceeding; he then announced that the youngster, Matthew Ball would dance the role of Prince Albrecht in Act II — the house went wild as he had days earlier made his debut in the ballet.  

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What then unfolded was the most glorious of evenings in the theatre.  Ms. Osipova, who has the most phenomenal ballon ever witnessed on any ballerina — to say nothing of her turns — danced as if truly overjoyed.  Mr. Ball was also fantastic and I howled for joy at their curtain calls.  Heck, I, who never go backstage, went in hopes of having Mr. Hallberg sign my copy of his book; however, he was a no-show.  Ms. Osipova, inordinately gracious and an ecstatic Mr. Ball, who had had to dash back to the theatre that evening, was only too happy to sign my copy of the program as a steady drizzle fell beyond the double, glass stage doors.  

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Of course, the night prior, I had trekked in even more snow out to Barbican Centre to catch yet another performance of the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra led by the unparallelled genius, Wynton Marsalis.  The programme was exclusively Leonard Bernstein in a celebration of his centenary… and what a phenomenal show it was.  London’s Jews were out in force to be sure.  I sat next to a princely 93-year-old Jew whose energies were rather like those of Yehudi Menuhin and boy was this man gracious of spirit.  To say the least, I had a ball.  

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Naturally, one goes to a Wynton Marsalis performance for the encores!  And boy, he did not disappoint.  As always, I unashamedly howled like mad at the end of all that.  This musical genius’s fabulousness is out of this world.  This truly was a marvellous way to celebrate  a homecoming of sorts; London truly does feel like another West Indian isle.  As Merlin and I shared a rather accomplished life as court musicians in late 18th century London, it is always great to be in London.  

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Though I had downloaded the app and had planned on biking whilst in London, the snow everywhere precluded any such adventure.  So there was I next morning — the night of which I attended Giselle, leaving my hotel in Bloomsbury and making it from Russell Square to Piccadilly Circus to, of course, look at art.  

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Naturally, I had arrived at the Royal Academy at Burlington House to see what for me was the most eagerly anticipated art exhibition in years:  Charles I, King and Collector.  I was the first to have arrived for the show, slipped inside from the snow before being asked to wait outside by security.   Whilst waiting at the head of the queue, there were three gentlemen who arrived, all on the other side of 70 years of age and they were the most urbane aristocrats whom I had ever encountered.  The way they spoke; there was no denying that they were posh.  Moreover, it was more than their accents; their use of language made it sound as though they were speaking a form of English which was mannered, musical and as though another language entirely.  

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Finally, once inside the exhibition, I was truly enthralled, moving from salon to salon as though in the most lucidly captivating dream.  Here were all my favourite Sir Anthony van Dyck paintings in one place — plus, there were some which previously I had not seen… at least, in this lifetime.  Naturally, there were also some rather intimate Sir Peter Paul Rubens in the exhibition, which featured the art from the impressive collection of HM King Charles I… that ode to swaggerliciousness and a young sage to boot.  

HM King Charles I Three Positions Sir Anthony van Dyck Oil on Canvas

I had managed to snap four paintings whilst moving through the first of ten salons when a kindly security agent asked that I obey the rules and refrain from taking photographs.  This truly was as though caught in a flying dream as I moved intoxicated of spirit from salon to salon, I managed whilst looking at murals in one of the larger salons, to make my way to the inner sanctum where the most glorious Sir Anthony van Dycks were hung — the two equestrian portraits one from the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square the other, which previously was hung at Buckingham Palace; there was also that most striking portrait Charles at the hunt which normally is hung at Musée du Louvre.  A lovely henna-braided African security agent informed me that I had progressed improperly and ought to retrace my steps and view the art in the salons on the periphery of the three large internal salons where murals, tapestries and the prized, aforementioned van Dycks of the Royal Collection collected by HM King Charles I were hung.  

Sir Peter Paul Rubens Self-Portrait Oil on Canvas

At the point at which I was about to leave one salon for the next, I suddenly and distinctly thought of Kritika Bhatt the Michael channeller who had been trained by Sarah J. Chambers one of the original channellers in the Michael group.  I thought it odd at the time as I only ever would think of her when a request for overleaves are outstanding and my impatience is having her surface to mind as I wonder if I would be receiving the requested overleaves that day.  Since this was not the case, I thought per chance, that I was thinking of her as she is known to have King Charles spaniels.  Yes, that must be the out-of-nowhere association, I concluded.  

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On entering the next salon, I immediately moved towards the largest masterpiece and was struck by its depth and impressive use of strong bold colours.  What’s more, I had never seen the painting before.  Fascinating, I whispered before heading to the title to see the title and artist.  I was struck dead in my tracks when reading, Esther before Ahaseuras by Jacopo Tintoretto.  Wow!  I exclaimed.  Years earlier, in an email regarding the overleaves for other artists, Kritika had made mention that her current son had previously been the 16th century Italian artist, Jacopo Tintoretto!  I was floored and for me that out-of-nowhere associative thought of Kritika was validation of the overleaves and information shared years earlier.  

Sir Anthony van Dyck Self-Portrait with Sunflower Oil on Canvas

Earlier, whilst moving through the first salon, I had never come so close to Sir Anthony van Dyck’s Self-Portrait with Sunflower before.  Taking the time to really study the painting, I was struck by my response; suddenly, at my solar plexus, I began experiencing a — not though rare — thumping which was independent of my cardio rhythm.  Never before had I been able to so closely inspect the eyes in the self-portrait.  What was really interesting was the look of the artist’s left eye in the painting; it really was a darker version of my Dutch born and oldest friend, Joop who previously had been Sir Anthony van Dyck.  Though Joop’s eyes are a strong, soulful blue in this lifetime, they truly are the same eyes as Sir Anthony van Dyck’s in the self portrait.  Different colour, same vibration… same intensity.  I had not been expecting that and just as later whilst moving from one salon to the next, I was not expecting to have the Michael Teachings and overleaves validated.  Nonetheless, there is was, two instances of overleaves validated and that was the kind of bonus that one could not have anticipated whilst planning this trip.  

Fortnum & Mason

After purchasing my lovely catalogue of the exhibition, I moved across the street and did some shopping at the grand old dame, Fortnum & Mason.  Let’s face it, I was there to slip into the eatery and score myself the best free lunch in London… and as ever, the bites on offer did not disappoint.  I bought marvellous teas as only can be found at Fortnum & Mason then hopped onto a double decker, driving westerly along Piccadilly.  Making my way up the stairs, I soon had to double back on myself when realising that the upper deck was packed with a sprinkling of London’s homeless, who obviously had been afforded refuge out of the cold and what for London was unheard of snows.  God it smelt atrocious.  As the bus made a right onto Buckingham Palace Road, I hopped off and made my way past the Royal Mews which were closed owing to snow and made it for the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.  

Charles II Art & Power

I was there to be wowed, though, sadly was not by the Restoration exhibition.  Naturally, how could it have been a show to rival that at the Royal Academy when most of that art had been sold off by the time of HM King Charles II’s coronation.  I would have been rather underwhelmed, had I gone to London just to take in this show.  As it was, it served as ample reason to have appreciated the Royal Academy show even more.  

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Really got off on the vibration exuded by HM King James II as he held court in all his glory in the portrait in the same show at the Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace (following painting). 

HM King James II when HRH Prince James Duke of York

Well having had my fill of the Restoration art or the paucity thereof, I enjoyed trekking in the snows along Buckingham Palace Road to Victoria Station and descended into the depths of London’s Underground for yet another adventure.  

St. Paul's Cathedral

Emerging from the bowels of London, I made it to the soul of the nation to pay homage, yet again, at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  

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I wanted to go and light a candle, I lit two actually, in homage to the ennobled lives that both Merlin and I enjoyed in this glorious city three centuries earlier — the memories of which readily surface in the dreamtime.  

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Before one gets too old to be able to make the trek, I managed my way to the whispering gallery, sat down and caught my wind back whilst reflecting on my life.  

Henry Moore

This place so rich in history, is also the sacred shrine where entity mates have left their mark.  Henry Moore is an old artisan in my entity.  

Arthur Duke of Wellington

Of course, no visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral would be complete without paying a visit to the soul of the nation at its crypt and paying homage to ennobled souls who’ve made an indelible mark on London… on history.  There is great and fittingly so, grandeur in the tomb of Arthur, Duke of Wellington’s resting place.  

Admiral Nelson

Of course, the other tomb which dominates the crypt at St. Paul’s Cathedral is that of Admiral Nelson, whom both Merlin and I knew during that incarnation.  Doubtless, it was his passion and tales for and about Nevis, which planted that seed that sparked three lifetimes later with my soul’s choice to reincarnate into Nevis; indeed, it has proven an isle no less magical than his captivating anecdotes then must have been.  Days later, of course, I would see the bullet which felled this great man whilst visiting Windsor Castle; that is for another post.  For now, I rushed home, took a dream-filled nap before heading to Covent Garden and being wowed by two not one Albrechts and the most exciting prima ballerina on the planet… at least, as far as I am concerned.  

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As ever, thanks for your ongoing support and look forward in coming months to book three of my dream-filled memoirs, mandated by Merlin and which prove human civilisation’s first dream memoirs.  

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©2013-2020 Arvin da Brgha.  All Rights Reserved.