Today I took an absurdly convoluted journey to Dulwich, involving two trains and a tram, to see the Paul Nash exhibition. I almost missed it, but fortunately Lucille warned me that it was finishing this Sunday. Given that the last Nash retrospective was apparently over 60 years ago, not going wasn't an option.
The Paul Nash exhibition has been incredibly successfully, both with the critics and public. It's hard to believe that Nash struggled to make a living from his art and lived in genteel poverty, dying at the relatively young age of 57. Why is he so popular today?
In his day, Nash was one of the "moderns" and his surrealist paintings, with their weird juxtapositions of landscapes and objects, wouldn't have been everyone's cup of tea. But today, his paintings seem terribly English, belonging to a pastoral tradition that goes back to Blake and Palmer.
I was really impressed by the exhibition, but it was far too busy and it was an effort to look at any of the paintings without being distracted by other people.
I seemed to be the youngest person there by at least ten years. Hadn't anyone else bunked off work to see some paintings?
All of the usual suspects were there: retired bachelors with bald heads and a profusion of ear hair; earnest-looking members of art appreciation societies; ruddy-faced port drinkers in lambswool sweaters and chinos; women in their 80s with white bobbed hair and piercing eyes.
Fortunately, almost everyone behaved impeccably. Nobody walked in front of me when I was looking at a painting and there were very few people who insisted on leaning forward and inspecting the brush strokes from a distance of six inches.
But there is one sub-group I haven't mentioned. These people are a menace and have plagued me for years. If I had my way, I would only allow them to visit art galleries during specified hours - perhaps between 10.00 and 11.00 on Tuesday mornings.
They travel in pairs. One is a self-appointed art expert and likes to think of herself as a bit of a character, confidently issuing one platitude after another. The other usually nods and hums in agreement. Nobody would dare to start chatting in a concert but no-one seems to bat an eyelid when someone starts talking at full volume in an art gallery.
There were a few chatting pairs, including one woman who was enthusiastically comparing a painting to the movie Inkheart, but luckily this didn't detract from the exhibition:
The exhibition was a curatorial triumph, with twice as many exhibits than I'd expected. It's a great pity that it had to end, as it was far more interesting than the Dulwich Picture Gallery's permanent collection of old masters.
Two hours later, I was back in Lewes. My walk home from the station took me past the gardens of Southover Grange - a Tudor house that was built out of the ruins of a medieval monastry. It was one of the first really warm spring days and the gardens were full of people enjoying the sun after the long winter.
It looked so idyllic, that I decided to make this short film. The quality isn't great and the music, which I wrote and recorded for a play a long time ago, is a bit wobbly,but I hope it captures some of the essence of the gardens: