Monday 7 December

A trip to London, how desperately exciting! Time was when I went quite frequently, to galleries, exhibitions, lectures, concerts, theatres……..but that is now a rarity. Mask on, I boarded the almost empty train, decamped to the almost empty tube, and made my way to the very under-used British Museum. I met my friend Vanessa there, and we visited the two special exhibitions which are on at the moment: you have to have a timed entry, even if you are a member, which we both are, but it does mean that you get a chance to see all the exhibits without too much of a throng. The first was “Tantra: enlightenment to revolution.” Like the majority of people no doubt, I know little about Tantra, except that Sting said that tantric sex enabled him to……………well, if you don’t know, you can check it out! There is indeed a good deal of sexual activity associated with the beliefs, which seem to be a cross between Hinduism and Buddhism, with quite bit of yoga thrown in.

There is also a fascination with death, seeking a route to enlightenment, and living near or in a crematorium and covering oneself with the ashes, also featured. In the 1960’s various pop stars and film stars visited ashrams, and free love, enhanced by bhang, a cannabis based potion also incorporated into Tantra, was widely embraced, so to speak.

Here there is a dead body on the ground, and various other skulls and icons of death around.

The second exhibition was about the Arctic people. 8 different countries have a foothold in the Arctic, and there are many different tribes and beliefs, with associated traditions. It was actually much easier to see than the Tantra exhibition, as it was brightly lit. No doubt representational of snowy landscapes. I liked this Sami outfit.

It was interesting to read how a big effort is being made to preserve the traditions, of hunting, sewing, dancing, the languages.

I liked this furry parka too. I would say that if you are contemplating a visit to a museum or gallery, please do it. They so much need support, and it is very safe I am sure.

This evening I returned to my aquafit class, another sign of normality in my life. All ladies in my class, as it happens, and we have a good laugh. No masks on entering the building, there are so few of us anyway, and then as someone said, we are swimming in bleach so not much survives in that! Only us!

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