A thoroughly exhausting and enjoyable day in London with Tom. For his birthday I’d promised to take him to the David Hockney portrait exhibition, followed by lunch out and then to walk up and down that hell on earth – Oxford Street to enable him to spend his birthday money. After sketching each other on the train we arrived at the National Portrait Gallery at nine – which we knew would be an hour early so we had coffee just off Leicester Square, then we changed one of his birthday presents at Cass Art (an unacceptable proportion of the pastels I’d bought him were broken). They were great and very helpful. I was told that the Rembrandt pastels were a bit tougher than the Sennelier we had and that Paula Rego uses Rembrandt, so if they’re good enough for her, they should be good enough for Tom.
The Hockney exhibition was wonderful – so inspiring to both of us. Lunch was in Soho at a Korean barbecue restaurant. The last time I’d been to one of these restaurants was when I was first married and I thought Tom would find it fun – which he did. Then off to Oxford Street – which is truly ghastly, but has every single shop that might stock clothes that a fifteen year old boy might like. Mercifully Tom was decisive and so we probably had that bit of the day sewn up in a couple of hours. Finally we went on a wild goose chase looking for Cornellisons art shop. I’d forgotten to bring the address, but was sure I knew where it was somewhere off Tottenham Court Road – but I was wrong and so we decided to leave that for another day. Miles and miles of London were walked and both of us had great day – all thanks to Robin looking after Xavier.