I’ve never visited the National Gallery, but we wdecided that we couldn’t miss one of the premier collections in Europe, so off we toddler, feet ready and backs straight. I’d have to say that it is definitely worth another visit, because various key rooms were closed, but what was there was magic. I kept my eyes open for Caravaggio, and there was a stunning Emmaus, complete  with the slash of light across the shadows. I may not need to know this next year, but at least I can say I have seen chiaruscuro in the flesh as it were. That’s more than I can say for the characters  in Ondaatje novel.

Of course, the National has stuff they never let the Tate inherit, so there was The Fighting Temeraire, still one of my favourites and I think the greatest Maritime painting of them all. Wonderful Gainsboroughs, and classic Stubbs – the horse man! – and hidden away in a separate space, luminous mediaeval and early  Renaissance stuff. I think the only things missing were Dutch Masters, but I don’t think Dom will complain about the gaps I’ve left in his artistic education. As always, he stopped every now and then to add something to his list, maintained  with care on his phone, and the more I think about it, he has a brilliant strategy. I will certainly adopt this next time! 

Trafalgar Square was in brilliant autumn sunshine, and the usual street performers were out there. Yoda  on a stick keeps cropping up, along with some really poor bunkers. The good ones are in Leicester Square, and at least the touts with their ball in the cup trick stick to Westminster Bridge, where there is always some gullible American ready to take them on. You can watch for five aminutes and see the offsider play the sucker game. The wife insists on  playing, wins ten quid and then loses fifty. How did they become top nation?

Phantom delighted Dom and, in spite of my Webber -phobia, impressed me. The talent was more than up to the task, and looking at their bios, were all getting lots of work, except for  the young ones who were clearly on the up and up. The sheer ofconcentration  shows is always  impressive, and it was a bit of a shame that we couldn’t afford another night out at something that hadn’t become tourist fodder. There were some great revivals and some interesting new shows that Paula and I will have to oninvestigate  our return.