One of the things that I love about London is the contrast and sometime very successful balance of the old with the very new. Well, age is all relative. The stunning Shell Building was a glory of Art Deco modernity when it was built in1930- 1931. It’s a solid impressive building, and on some days, it can look quite oppressive. One can imagine, spies, stories of espionage all with the dark imagery of Orwellian menace within its solid walls. It would be the prefect setting for the home of Big Brother. The large clock is the largest in London and was once known as Big Benzene. In front of the massive 84 meter building stands Cleopatra’s Needle, created in the era of Pharaohs and swirling Saharan Dust. It was a gift to the United Kingdom from Sudan Muhammad Ali, the ruler of Egypt, in 1819. Moving it was a massive expense and for once the politicians got it right and did not fund the movement. It remained snuggled in the Egyptian sands until 1877, when it was finally sponsored at the mind boggling cost of 10,000 pounds. A horrific amount of money in those days. So from out of the sands of the desert, surviving wars, and nature’s determination to complete the life cycle… dust to dust, the needle defies time and stands on the side of the River Thames in perfect compliment to the daring architecture of Art Deco.