Tuesday, 25 February 2014

One Week in London (Part two)

Poor old blog. It's not the only thing that's been gathering dust lately. Here is a short list of other things I have been neglecting:
1. Thesis
2. housework
3. grocery shopping (this means empty fridge, every-day runs to the corner store, more time wasted, the irony.)

Anyway, where did we leave off last time? London. I think I've ordered the days wrong in that last post anyway. You know when you go on holiday and every glorious day folds into the next.

Tuesday 11 February

So the day after our St Paul's exploratory day, we had a quiet one in Kew. Matthew's aunt and uncle swung by and collected Matthew, Matthew's Gran, and me, and we all went to lunch at a small, cozy and dare I say it quaint local pub/dining room (there was a minimum of beer and football, but still plenty of charm, couches and chips).

After our family lunch (where we got properly caught up with Matthew's uncle!) they kindly dropped us in Richmond for a late afternoon look-around. I bought my book club book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (very appropriately English), and we found an internet cafe for some hasty social networking over a latte. I'm shamelessly attached to my device. I love being connected to my social network. And I turned off work emails so there was no sense of dread every time the wifi connected.

Richmond is a pretty suburban town centre, with lots to see and do, right on a bend in the Thames. It wasn't too warm so we didn't do any waterfront promenading, but we did poke around the streets a bit. Lots of charm.

Wednesday 12 February

Matthew and I went to High Street Kensington for some retail therapy. We had intended to antique shop along Church Street, or maybe stroll through Portobello Road Market. But it was blustery and frankly pouring rain, so we just staggered around soaking for a while and then shopped to escape it all. Matthew found a Warhammer store, I found enough button-down shirts to last me a whole week, and we found a vegan organic cafe. Win win win.

Thursday 13 February Victoria and Albert Museum!

Matthew and I regretfully left his Gran for a couple of days to do some adventuring. We took the tube to Victoria and checked into our hotel, the Grosvenor. Quite nice, by our standards. (Matthew and I are known for choosing... modest... accommodation, so this was something of a rare treat.)

We then trained back to the Victoria and Albert Museum, one of our favourite tourist spots. Matthew's cousin (sort of) Eleanor works there, so we were lucky to catch her in her lunch break. Thank you for making time for us, Eleanor! So lovely to see you again.

There is a gorgeous outdoor transformed pond in the courtyard, and of course the Japanese miniatures room.

There was also an interesting exhibition called “Jameel 3” (the third of this annual prize, I think?), which had Middle Eastern contemporary art. There was a spice painting on the floor that looked so like a rug that you couldn’t tell the difference until you had been looking at it for a long time. And wall-hung rug with a recognizably traditional rug pattern which then pixilated half was up.  

Even though we’d just had lunch, we couldn’t go past the scones in the tea room. The tea room is OTT decorated. Every surface. Tiled, marbled, sculpted, inlaid with text, glittery, golden, etc. Too too much. And it was the first scones with jam and cream that we’d clapped eyes on since landing in the UK, so we just had to go for it.

Pond sculpture

Me ignoring the art and furiously connecting to wifi. Shameless.

The best thing in the museum: the Japanese miniatures.

I actually remember this one from last time. It's my favourite.

Aaaand the tea room.

Enormous wall sculpture. About 15 feet tall? Hard to say.


I joked that this was me doing my homework. But I do sort of feel that way.

After the V&A, Matthew and I walked along large and winding streets, and lo, we stumbled across Harrod's department store. After several visits to London, we had never actually been to this institution. I mean. It was a department store, so nothing groundbreaking here. But I do so love food halls. We admired the cheeses, chocolates, heart-shaped cheeses, heart-shaped chocolates (Valentine's Day...) and other delicacies. 

A wall of Stilton.

Black lilies. Blue roses. Rainbow roses. What will they think of next?
It got dark, so we found a pub close to our hotel and ordered the following: fish and chips, and bangers and mash. I'm sure someone's rolling their eyes at us while reading this. We also had flat warm beer and cider. Mission accomplished.

Again, with my poor eyeballs nearly falling out of my head, I need to end it here and take at least 8 hours of sleep. Our next and final installment: Brighton!!

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