The past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve been busy, but often too exhausted at the end of the day to sit down and write. Now of course, it’s nearly midnight and I’m choosing to write + post this now instead of sleep, but that’s my logic for you.
But let’s backtrack for a moment. On Friday, my uncle took me into the city proper. It was his day off from work, and it was so nice to spend time with him. In addition, I got a local’s view of London – a guided tour through back alleys and side streets. We walked probably 6 miles that day, but my feet hardly felt the pain because my eyes were so filled with spectacular sights.
We went to the amazing Tate Modern museum, where we saw a special exhibit of Robert Rauschenberg’s work. The building itself is a work of art, although not quite what I expected – the entrance is dark, moody, technical, and functional, but then opens up to lightness and clarity as you move up the building. The newest addition, the Switch House, offers a fantastic view of London with an exposed-to-the-elements 360º balcony. It also houses an incredibly viewing space for films in the basement – it’s tucked away so it wasn’t overpopulated, but the rooms are so massive and have so much negative space that you feel like you’re the only one there anyway. I’d like to go back to the Tate Modern to see some other exhibits, and I’m sure I will .. it takes days to get through even a half of what’s there!
We crossed the pedestrian bridge across the Thames, overcrowded with tourists and delicious, with the smell of almonds and peanuts roasting. When we crossed over again onto land, we first made our way past St. Paul’s Cathedral (whose architecture is stunning, but actually asymmetrical!) Along the way my uncle led me through twists and turns, with one eye on the sights in front of me and another on my feet, sidestepping puddles. Our destination was an all-you-can-eat Indian vegetarian restaurant – an eclectic place where the decorations were not floral wallpaper, but informational DIY posters about the health and benefits of vegetarian diets, and encouraging, if not demanding persuasive slogans. I appreciated them 🙂
We ended the night with a fantastic performance at Sadler’s Wells theater. Sir Matthew Bourne recently choreographed a new ballet, The Red Shoes, loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, and more inspired by the 1948 film of the same name. It’s a tragic yet moving story, one that I was quite touched by, as a former dancer. I would like to read the short story, and maybe I’ll try to find an old bookstore here and sit and read awhile. I’ll keep you posted on that. The music for the ballet was interestingly from a film version of Fahrenheit 451, but it really worked! And although the Matthew Bourne dance company / troupe is more known for its modern / contemporary dance style, it was nevertheless a well-done ballet.
On Saturday, I headed into town to meet up with some University of Delaware music students I knew, at the British Museum. On my walk I went right through Russell Square, and then passed a street with beautiful townhouses. I stopped (I wouldn’t really consider it trespassing) and borrowed one of their floors for just a minute, in order to take a picture of my shoes. But moreso the beautiful tiles. Classic. Also I passed a statue of a dog, which made me miss mine!
After a few more rights and lefts, I made it to the British Museum! What a sight to see. Architecturally, impressive and imposing and magnificent. I saw the Rosetta Stone, which was surreal. I’ll have to go back on a weekday, though, to get a good view – it was so packed with crowding cameras and people shoving right and left that I could only get a glimpse. I went upstairs and saw all the exhibits from ancient civilizations, and of course, loved the jewelry. The colors of lapis lazuli, carnelian, and gold were so exotic – I wish I could imitate them in my own work. The stones and beads were so finely carved, and the pieces intact .. it was really really special for me. Each one, despite the same palette, was so unique. Note to self: go again and copy some designs for future inspiration and reference.
On Sunday, I woke up with a head cold .. I think the probable culprit is the damp, wet, cold weather, but it’s more likely to have accomplices. Regardless, I spent the day in bed with a cup of tea never out of reach. In the evening I rallied for a dinner at a local pub, where a ‘hot toddy’ with lemon, cloves, and Jameson’s Irish Whiskey warmed me up and tried to beat the cold to the curb ..
Unfortunately I’m still under the weather, but with a busy week ahead of me, I hope to be on the mend ASAP!
stay tuned .. xx R.