Thursday, 1 March 2012

In which the widow goes to London

Ehm, this post has turned from an intended few words and some pictures, into a blow by blow account of my trip to London... Feel free to skip to the visuals!

On Monday, I took a long ear-marked trip to London. The intention was to visit the House of Me exhibition of Annie Lennox memorabilia at the V&A but by the time I got time booked off, I was one day too late. So, Megabus booked, I set off with no clear plan although I did have a couple of ideas.

I left the house at six to get the bus which ended up getting into London an hour late... not surprising as the timetable always looked ambitious, given that it was never going to avoid the rush hour traffic. So it was half Ten and I had arranged to meet my Uncle at One. What to do? Go to an exhibition but possibly rush it? Or just mooch. I chose to do the later.

I've not been to London in years and it's a city I've never been able to fully picture in my head. I know bits of it but over-reliance on the tube has meant I've never learnt to relate those pieces together. Armed with my phone, complete with GPS mapping, I decided that I was going to spend the day overground. So, from Victoria Coach Station, I headed towards Parliament Square.

Once there, I wandered up Whitehall to Trafalgar and Leicester Squares, to Oxford Street with the intent of heading beyond to where my Uncle works, near Warren Street tube. It was at this point that disaster struck - something (possibly the mapping application, although am not sure) had been chomping through my battery power ever since I had got up and around 12ish it gave up the ghost. Now, I had foreseen such an eventuality and planned to put the phone into one of the charging stations that Vodafone provide in their stores. I had another problem, though - I wanted to charge it for a decent amount of time but I didn't want to tie myself in to being back at a particular place by a particular time, especially when I was unsure how far away exactly I'd be going and how long lunch would be. I ploughed on.

Based on my memory of the map, and by luck as much as anything else, I found my Uncle's work and went for lunch, still undecided about what to do in the afternoon. Several exhibitions seemed promising and my preference was for the Lucian Freud show at National Portrait Gallery. I decided that would be it, but still wanted to find somewhere to charge my phone...

I mooched back southwards, taking a different route and enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. I also popped along to the Royal Academy where I toyed with the idea of going to the Hockney exhibition, which was probably futile as I'm sure it would have been sold out for the day. I also popped into Fortnam and Masons for a wander round their foodhalls. In case you're ever in need of a cauliflower in Piccadilly, it'll only set you back £3.

Anyway, I got back to the National Portrait Gallery to discover that the Freud exhibition was sold out for the day! I also discovered it was £14 a ticket which seemed steep, although that probably betrays a provincial state of mind. (And wasn't as bad as £16(!) for Westminster Abbey.) By this time it was 10 to Four and, having deposited my phone in a nearby Vodafone, I went round a couple of the Portrait Gallery's galleries. Portraiture isn't really my thing but they had some more contemporary pieces which were of interest, including some Warhols, Paolozzi busts, and a wall of various people connected with Private Eye over the last 50 years.

I then went next door to the National Gallery with it's warren of galleries and enjoyed works by, specifically, Constable, Turner, Poussin, Rembrandt, Titian, Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Degas. Having retrieved my phone around 6, it was time for more mooching before heading back to Victoria Coach Station and the bus for home. This involved a walk down the Mall where I saw Buckingham Palace for the second time in my life - this time intentionally!

Anyway, here are the promised pictures, and a promise of more to come!:

Mercedes F1 car (outside Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Oliver Cromwell
Lloyd-George (and Churchill)
Roux at Parliament Square (on list for when I win lottery...)

151 days to go!
184 days to go!


1 comment:

Raybeard said...

Looks like it was a worthwhile little tour, even if it was an unequal substitute for seeing Annie's 'bits and bobs'.
I envy you in managing to do Art Galleries and Museums without crumpling in fatigue. I find them so hard on the feet (much moreso than continuous walking), which is very exasperating.