Thursday, 20 October 2016

London .............. again

We live about an hour away from London by train. Not far really, after all, R commutes there every day, but normally I only visit a few times a year. Unusually for me, therefore, I have been 3 times in the past 3 weeks. First, there was the knitting and stitching show at the Ally Pally, which I have mentioned here before. Then last week, L had her 'call to the Bar' ceremony at Lincoln's Inn. She and I went up during the day and, after running a few errands, met up with R in time for the action. It was such a proud moment seeing her in all her finery. As one of her friends commented on seeing the photos - she looked 90% super professional and 10% fancy dress! The ceremony itself was held in the Inn's beautiful chapel. People walked up one aisle as students, were called to the 'honourable society' and then walked back down the other aisle as barristers, grinning broadly. By request, there was no applause during the ceremony itself, but afterwards the audience were asked to 'make some noise' so that the new barristers could hear them outside. I lowered the tone by whooping loudly and then was terribly embarrassed as I was the only one who did! After the ceremony, there were speeches, canapes and champagne and then we celebrated with a Thai meal and made our way home. 
 Finally, yesterday R had managed to get 2 tickets to see a Radio 4 show being recorded at RADA. The show was called 'Reluctant Persuaders' and is a comedy about an advertising agency starring, among others, Nigel Havers and Josie Lawrence. We actually saw 2 episodes being recorded, one of which had Martin Jarvis as a special guest star and he stole the show with his marvelous voice. He also seemed a genuinely lovely man as he sat at the back of the stage beaming whilst the others did their bit.
As well as watching the recording, I went in early and spent the day pottering round London. Here are a few photos of my day:
Knitting socks on the train:
 Visiting the Harry Potter shop at King's Cross. I actually bought a couple of items here but I won't say what they are as they are Christmas presents for my girls.
 There was a long queue of people waiting to have their photos taken here:
 Then I caught the tube to Islington to visit Loop:
I had never been before and was agog at all the lovely yarns; it would be extremely easy to get carried away and spend a fortune. I was restrained and bought 3 skeins of yarn for a shawl and a small pot of lavender and mint hand balm.
I still had a few hours to kill before we had to get to RADA, so I made my way to Trafalgar Square to visit the National Gallery.

I ought to insert a little explanation for my visit here. On Sunday, R and I dropped L back in Oxford and took her for lunch here:

We sat outside by the river watching people punting (with varying degrees of success!) and shared a mezze platter. Afterwards, we went back to her flat for a cup of hot chocolate (it was actually colder than it looks in the photo!) and whilst we were there, we had a little play on J's virtual reality computer. There was one particular 'game' called 'The Night Cafe' which I loved. It was very clever - someone had taken Van Gogh's paintings and incorporated them into a cafe setting which you could 'walk' round. There was his famous chair in a corner, people from portraits sitting at tables, a vase of sunflowers, views of starry skies out of the window etc. - you get the idea. All the while you were exploring, you could hear piano music and, on entering another room, there was a pianist playing and Van Gogh sitting in a chair smoking and listening. Occasionally he would get up and walk around. It was so unexpected and I found it a bit overwhelming - rather embarrassingly, there may have been a few tears! The only thing I didn't enjoy was when I found myself at the top of some steep stairs and my acrophobia kicked in, but apart from that it was beautiful. Anyway, back to yesterday, I had an urge to see some of his paintings again, hence the visit to the gallery. 

'A Wheat field with Cypresses' is my favourite. I can remember coming to the gallery a few years ago for a birthday treat. R, I remember, loved a particular portrait of a pope - I can't recall which one or who the artist was, but it was so lifelike that it could have been a photograph ............... and it left me cold; it did absolutely nothing for me. Then I found myself standing in front of Van Gogh's wheat field with tears in my eyes (it happens a lot!) because it was so beautiful. R couldn't understand it and thought that it looked like a 3 year old had painted it ............. each to his/her own I suppose. 
I bought some note cards in the gallery shop, to jazz up my letters to E at uni, and then it was time to meet up with R. By this time my legs were starting to ache - I had made the mistake of going for my morning run (still going, CT!) before catching the train and it had been a long day, so I met R and limped my way here:
 Apologies for the blurry photo but it was starting to get dark and my camera isn't the best.
After the recording we hopped in a taxi and headed for Paddington but, as usual, the last direct train had left and we got as far as Reading before having to catch the dreaded bus alternative. I was a little concerned as I had had to park the car in a car park that locked automatically at 12:30. Luckily, we just made it in time.
So, those are my 3 trips to London recently. I'm not saying that I'm "tired of London", but I think I may leave it a little while before my next visit.
That's all for the moment. Wishing you all a wonderful week.
Toodle pip for now. x


  1. What lovely trips to London, I think I will have to slog up there again sometime soon. I envy you your hours journey! Congrats to your daughter what a huge achievement, I would have whooped as well :) Yarn envy, love the colours

  2. Gosh I can imagine how proud you felt. What an amazing achievement. Love the sound of that yarny shop and your sock colour is beautiful. B x

  3. How marvellous, I can only begin to imagine all the hard work your daughter has done to become a barrister. Watching radio shows being recorded is the greatest fun. My husband and I saw some episodes of 'I'm sorry I haven't a clue' being recorded in Glasgow, many years ago, and it was so entertaining,and interesting x

  4. What a proud moment for you when you attended your daughter's bar ceremony. I would love to visit Loop one day but think I would have to just take a certain amount of cash and no cards as I know I would get carried away and spend far too much! xx

  5. Some wonderful trips, but seeing your daughter called to the Bar must have been the very best! Congratulations!

  6. It all sounds and looks so lovely. I bet you were the proudest mummy on earth at Lincoln's Inn. Quite right too. I would have whooped as well :o). I know exactly what you mean about paintings moving and captivating you. I found one at the National the last time we went and stared and stared at it. The others walked by with barely a glance! Glad to hear the running continues. Have you set a parkrun date yet? Xx

  7. I can just imagine how proud you must have felt, I would most certainly have whooped too!
    Beautiful art and music moves me to tears too....Van Gogh is a genius!xxx

  8. It must've been wonderful, watching L become a barrister. Good on you for whooping. Your visits to London sound just brilliant, especially the tickets to the R4 production. I'd love to go to something like that. :-) xx