Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 18, 2009 The V&A, M&S, and P.C.

Well, I think I found my artistic home, The Victoria and Albert Museum.  Just today, I've already seen paintings by Blake, Rousseau, and several other Pre-Raphaelite artists.  They have a huge display of stained glass windows from all over the world.  The museum is huge, but well staged so that you don't feel overwhelmed by the size of the building.  Is sort of reminds me of The Kimball because of the use of the space and the feeling of peace in most of the museum.  The V&A has a section just for British furniture, textiles, ceramics, wallpapers, and lace.  Wallpaper and lace seem like strange things to put in a museum, but British decorative arts like these have had a big influence on the way we decorate our homes. They also had two humongeous tapestry rooms.  It was amazing to see these wall sized, ancient tapestries.

The best thing about this museum is that it has SPACE!!!  You can actually back up and get a look at things.  Space is something that is in short supply in London!  But, it is something we take for granted at home.  You should see how crowded the tubes are from 4 till around 7!  If it were this crowded in DFW, people would be screaming bloody murder.  But when I think about it, a Londoner would probably think the same thing if they saw 183 and Grapevine during our rush hour!

After the museum, I made a big mistake.  I decided to go to Bond Street to look around at Selfridge'sSelfridge's is a grand, old store that's been open for at least 150 years.  Some people think that it is better than Harrod's, and I was afraid Harrod's wouldn't let me in because of my tourist clothes.  Well, let me tell you, you would never know Britain is having a financial crisis.  Selfridge's was having a 50% off sale.  That store was PACKED with about 3 million people!  The United Nations could have had a meeting right then and there.  People from every country you could name, and many we've never heard of were there, literally pulling clothes out of each others hands in their shopping frenzy!  It was a pickpocket's dream.  I just kept wondering how much merchandise was being shoplifted.  They had numerous guards all over the place, and there were big burly, bouncer type guys at all of the entrances.  But there were just not enough security guards for all the people.  Needless to say, I left quickly!

Across the street was Marks and Spencer's food court.  It's not like a mall food court, however.  It's more like a British Central Market.  They had a fish counter and a fancy cheese counter and a meat pie counter and several pastry counters.  They even had a counter just for different kinds of Turkish Delight and baklavas.  Everything looked so tempting.  Apparently one of the trendy things right now is American style brownies.  Mother, we could make a killing with our brownie recipe!  After wandering around for a while with huge eyes full of longing, I asked a nice lady to suggest a very English dessert, or pudding, for me.  She led
me right over to a Sticky Toffee Pudding.  She was right; it was "lovely!"

By the way, I saw Prince Charles again,  yesterday.  I was walking past Trafalgar Square trying to find the Charring Cross tube station, when a bunch of motorcycle bobbies drove up and blocked off the intersections.  Keep in mind, this was about 6 o'clock in the evening during rush hour!  Everyone figured that something important was up, so people stopped rushing and started gawking.  Sure enough, a Bentley drove right up The Mall from Buck. Palace, crossed through Trafalgar Square, and turned onto Northumberland Avenue.  There in the back seat were Charles and Camilla, the other woman.  As soon as they passed, it was if Samantha from Bewitched unfroze everyone and they started rushing around again.  I continued on down Northumberland but had to step out of the traffic onto a side street to look at the map.  Down the quiet side street, I saw Charles and a bunch of very alert Secret Service-type guys.  I didn't walk down the street towards them!  I didn't want to be thrown to the ground and hogtied!

Well, I wish I could send you all some yummy, sticky toffee pudding.  It's brilliant!


     This is the inner courtyard at The Victoria and Albert Museum.  They had a very nice, rather
     expensive, lunch counter set up so the patrons could eat outside. 

    This street in Kensington reminded me of "As Time Goes By."  I could just see Lionel and Jean Hardcastle stepping out of their house and hailing a black cab.

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