The trip to London was a great success; we crammed a lot in without ever feeling rushed. It felt a bit weird staying in the Barbican flat (and sleeping on the sofa-bed) having given this up at ‘mates rates’ to Eldest Son (ES) and girlfriend when I retired. But it was lovely to see that the flat is now a proper home rather than just a place to park myself week-nights while I worked in London.
The raison d’etre for the London visit was to have dinner with ES, his wonderful girlfriend and his girlfriend’s lovely Italian/Palestinian parents. I even got to practice about twenty words of Italian! Also during the 36 hours in London, we got to see old friends from when we lived in Kew, caught up with Middle Son (MS), and even got to pop in to see LSW’s sister and nieces.
I also got a bit of culture in. LSW and I went to Tate Britain to see the Rachel Whiteread exhibition – a collection of her ‘sculptures’ of ‘forgotten spaces’ such as the 100 spaces under chairs or the insides of water bottles. It didn’t really grip me but I’m glad we got to see the exhibition and the overall colour scheme was appealing.
Then on Monday, while LSW was shopping, I went to the BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait gallery. Until the rooms were swamped by hordes of schoolchildren, this was peaceful, inspiring and, although I am no great judge, high quality. I especially liked the paintings that were so meticulous that they looked like photos – although I got to wonder whether a photo might have been as good. I suspect I missed the point but enjoyed it anyway.
LSW and I also squeezed in a rather leisurely lunch. Why can’t we have, in our part of Gloucestershire, restaurants as simple, effective and of seemingly effortless high quality as Rochelle Canteen. It’s not hard to get the formula right; the restaurant is in an old bike shed adjoining a former school for goodness sake! It was perfect for us yesterday.
I’m weaning myself off London but it was exciting to go back.