#London Adventures… Art, Decorations, Curry and Beer…

Enjoyed a busy weekend which included a trip to London and a sunny and cold walk on Sunday. The decision was made. Go to London for a day trip, but what to do?

The website https://www.timeout.com/london is an excellent source of inspiration and I soon spotted an art exhibition that will interest us… Dali Duchamp at the Royal Academy of Arts.

After suffering the train journey which was expensive, late and crowded, a soup and sandwich had to be consumed in Pret. Ok, I’m well aware the skeptical could go on about a marketing ploy, but I love the way they care and don’t waste food at the end of the day. See the pics at the end of this post!

After relaxing with my warming soup and sandwich, we ventured forth to the exhibition which was very interesting and informative on a variety of art movements (Dada, Surrealism, Readymade, The Surrealist Object, Eroticism and Paranoiac-Critical Theory). My only complaint was that it only kept us quiet for about two hours and unlike other exhibitions you pay for, there weren’t any free exhibitions in the same facility. Never mind, it was a magnificent glimpse into the legendary Dali and included paintings, drawings, book illustrations, prints, sculpture, photographs and historical film. You can submerge yourself in their subversive work and satisfy your curiosity about Dali’s friendship with Duchamp.

Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp maintained a bond of mutual admiration despite having different artistic endeavours. Ultimately, it is clear, from this fascinating display of their work, that they shared absurdity and cynicism which subsequently led them to challenge conventional art. Duchamp’s legacy was often hailed as the father of conceptual art and his friendship with Dali, who was flamboyant and dramatic, puzzled Duchamp’s admirers. However, upon examining the juxtaposition of their work, you can see common ground because of their experimental and philosophical associations. Both are quite bizarre but absolutely fascinating. Highly recommended.

Afterwards, we wandered over the road towards Fortnum and Mason to gaze at the glorious, colourful window displays. Then, of course, I could not resist a look around the store. It was packed full of shoppers, mingling amongst the impressive Christmas decorations. Good grief, bit early, isn’t it? Not even December yet. They do this, in case you are wondering, because everybody shops in November now, to miss the crowds (hahaha). If you go up the magnificent staircase, you can visit the cook shop, ladies department and the posh men’s accessories too. Lots and lots of leather. The food hall is downstairs where you can by miniature bananas and other stupid things, normal people don’t want. The glamour and grandeur may be over the top, but it is London and amusing to visit.

Upon arrival at Kings Cross we popped in a pub called The Betjeman Arms for a quick glass of Beavertown IPA. Delicious! We sat outside overlooking the amazing arches of St Pancras. Yes, there was heating, thank goodness and it was a relief to sit down. Next time, we will go to London during the week. What was I thinking?

Next stop, was Kings Cross for the curry. Although not a big curry fan, I had heard about the restaurant, Dishoom, and wanted to visit. The restaurant at Kings Cross, was featured on Tricks of the Restaurant Trade, Channel 4, UK. We arrived at about 4.30 pm and it was packed. There was me thinking the place will be empty! Nobody eats curry at that time, right? Wrong!

It is based on:

“THE OLD IRANI CAFÉS of Bombay have almost all disappeared. Their faded elegance welcomed all: rich businessmen, sweaty taxi-wallas and courting couples. Fans turned slowly. Bentwood chairs were reflected in stained mirrors, next to sepia family portraits. Students had breakfast. Families dined. Lawyers read briefs. Writers found their characters.

Opened early last century by Zoroastrian immigrants from Iran, there were almost four hundred cafés at their peak in the 1960s. Now, fewer than thirty remain. Their loss is much mourned by Bombayites.”

So the food is traditional curry and encapsulates quality food without fuss. The service was excellent as the waitress skilfully guided us through the menu which was useful because it is quite different from your usual curry establishment. Again, I can recommend this immersive experience. Be warned though, it is very popular. As we left we passed a long queue outside! Everyone must have been freezing.

Overall, a great day out viewing superb art, shopping (although I didn’t buy anything), eating and drinking. Oh, the beer was good too! Dishoom IPA, oh yes.

 

 

Other photos of bits which I found interesting. Good intentions from Pret and art on a building (Kings Cross)…

 

London – A challenging day out…

A day out in London shouldn’t be complicated. But it was. Very complicated and challenging. My friend and I decided to frequent London for a day trip of art, decadence and fun. Well, what a challenging day it was. Everything that could go wrong, did! However, we have a wonderful friendship and just laughed it off.

We arrived at the railway station and were informed that trains are not going to our planned stop and we would have to alight at London Bridge. Of course, our plans then had to change. We got off at London Bridge and Elaine, who is from London, decided we should get a red bus so “we could see London” which seemed OK, although I always ride on the Tube.

We waited and waited for the bus and then realised it doesn’t travel on Saturdays. We started walking and managed to catch a bus to St. Paul’s near the roof top bar. Got off and went to the roof top bar, Madison. The first lift got stuck at level 1 and then went back to the ground floor. We changed lifts and managed to arrive at the bar. The lift to the bar is glass and as you slowly ascend you see St. Paul’s Cathedral which is magnificent. We ordered wine, sat and admired the view and took copious photos. As we chatted away we realised we should make our way to Tate Britain to see the David Hockney exhibition. This apart from roof top cocktails, was the point of the day.

Yes, you guessed it, we got another bus and because it was St. Patrick’s Day, the powers that be in their wisdom, decided to shut The Strand as we waited for our bus connection.  We got the Tube to Pimlico (via Victoria).

On the way to the Tate, we popped into the restaurant to reserve a table for two, for that evening.  Wonderful views, cocktails and food expected, as researched online. The restaurant was shut for a function. “Sorry.” said to waitress.

We arrived at Tate Britain and bought our tickets for Hockney. The tickets were for 7pm that evening. As it was 3pm, we decided to view the galleries, have dinner and return for the long-awaited exhibition.

We thoroughly enjoyed the gallery and wonderful art then found a pub, which although a bit basic, was OK. The food was reasonable and frankly, I was glad to sit down.

The Hockney exhibition was superb and worth the wait. His work goes from the British avant-garde of the 1950s with phallic shapes and his looming (then) illegal sexuality coming out, literally, in his paintings. The period moves on to mid-late 1960s, with a blaze of blue and vivid green, towards poolside paradise and comfort. This is a fascinating insight into his life in sunny California.

Hockney is fascinated by water, glass and shimmering light. In his art, his version of humanity feels flat among the velvet, sumptuous furniture. A type of painting that has an accidental three-dimensional, sentimental effect which slowly draws you in because the colours are vibrant and stimulating. Although perspective sometimes seems wrong and inferior, the paintings are emotionally magnetic. Well, they are for me and judging by the crowds, for others too. Full of illusion and curiosity and subtle elements such as the white cat facing a window and unflattering features of his friends with a backdrop of clarity and modernistic lines. As you look at the faces of his friends, you wonder how disappointed they must have been by his depiction of them. Not flattering at all.

Overall, we felt the day was worth the difficulties. Life is complicated and you have to make the best of it with a little moaning along the way. Anyway, as I pointed out to my friend, who can remember the days when her father could park his car, along the banks of the Thames, Grosvenor Road, in Pimlico, if you don’t deal with the exacting problems, you will never do anything.

Thank you for reading my piece and don’t forget to press the follow button.

Broadstairs (part 2) – Jazz, Art, Cafes, Skeletons, Quirky Pubs and Ab Fab Ladies!

Well, in the first Broadstairs blog, I didn’t really say what happened at Broadstairs and as it was such a weird and wonderful day, here goes…  We found a parking spot (which is amazing luck) and walked to the seafront.  There was a fete with an amateur art exhibition near the bandstand which was a jolly affair selling the usual stuff plus a small jazz band playing on the bandstand.  The art exhibition was an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional art and inspiring to look at as we soak up the community spirit of Broadstairs.

Strolling along the promenade was uplifting as you look across the glorious views. I headed towards town to the cafe “The Old Curiosity Shop” which is fascinating because it has a well in it! If you look down the well you will see, not water, but human skeletons at the bottom! Enjoyed a cuppa and tea cake and carried on exploring the small but bustling town. It’s an enticing place with lots of independent cafes, restaurants, pubs and gift shops.  Broadstairs may be on the small side but full of character and interest.

At lunch time, I ventured into The Chapel Bar to enjoy a pint and check out the craft beers.  The Chapel Bar was an old book shop but has been adapted into a pub.  Really quirky because the shelves are still filled with books on everything from philosophy to literature.  Quite fascinating.  The owners were opening the doors as we arrived and my hubby and I entered the premises eager for a small libation but they weren’t really ready and took about 15 minutes to pour our beers!  A person could die of thirst in that place although the beer was delicious so I suppose it was worth the wait.

During the afternoon, we went back to the car, grabbed some beach stuff and sat on the superb beach.  It was lovely and had such a warm, family atmosphere even though the weather was cloudy.  After an afternoon of people watching, reading and snoozing we ventured into the Dickens’ pub for dinner.  This is a great place,  commands wonderful views of Viking Bay and is very busy.  Luckily, a large party left as we arrived and I managed to seize a table for two.    Then it happened.  They saw, they entered and conquered.  A group of ladies arrived en masse.  The noise was unbelievable and I couldn’t help noticing how most of them were tall and fabulous.  I quickly realised they all had six inch heels on!  Yes, I kid you not.  Never seen such glamour.  Hair done, makeup done, fab dresses on and boy they partied on.  Squashed next to me, screaming with laughter (not me), I managed to enjoy a scrumptious roast dinner but I was glad to depart.  They looked absolutely fabulous though and that is great to observe.

After rediscovering the nostalgic grandeur and quirkiness of Broadstairs, I decided that I must frequent it more often so I can explore the surrounding area.  Possibly a few days away next August for the annual folk festival…

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