Congratulations to Milly for graduating in July – brilliant result! Great/surreal to be back in Bristol Cathedral (having spent seven years of my life there). Also good to speak to the Chancellor to hear from him what is possible (coming from humble beginnings to running the NHS). Prosecco in the tent, lunch in the Avon Gorge Hotel and dinner in the Florist – great day.
Tag Archives: food
A Caravaggio sandwich
Preferring to celebrate the latest birthday on Friday rather than Monday, Rebecca and I took time to visit the Caravaggio exhibition at the National Gallery. A quick lesson learned about reading the small print and the exhibition title (‘Beyond Caravaggio’ involved lots of friends and acquaintances, with rather less of the master on show than expected). Of those there, the paintings from Caravaggio himself seemed to far outshine his contemporaries – but the exhibition is certainly worth a visit. We learned about light and dark, story-telling, metaphors and death. The evening lecture from Andrew Graham-Dixon was a revelation and revealed many dark secrets about the painter. The sandwich came from the excellent lunch at Le Gavroche – the set business lunch is really quite exceptional and recommended.
V&A Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
A late mention of the recent excellent exhibition at the V&A where there were shoes a plenty, from the lost Cinderella Swarovski crystal shoe, through the Red Shoes, Egyptian sandals, tudor boots, the latest 3D printed shoes and all places in between. I am sure there was a reason as to how they were laid out, but it passed me by. A quick tour round the fabulous Cast Rooms before lunch at the evergreen Bluebird. Unusually traffic disappeared from Regent Street from early evening onwards for the London Lumiere – so one obviously had to walk down the middle of the road to take advantage… Excellent lights in Leicester Square.
Exe to Aix to Monte Carlo
Another visit to Bryony in Aix, this time with Rebecca. A different place to stay, a lovely old house on the hill above Aix, which meant driving to and from the property (so not too many evening sherbs in town). Wonderful to walk around the old town again, see the university and travel a little further afield. Sunday included a day trip to Monaco, (a monied place!), with coffee in front of the Casino – and this time not dressed to enter (memories of missing the last bus back to Nice years ago with work colleagues and walking the streets until morning).
Looking forward to a return visit in March – this time with Rebecca and Livi. By that trip I will have visited Bryony more times in Aix than I have visited her in Exeter – shame on me.
Having seen developments over the years and noting it is Bryony’s favourite museum, I thought I should go and see the British Museum to see if it measured up. The answer is an emphatic yes; despite the huge numbers of people entering the museum, the village like capacity of the interior meant there was plenty of room for everyone. First time too to see the Elgin marbles and wonder whether they should be there or back in Athens. Difficult question. Ended the day back in the excellent Searcy’s with a fab view of the city.
In response to Livi’s proclamation that last year’s stay at Charmouth (which coincided with the Sidmouth Folk Festival) was the ‘best holiday she had ever been on’, we thought we should repeat the exercise as we were rapidly running out of daughters interested in coming on holiday with us and thought we should make it vaguely appealing as a result. So back to Charmouth, back to Sidmouth (thanks Blowzabella and Mara) and back to the Bee Hive Café. Grey skies and cooler temperatures were not going to be an issue for this week. We were even joined by Bryony for a few days at the start.
With all the kids in Spain, there was an unmissable opportunity to do something whilst they were away. That was a visit to Lewtrenchard Manor, our honeymoon hotel, and still in the hands of the original owners (after a brief, sad episode in the hands of Von Essen). Our visit coincided with a tour of the house and gardens, which filled in several missing details of an extensive history, much of it intertwined with Rev Sabine Baring Gould (of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ fame), whose ancestors owned the estate for many years and which he spent much time improving. A few days away at this place seemed like much longer, and a great opportunity to meet up with a fellow St Oswald…
A Wellcome back to Bluebird
Following an email invitation to visit the Wellcome Collection’s latest exhibition (why do I open them?) I suggested that the subject material might be of interest to Milly and her upcoming Psychology A Levels. As apparently everything on the invite was of interest, plans were made to visit the collection in the Euston Road. I have not been there before, despite a few near misses, and was hugely impressed with the exhibitions, facilities and atmosphere of the building. Certainly worth a visit if you haven’t been. Following a very brief stop at the latest Saatchi exhibition (Patek Philippe watches) which we continued down the King’s Road to Bluebird and a brief cycle round the opulent and surprisingly quiet streets of Chelsea. One very pleasant interlude was meeting cousin Jan on her way to a lecture quite by chance outside the Wellcome building – now what are the chances of that?
Atop the Gherkin
Well, 30 St Mary Axe to be precise. Having been in a few times, but never to the top, it was good to get an opportunity to finally get there via Searcy’s, who have been opening a few slots in their restaurant on the 39th floor. The inside is perhaps even more extravagant than the outside (especially the view right to the top from the restaurant) and the food was excellent. Interesting to look across to the other towers we have visited recently. Just waiting for the Cheesegrater to open something up on their top floor…
Walkie talkie birthday visit
Another birthday, another excuse to visit one of London’s newer towers, this time 20 Fenchurch Street. The Sky Garden at the top has recently been opened to the public along with two separate restaurants. After a slightly extended journey (change of trains at Basingstoke and a diversion around St Paul’s, as the Queen was attending a service to commemorate one year since the end of the British presence in Afghanistan) we went for a visit to the top, nipped into Leadenhall Market, took lunch in the delightful Darwin restaurant and went home via Borough Market. The views from the top of 20 Fenchurch Street were magnificent, with sloping glass helping. We even got to view the flypast of helicopters, a Hercules and a couple of jets looking down from Darwin. Worth a visit to the top.