Nice to be back in the Mansion House, but this with all the trimmings. An evening out with the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants, somewhat different to previous ICAEW events there (for me). Good to meet with the Lord Mayor, previous chair of Audit and Assurance Faculty (these faculties lead to good things!).
Tag Archives: london
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.
Strange bedfellows, but an interesting combination on the day. We visited the Royal Academy ‘Painting the Modern Garden – Monet to Matisse’ back in February.
The paintings at the RA were wonderful. Particularly worthwhile for me were the ‘Gardens of Silence’ collection and the final hall with an enormous triptych that had been gathered together for the exhibition. Definitely worthwhile booking the first slot, getting there early and then starting at the end first.
We then shot to Canary Wharf via the DLR (go from Bank for a brilliant view of the City). Although I go there often Rebecca has never been and it is good to revisit through the eyes of a first time visitor. The new Cross Rail terminal is particularly impressive.
New phone with a photo scanning button…
PS We visited Monet’s garden in 2013 – as reported earlier.
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.
Bravo to the team at Open House for another amazing opportunity to see inside London buildings not normally open to the general public. Chartered Accountants’ Hall normally joins in, but because of an extensive two year refurbishment decided to pass this year.
Due to an excellent seventy somethingth birthday thrown by Philip Taylor in the Reform (“in case he doesn’t make it to his 75th”) we actually awoke in one of the buildings in Open House. Being in Pall Mall, we thought a round trip of Marlborough House, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Banqueting House might be possible – and indeed it was.
All the buildings were stunning. Marlborough House (sadly unbeknownst to me before the visit) is a royal palace and the international HQ of the Commonwealth. Passing through the Blenheim Room (“one of the handsomest rooms in London”) we eventually made it to the State Drawing Room with the oversized meeting table set up for every country in the Commonwealth.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continued the theme of intimidating foreign visitors (back in them olden times) with spectacular architecture and art, the Locarno Suite being a highlight. What was surprising is how long this was hidden under plasterboard and pigeon droppings before being unearthed during extensive restoration in recent years (and still ongoing).
The Banqueting House has been on the to-do list for a long time, and it was worth the wait. The Rubens ceiling pays some time spent studying it, with some handily placed bean bags providing an ideal viewing opportunity as well as somewhere to rest!
We will certainly be back next year.
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.
Time for one last leavers’ assembly at Testboune, this time for Livi. The well rehearsed timetable flowed smoothly, and as it was Livi there was music involved (as well as a name-check over certain recent end of term pranks…). Always touching to see what the pupils have become over their time at school and interesting to compare photos now with photos when they joined five years ago. Having officially left school, most have returned immediately to continue their exams. To stop the tears flowing too much, Livi and I went to London after the event to see a recording of ‘Claire in the community’ (missing by minutes a performance outside the studio by Paul Weller for the One Show – much to Livi’s chagrin).
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?
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…
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.