Wednesday, April 21, 2010

London in the spring: Friday 16th to Tuesday 20th April 2010

Been away. You may have guessed this, but given my erratic blogging, possibly not!

Anyway, we had a spiffy few days in London, marred only by my being rather unwell on Monday 19th (I'm unsure whether to blame the curry or the chill I caught sat in the BFI - the latter being ironic given that our first visit there had proven insufferably hot - a screening of the Lancaster classic 'The Killers').

Pizza Paradiso - of course, topped off with a glass of limoncello each on the house. Well, we were the last in there and they know us well after all these years.

A good walk round the block, picking up the tube back to the hotel and watching late night TV.

Awake at ridiculous o'clock so we hit out for an early breakfast at Bar Brunos. We were so early even after finishing eating that staff were still breaking into Forbidden Planet so we headed round the block back to the tube to head to Marylebone. Visited Alfie's and marvelled at the prices for retro chic before wandering into Marylebone itself and into Daunts. Of course.

Stopped off for a half of much needed cider before getting the tube to Angel / Islington (no chuckling at the back there) and Neil walking me through the delights of Camden Passage where 1930s dresses were dazzling my eyes. Of course, all the ones I really loved (especially in Annie's) were at the higher end of the price range (though I noticed not as high as Alfie's prices were. Hmmm). Interstingly, we noticed when we dropped by Anthropologie - a shop I had nearly bought things from in Santa Monica where dresses were selling at approx $60 - that prices there made the one-off's of Annie's look VERY good value. £188 for a chain produced dress versus £180 for an original 1930s dress. Which do YOU think I would have gone for if I had been actually buying something...?!

On Saturday we also headed to the South Bank where we picked up the tickets for a screening of Butch Cassidy for the Sunday at the BFI.

We had a stop-off for Doctor Who which was... well, fun but on the could-do-better scale. Never mind.

A meal at Ristorante Cappuccetto near Cambridge Circus was a fine end to the day, with us ordering 3 mains between the two of us (well, I don't really count gnocchi with gorgonzola as a main, more of a side dish really) and a salad. I think the staff thought us mad, but we polished off the whole lot with ease.

A nice walk and then back to the hotel for more late TV.

If it's Sunday in London, it's Spitalfields, S&M (and a very cheery waiter) and lots of wishing I lived nearer to this treat. Still, I saw my favourite designer Nina (of Enienay) and found some nice goodies for myself and Neil. Sadly my brain was possibly already frying as I completely forgot to use the visit to buy presents for people. Which just confirms the 'if it doesn't beep on my fone reminders, I will forget' syndrome I suffer from. Grr and apologies.

We then head to the South Bank to meet Poly (hello!!!) and have some very nice cheeses and chips before the film. The film of course was great, full of those sparkling one-liners for which Goldman so well-deserved his plaudits.

We regroup ourselves and head back to Brick Lane and have a very nice curry and then a long walk back via the City, Bank of England, Fleet Street and Covent Garden.

Did I say that London has been bright and beautiful for the whole trip? And no contrails either. Good job we weren't flying anywhere. We start the day late and head to Whitechapel for a visit to Freedom Press. Nice to support independent political bookshops. We then head back to town to grab a sandwich at Brunos before taking in a trip to the NPG for their Glastonbury and the Format Photography mini-shows (I rather like their one-room shows). We have a big night ahead, so while Neil visits Hausmanns I rest up reading my Doctor Who mag at the hotel, recuperating for the evening's visit to the theatre.

We have tickets for Enron which is fabulous, even if the characters are all unrepentant shits. There was a surprising number of bankers in the audience (go figure) but the performances and staging were wonderful - even if Neil was left somewhat traumatised by the unexpected sight of Sam West's moobs.

Breakfast at Brunos, moderately early and the staff are in fine form of chatty friendliness. We then go for a walk and wander to lots of new places. We see the first contrails of our stay, visit the sound sculpture of Bill Fontana at Somerset House (brilliantly evocative) and stand in the sun looking across the river. We stroll through the old bit of King's College (masked from the Strand side by its awful 20th century concrete frontage) - and I also note now that they have recently taken over some of Somerset House itself. We then head through to Inner Temple and Temple Church. I feel like I'm walking through Rumpole, Law and Order UK, Judge John Deed territory. We then wander into St Dunstan in the West with the giant clock strikers and then on to Sam Johnson's house (a great place to see!) and a further wander through the back streets towards Ely Place and St Etheldreda's Catholic church. We stop off for a drink at Ye Olde Mitre pub before we find ourselves in Hatton Gardens in jewelry territory and I amazingly find myself drawn to the a gorgeous Art Deco Sapphire and diamond ring. It is of course the most expensive of all the hundreds on display at a rocking £14,800. Cripes. (I can't find the item online of course, but trust me: it was beautiful)

We then set off wandering off through Lincoln's Inn Fields and marvel at the lush greenery and architecture of barrister land. We drop in for a quick visit to the oddity that is Freemason's Hall and finally head back to Pizza Paradiso for a final meal before collecting our bags and heading for the train.

I'll try and add pictures and links soon.

1 comment:

Jane Henry said...

oh oh oh, your visit ended up at my old stamping ground. Used to work on New Fetter Lane, round the corner from Dr J's house, got my engagement ring at Hatton garden... Used to go to the Cheshire Cheese for lunch. (also if you've never done it, good Dickens haunts round there - the Inns of Court where Pip lived - name escapes me!! of High Holborn - and Bleeding Heart Yard from Little Dorrit. There used to be a great wine bar called The Bleeding Heart which gave the whole legend of BHY - Lady someone or other who got caught out with her lover, and her husband chased her. She left her shoe in Shoe Lane, cloak in Cloak Lane and heart in Bleeding Heart Yard. Yuk!)

Glad you had a good time. It has been FAB in the south without planes. They're back in force today and tho pleased for all those stranded, can't say I'm glad to have them back!