Number One, London

Today Lovely Lindsay, Prof. Peter and I toddled of for a day of culture in London. First stop was Apsley House, home of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington.

It was known as Number One, London because it was the first house encountered from the countryside after passing the tollgates at the top of Knightsbridge.

As well as various Wellington artefacts (no boots, you have to go to Walmer Castle for that), there’s a fantastic art collection, including Velázquez portrait of Pope Innocent I (as found in Joseph Bonaparte’s baggage when he was fleeing after Waterloo).

The most impressive is this Canova sculpture of Napoleon.

Interestingly, Napoleon didn’t want the statue when it was finished. One wonders if Wellington was chuffed when he had it presented to him. Apart from anything else, he had to have the hall floor reinforced!

As, this is the closest weekend to Waterloo Day (June 18th) – there were various ‘special events’. Will we regret avoiding:

The Battle of Waterloo with Vegetables – every move of the battle with nothing but as basket of whatever comes to hand.

It was all a bit too much for some!

Metropolitan Madness

Some friends of ours from university, who live in North Berwick, were down in London for the weekend. As we hardly ever get to see them, I had a quick dash down to meet them.

They were staying in the Marriott by Regent’s Park, so I decided to take the coach down to Hillingdon; then Metropolitan Line to Finchley Road; then one stop to Swiss Cottage on the Jubilee Line.

However, I hadn’t checked and turned up at Hillingdon to find that part of the Metropolitan line was out for repairs, and all of the Jubilee. If I’d been thinking straight, I’d have hopped back on the coach, but I wasn’t! So I took the Piccadily Line to Rayner’s Lane; bus from Rayner’s Lane to Wembley Park; one stop on the Metropolitan to Finchley Road (handy for the Freud Museum), and legged it down to Regent’s Park to meet everyone at the ‘Honest Sausage Cafe‘.

I stopped briefly to take this pic of the Swiss Cottage, at Swiss Cottage. It satisfies me on a very profound level that Swiss Cottage has a Swiss Cottage.

As well as catching up with Sadie, David and their girls – it was a chance to see Fr Weeping Cross and Toby.

As you can see from this shot of Sadie, it was almost dark by the time we got together, but it made for excellent plane spotting.

Sadly, I could stay with everyone not much longer than an hour or so then make my way home (the return journey was somewhat easier: no30 bus to Marble Arch; then pick up the coach from there).

I shouldn’t have been surprised really – chaos normally accompanies any meeting with the Maskery-Hopkinson clan. 🙂

Exhibitions I want to see…

OK folks – time to brave the world beyond The Tollbridge again. I would like to go and see:

Lee Miller at the V&A

Hockney on Turner at the Tate Britain

Millais also at Tate Britain

Daily Encounters at the NPG

The Naked Portrait at Compton Verney (I’ve already seen this in Edinburgh – it’s super)

Goya at the New Art Gallery Walsall

My plan is to start putting my Fridays to good use, and go look at art rather than do the ironing (or find excuses not to the ironing). If you fancy any of these, let me know quickly and we can fix a date. Otherwise, I’m going to please myself and boogie on down (or up) on my ownsome.

Plus, as I’m currently ‘working to rule’ you may not get postcards!

PS I missed The Terracotta Army!