Tuesday, December 13, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

A week ago, I was in London, having had a day trip to Cambridge, where I had the pleasure of meeting up with Gina, to see the fabulous Colour exhibit at the Fitzwilliam Museum.



The main staircase of the Fitz is rather splendid.

After being wowed by viewing Colour, we were joined by Celia and had a walk through Cambridge and a delicious lunch and another walk around Cambridge before I returned to London on an express train.

My Cambridge jaunt was my only time spent away from London.  My trip was all to short, and I definitely want to be able to take a longer UK visit next year.

Without further ado, let me share some of the photographs that I took with my iPhone.  Some of these might be among those I've already posted on Instagram.  Some will be fresh posts.


This carousel, complete with picket fence, has been set up next to an ice skating rink on the grounds of London's Museum of Natural History.  During most of my London stay, the weather was warm and sunny, and so the ice rink was not too icy.


This street scene was the view from my hotel window.


The next photo is one of Liberty's Christmas windows inspired by the Nutcracker ballet.


The flower stall at the Liberty entrance is always a pleasure to see.


Another sort of botanical inspiration could be seen suspended over Covent Garden's arcades.  I've never seen larger mistletoe!


Not too far away from Covent Garden is the Bloomsbury area.  On Lamb's Conduit Street may be found the charming Persephone Books shop.  I was fortunate to be in town on the day that Persephone held its annual Christmas open house, complete with mulled wine and mince pies.  In the following photograph you can see that the tray of mince pies was just about to be refilled.


Many of you all may already know of Persephone Books.  I'd encourage those of you who are not familiar with the publishing house or shop to have a look at the link I've provided above.


AS I left the book shop, I encountered a very sweet group of young carolers.  There is a video of this group over on my Instagram page.


I've been to London many times over the decades, and so each trip gives me many past memories against which to measure the new visit.  Tricia Guild's Design Guild shop on King's Road in Chelsea is always fun to visit.  Nowadays, I rarely buy anything, because my tiny apartment is already full.  I just like to see what is on display in London.


Over on the Hackney Road, I visited another friend, Barn the Spoon, who carves beautiful spoons from wood that has been rescued and recovered from various British wooded areas.  His shop is open only a few days each week, but it's great fun to stop by and see what he has been carving.


Another day, I rode the Tube up to the Angel station in Islington to visit Loop, an extraordinary yarn shop.  It is very difficult for a knitter like myself to leave this shop without buying something.


Only a few days after my visit, Loop and many surrounding shops along Camden Passage were flooded after a large water main's bursting.  Repairs are still ongoing, but the shop has found a way to keep going with its inspiring ways.


My hotel was located near the truly marvelous Victoria & Albert Museum, and I visited there many times, to looks at the galleries, the shops, the special exhibits and to dine in the Museum's restaurant.


Other galleries that I loved visiting were the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern.  There is an excellent Paul Nash exhibit at the Tate Britain.  Having read Pat Barker's trilogy about Slade School art students before and during WW I made a foundation upon which to view the Nash show.

The photo below was taken in the Tate Modern's rooms devoted to Louise Bourgeois.


Sunny blue skies appeared throughout my time in London, and it was fun to take a peek from the roof terrace of the Tate across the Thames to see that sharp Shard.


It was also a fine day to walk across the Millennium Bridge to have a close up view of St. Paul's.


And the pretty leaves on the green lawns around St. Paul's.


I very much enjoyed the Revolution exhibit at the V&A.  It chronicles lots of the changes that the western world was going through during my young adult years.  One is given headphones to wear when visiting the show, that key into the imagery of various displays that you will encounter.  


I found the exhibit quite an emotional tour, and within minutes of entering the first room was not sure whether I was going to laugh or cry.  Many memories arose during the hours I spent walking through the show.  If you all are of a certain age, I would definitely recommend it.  If you are younger, I would also recommend it.  

Visiting this exhibit so soon after the recent election in the States gave an additional resonance.

 My hotel was decorated for the season, and I wanted to take at least one photograph to convey the decor.  It was fun to recognize many staff members whom I first encountered quite a few years ago.


I'm always struck by the number of green spaces that one encounters around London.  I should have taken more photographs.


Here are a few photographs of the witty windows at Fortnum & Mason.  This is a Bull in a China Shop.


This window features many, many Santa letters that have arrived at the North Pole.


More greenery.


I noticed this florist shop as I was walking downhill on Kensington Church Street.  It reminded me that I would be late in starting my own paper white bulbs upon my return to NYC.


Royal Albert Hall and ice cream van still exist.


Albert Memorial with clouds.


Windswept cloud formations over South Kensington.


Now I am home, quite over my jet lag.  It is time for attending Holiday parties as we call them here in New York.  My Santa's workshop activities are at top pitch.  I am already looking forward to my next UK visit.

Thank you all for you visits and comments to that previous post about the Gingerbread City.  I've already baked one batch of brown sugar star-shaped buttery cookies.  Christmas is drawing closer.

51 comments:

  1. What a terrific visit. I love London but haven't been there for 30 years. So much to do and see. Loved your photos. Feeling homesick for carollers, bookshops and mince pies, ALbert Hall and those wonderful window displays.

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    1. It is my pleasure to share a bit of what I saw during my brief visit. December is a great time to see London. xo

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  2. Lovely Frances - it stirred up many memories. I used to go to London frequently and always stayed in the Rembrandt Hotel, which is close to the V and A. When I remarried and moved much further North (and got older!) I found the whole thing too much. I miss going so these photographs brought back happy memories.

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    1. Oh Pat, that is the hotel where I stayed! I love the cosy feeling of the place and the location cannot be beat.
      (I was amazed that I was able to get around London as much as I did...from my iPhone, I discovered that I was usually walking about 9 miles a day.) xo

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  3. I love that house seen from your hotel window - people keep showing me bits of London I have never seen, and there is always something old that is new to me.

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    1. Most of the times that I have stayed at the Rembrandt I've been able to have a room overlooking the V&A, but I also really liked seeing this view of North Terrace. By the end of my stay, a fresh greenery wreath had been hung on the door of the house next to the white house.

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  4. Goodness me you packed a lot in Frances but I guess pounding the New York streets as you do has prepared you for London. The Fitzwilliam museum is wonderful, I actually queued for the Vermeeer exhibition a few years ago, specifically to see the Lacemaker close up. Next time you're in Cambridge you may find time to visit Kettle's Yard, the former home of Jim Ede, a Tate curator, wonderful pared back rooms full of light with beautiful artwork casually arranged. You can also visit the house through the wonders of the Internet which takes you on a 360 degree virtual tour. The Paul Nash was good but the Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern blew me away. Here was an artist (who up until a month ago I had never even heard of) constantly pushing the boundaries, I loved it. As I have recently rediscovered knitting after a 35 year gap I too have made a pilgrimage to Loop. There is a lot of American wool on sale but I bought Eden Cottage Yarn from Yorkshire and realised how fortunate I am to have an excellent LYS in my nearest small town. (Gillian Gladrags' Fluffatorium.) Tonight I'm going to a knit and natter session in a local pub. I am knitting the Treehouse hat in undyed Romney Marsh wool and just about to start 15 rows of purl which will be perfect for tonight. Warmest seasons greetings to you Frances.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Sarah.
      There's so much to reply to! On another UK visit a few years ago, I met up with Celia Hart (whose comment is below) and we spent a lovely afternoon visiting Kettle's Yard, a place I had long wished to see. I've gotten the KY emails ever since, so that I can keep up with the renovations and constructions that are underway. The house is beyond compare!

      You might laugh at my confessing that I did not go to the Rauschenberg exhibit. I know his work very, very well, having visited NY galleries when it was first being shown, and seen some major shows of his work over here. I remember that after I would leave one of those shows, I would see "Rauschenberg images" all over the streets of of NYC. I am glad that you now know of his work.

      Your LYS sounds like a winner, as does the yarn you are using. It is so much fun to share knitting info. My great find at Loop was a book called Curls, that had just been published. Even the Loop staff were having their first perusals of its interesting pages...a type of construction of scarves and shawls. Check it out.

      xo

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  5. I hadn't realised that you had packed so much into your visit Frances. It was wonderful that you had time for a Cambridge visit. It was so good to see you again xx

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    1. Oh Gina, there were so many other places that I visited. I might have to do another London post! Seeing the Colour show with you was such a great treat! I am already looking forward to my next trip. xo

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  6. Green, pink and yellow with envy!
    xxxxx

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    1. Elizabeth, I am glad to have been able to convey some of the fun that I had during those eight days. xo

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  7. What a packed visit to the UK.Our son lives in Cambridge and that is where we will be spending Xmas.I am a fan of Persephone books and would love to visit the shop in London..

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    1. Oh how great to be in Cambridge for Christmas. I will be listening to the King's Lessons and Carols on the BBC on Dec 24. The first carol always makes me cry.

      Do fit in a visit to Persephone Books some time. It is a charming shop, with an atmosphere that honors readers. xo

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  8. You certainly used your time well and I'm pleased the weather was kind too. I knew about the Islington flood but didn't realise Loop had been affected, how dreadful for them. Hotels are lovely at Christmas time, I'm pleased you had such a lovely break.

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    1. It was a great trip, Celia. Being able to catch up with you and Gina was such a treat! Thank you again for the ride to the Station.
      I totally forgot to ask you about how you and your chickens are coping with the recent "incarceration" edict. I do wished we lived closer, because I am always thinking of things I would like to ask you, or share with you...whether it's art or knitting, or just people watchings.
      Did you see Sarah's comment above mentioning Kettle's Yard? Small world. xo

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    2. Mr Cheep and his hens have an enclosed pen we have attached to their henhouse, Cliff constructed it 'flat-pack' so it is stored in the garage and can be used if we need to keep them enclosed - and now we need to. We've seen hens still free ranging and of course the game birds - pheasants and partridges - are still about everywhere. We will see what transpires when the 30 day enclosure rule comes to an end.
      Sorry I had to rush you out of the car near the station! Like many locals, I completely forgot about the new road layout but luckily stopped before I got trapped in the new bus-only zone.
      x

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    3. Ahh Celia, good to hear that Mr Cheep and co are abiding by the law.
      Not to worry about the Station...I was so glad to have had the lift, and admired your quick thinking when the traffic pattern suddenly announced itself. Well done. xo

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  9. Goodness you were busy! You have shown me bits of Christmassy London that I haven't had time to seek out yet. I'm so sorry I missed you. Do come back soon. Or maybe our next trip to NY will be more leisurely and I won't miss you there too! Kettle's Yard will not reopen until June 2017 at the earliest so you haven't missed it.

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    1. Oh Lucille, I am also sorry that we couldn't connect this time around. Next time for sure...2017!
      On this recent trip, I tried for a balance of slow and speedier moments. I wanted to be able to appreciate the experiences I was so fortunate to be having.
      (I do get emails from Kettle's Yard, and am keeping an eye on the progress of the work going on there. Hoping that the House will retain its very unique atmosphere.
      xo

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  10. You certainly got around on your short visit. I really enjoyed looking at your photos.

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    1. Thank you...I enjoyed sharing some of my holiday with you all. I realize this morning that I have more tales to tell, so might have to do another post. xo

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  11. Dear Frances, You know your way through London. May I coma along on your next trip?
    You have shared a most special post. The Victoria and Albert Museum has always been my favorite Museum, however, now I see I must follow some of your suggestions. Thank you.
    By the way, it is never too late to start your Paperwhites.

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    1. Right you are, Gina. I usually keep the paper white progression going well into January if not February.
      I first visited London in the mid-1970s, and have seen the city change so much over the decades...same as NYC has changed so much. xo

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  12. What a wonderful time to visit London. I think the British Museum was my favorite and we found a flea market to go to. We went during September which was sunny too. We stayed in Belgravia and I really enjoyed Harrod's. We only had four days at the end of a three week European trip, so I'd love to go back.

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    1. Dear Donna, I hope you will be able to return to London for a longer stay. When you start planning, I would be delighted to pass along some of my favorite spots. xo

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  13. What an exciting tour of many of my favourite spots. Though it is so long since I was in London, I can still feel the buzz and the excitement that shows in your photos.

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    1. Elizabeth, I'm so glad that this post gave you a little taste of Christmas season in London. xo

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  14. You certainly packed a lot into your brief visit, Frances! It all sounds wonderfully evocative.

    Everywhere you mention has memories for me, of the years I lived in London. Reading this makes me realised I should visit more often. Let me know when you are next in the UK and perhaps we shall meet. I hope you have a wonderful New York Christmas xx

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    1. Marianne, I do promise to let you know when my next UK trip might be in the works. It would be grand to see you!

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  15. I love the Fitzwilliam Museum and a visit to Cambridge. My sister lives just 14 miles away so almost always visit there. Persephone Books is a great place to visit too and there is a wonderful Pub just down the road at the corner where we had a great lunch.

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    1. Lilbitbrit, looks like we do share some favorite places to visit. On one of my London visits, I stopped by Persephone, and actually helped Nicola and the staff with one of their mailings. It was fun to sit around the large round table and chat as we stuffed envelopes.
      I know the pub you mean, and might stop there for lunch during a future visit. xo

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    1. I did indeed, Liz. Even the weather was perfect! xo

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  17. Wonderful wonderful! Lucky you! What a trip, and having been there so many times, you must really know your way around. It would take weeks to visit everything of interest in London. The Museums would be of great interest to me, and the book store seems a marvelous place.

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    1. It really was a grand holiday, Jeri. I make a little list before I travel, with notes about places to see. If I don't quite manage to fit all of them in, there is always another chance next time. xo

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  18. I like the photos, Frances, and I love the witty window! My wish is to visit London one day.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I appreciate your comments so much, Maria. I love visiting London, and wanted to share some of those happy days with you all.
      I always admire excellent display windows that manage to do just a bit more than show products for sale.
      Hoping you will visit London soon. Late spring is another wonderful time. xo

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  19. Lovely post and lovey, lovely London!
    Warm hug from Titti

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    1. It is always such fun to spend time in London, Titti. Particularly during the weeks leading to Christmas! xo

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  20. Lovely pictures from the most lovely town, London! So nice to see and follow you there...
    Love from Titti

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  21. So lovely views from your trip in London I love that City!!Nice to see all ...a big kiss

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    1. Gabri, even though I have been to London many times, the place still captivates me. Particularly around this time of the year. xo

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  22. Hello Frances,

    I went to see the Gingerbread City yesterday on a nice bright sunny day and thought it was extraordinary and delightful. The lady who was there was very nice and I told her all about you and she was really interested to learn how I knew about it. When I went over to the V & A afterwards I told several people to go and visit. Thank you for sharing your trip to my home city and I learnt s verbal things from you. If you visit again the Sky Garden is a must it is very close to the shard but is free to go up, but you need to book beforehand.
    Have a lovely Christmas.
    Hazel c uk

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    1. Hazel, I am so glad that you were able to see the Gingerbread City! It really is quite a creation with so many different hands involved.

      Yes, I know about that Sky Garden, and hope to find time to visit it on my next trip to London. There is always something else to discover over there! Happy Christmas to you. xo

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  23. Oh, what a wonderful jaunt! Your pictures take me there! Thank you so much!

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    1. My pleasure entirely, Vicki. Tomorrow, I plan to post some of the photographs I recently taken around NYC.

      (Think that I might just have baked my last cookie for this Christmas season....but won't swear to it.) xo

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  24. As always a wonderful journey with you my friend. Loved every word and picture.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and we'll catch up over the holiday season,
    Beannachtai na Nollaig
    I.E

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    1. Dear Irish Eyes, glad that you enjoyed seeing a bit of London dressed up for Christmas. i will soon be posting some views of NYC...I've finally finished baking cookies! xo

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