I have just returned from 2 weeks in Teddington looking after my brother and sister-in-law's house whilst they were on holiday in Thailand. When I say "looking after their house" that included and tankful of tropical fish, some fish in the garden pond, the garden and last but by no means least, their cat, Moonshine (see picture) who is an absolute delight and wonderful company. I thoroughly enjoyed myself as Teddington is very well placed for visiting a number of interesting places.
They are about 40 minutes walk through Bushey Park (a delight in itself) to Hampton Court. I visited there on a day when they had a whole programme of re-enactments based on the marriage of Henry Vlll to Katherine Parr including sword fighting, falconery, music, cooking in the Tudor kitchens and, of course, his majesty with his new bride parading before his loyal subjects. "God save the King" we cried and bowed our heads as he passed (whilst holding our cameras up to catch the magic moment.
I also visited the Picasso Exhibition about to finish at the National Gallery which looked at the influence of earlier painters on Picasso and at his interpretations of their works. Absolutely fascinating and thought provoking.
Another day was spent at the National History and the Victoria and Albert Museums. In the past I have spent many a happy hour in both museums in the early 70's when I lived in London and again in the early 80's when I was a student at nearby Imperial College but I was surprised at the changes made, for the better, I must say, at both Museums. It was a bit like re-discovering a treasure that had been forgotten. I will try not to leave it so long before I re-visit.
The same is true of the British Museum, which I visited on another day. I think the last time I visited that estimable institution was when I queued for 6 or more hours to see the Tutankhamun Exhibition which was some time in the 70's. Since then they have built a new part which I think is a rather good space. Whilst in that neck of the woods I also made a maiden trip to Cornelissons, an art suppliers which no one should miss visiting if they get a chance. Needless to say money exchanged hands.
Kew Gardens also had a visit from yours truly. Normally when I go to Kew it is on a coach day trip where you have a limited amount of time to see everything. This time I had all day so I took the opportunity to walk as far as the pagoda and also to see some of the other areas I had never found time to visit. The highlight of this visit was the new Siriol Sherlock Gallery, built next to the Marianne North Gallery which is currently being refurbished to which I say hoorah because it really is a jewel in Kew's crown. The new gallery is brilliant and well worth the visit. I understand the exhibits will change periodical. Currently there are botanical drawings in various mediums and from the 18th century through to modern artists. It is well laid out and worth the entrance fee alone....well almost. Added to which they also have a very good selection of books on related subjects, for sale...... I did, on this occasion, manage to resist temptation satisfying myself with a couple of postcards.
Well, enough of my journeyings for the present. Next blog will be back to matters artistic??