I'll post about the rest of my Cheltenham Literary Festival later. I went to London this weekend to see the poppies at the Tower of London or Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
as it's officially called. While I am happy I was able to see them in person, the actual experience of seeing them was deeply unpleasant. They don't really have a system in place to let everyone see them so you're basically shoving your way to the front and crushed on all sides. This is even more unpleasant if you're under 5'7" or 170cm, like me. I was glad when we left (still haven't managed to eat at The Kitchen @ Tower, next time). I discovered that my father has never actually visited the Tower of London (despite the fact he studied in London in the 1970s) and I promised to take him next time we're there.
We then went to the Constable exhibition at the V&A. It was great to see his big works right there with all the details I usually miss: The Hay wain
, Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Ground
, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows
, as well as many of his studies and full scale sketches, including his watercolour of Stonehenge
. The exhibit was really good in that they'd managed to gather paintings from the Old Masters (primarily Dutch) who had influenced and inspired Constable so you could see from where he drew his influence. In some cases, he'd just copied the painting and had to add something to make sure they knew it was a copy and not the original!
Dad and I wanted to eat at our favourite South Kensington Italian, Pierino, but it was full when we stopped by, even though it was half past two in the afternoon. I spotted another restaurant around the corner and we were able to get a table there. This restaurant is called Daquise
: Daquise happens to be one of the oldest Polish restaurants in the UK, dating back to 1947, and unbeknownst to us was a key location in the Profumo affair of the 1960s! Dad had tomato soup to start and venison meatballs for main, while I had bigos
(hunter's stew) to start and veal schnitzel to follow (topped with a fried egg), but the bigos
was so filling that I had to leave some of the mashed potato and carrots behind. A little expensive but very, very nice food.
After that, we went back to Waterloo to catch the train home and I bought a couple of things from Lush. We drove through the rain that had been lashing the west of the country on our way back home and I decided that I was too tired and it was too wet to go and do some more standing, even for fireworks.
And then I had my heart broken by Doctor Who
. All in all, a great weekend.