A lovely week in North London


We arrived back into London/Woking late on Wednesday 1 April.  We packed up once again and the next morning  John headed down to the Isle of Wight to go in a two handed sailing race to Cherbourg, France for Easter and I headed to London.  Thursday night I had dinner with Matilda and Hooz and slept on their loungeroom floor.  They headed off to Ireland early the next morning, so there was just Jacko and I left as Lala had gone to France.  We had a nice morning together … Jacko is one of my favourite people.  We did a spot of cleaning together and then I headed off to North London where I was lucky enough to be able to stay at Friedericke Eben and Tony Delamothes lovely home for a week while they were having a holiday in Australia.

Saturday I decided that it was time to get fit so donned the hiking boots and walked 10 km into Travalgar Square to the National Gallery and went to the Inventing Impressionism exhibition.  I thought it was fantastic.

A quote from the booklet:

“Impressionism is now one of  painting’s best loved movements, yet it produced some of the most controversial images of its time.  It owes much of its global success to the endeavours of one man:  Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922).  From the late 1860s to his retirement in 1913, Durand-Ruel championed painters whose works had been shunned by the art establishment and which had little hope of being seen.”

The artists exhibited were:  Renoir, Rodin, Rousseau, Courbet, Delacroix, Pisarro, Monet, Manet (my favourite), Sisley, Degas, and Cezanne … just to name a few.  The paintings were borrowed from many different art galleries around the world and many were from private collections.  I absolutely loved the exhibition and felt so lucky to see so many of my favourite artists all in one exhibition … especially the paintings from private collections that I will probably never get to see again.  I was actually a bit emotional at one stage.

I left there and walked about 7 km north again through Regents Park which is looking lovely.  I finally gave up and caught the tube from Camden.

I was shattered when I got home and fell into bed.  The next morning I realised that once again I had the flu.  The same thing happened to John which meant that we had done the classic and caught the flu from the flight.

Sunday I tried to walk again but I just wasnt well enough.  John arrived at the house on Monday afternoon.  Tuesday we both felt pretty buggered so stayed at home and planted some vegetable seedlings for Tony that he had run out of time to get planted.  It was the first time that we had ever gardened together and it was quite a lot of fun.

On Wednesday John went and did some jobs in town and I went to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Unfortunately I really didn’t enjoy it.  It had been given a huge amount of press and I had to prebook tickets … However, they still really oversubscribed it and there were way too many people inside the exhibition at one time.  I also thought that it was badly designed as it was too difficult to read the information unless you were standing right in front of it.  With so many people there it was impossible to get the most out of the exhibition.  Very disappointing.

It was school holidays to add insult to injury and it was just too hard to try and spend time in the rest of the museum because it was overcrowded as well.  So my plan to spend the week doing museums came to a standstill because I couldn’t deal with the crowds.

Thursday John went and helped a friend move while I had lunch with Till.  Then John and I went out for dinner with Peter and Glenys Steer.  They are the loveliest people and we had a great night with them.  Peter is now head of the Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital … the best childrens hospital in the world.  So basically the position is the holy grail for Peter.  He is really enjoying the new position and they are both excited to have the opportunity to live in London.

Friday we headed back to Woking and Saturday we jumped in the van and drove to a reservoir near Oxford for John to compete at a Contender regatta.  As always it was great to catch up with people in the contender fraternity.  Chris Boshier, our lovely friend that carts Johns boat around Europe, came and stayed in the van with us and we had a nice pub meal down the road.  What absolutely blew me away was the fact that we crossed a small bridge and had to pay a 5 pence toll.  Can you believe that a man stands there and collects 5p!

Sunday the wind came in and Chris and John decided not to sail.  So we packed up early and headed back to Woking to do the final pack up.  Monday morning we caught a flight to Istanbul.  I won’t be going back to England probably until the end of the year.  However, John will have to fly back to pick up the van and take it to France for Contender sailing about 14 May.  By then hopefully I will be trekking with Mary Rose in Umbria, Italy.

We will have the week here and then overland it by bus probably into Northern Greece and then eventually into Italy where we will meet Till, Hooz, Jacko, Lala, Xandy and Charlotte near Positano for the Mayday weekend.

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