Oh, that holiday. Loved it. Brief, too brief, but I packed in a lot for my limited time and though I missed hooking up with some friends and family, I had fun, I met many nice, kindly folks (especially north of the border) and I saw things I never dared think I would.
History happened, too. I always wanted to be in the UK the day She died, and so I was (and I have the souvenir editions to prove it). The experience on the street was entirely different from the way it was reported, just a lot of people talking quietly about how they or a loved one had had their hopes and dreams stolen. No wild parties, just on going lives, rudely readjusted.
I will type up the diaries later, but basically, wow. Just, wow. Landed at 1.35pm, was on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery at 4.15pm to see the Man Ray exhibition, whom I love. Sadly it meant trying to see tiny, tiny images over the shoulders of a rugby scrum, and they were built like rugby forwards, too, so I didn't see much, but what I did see I loved. I love his symmetry, his play of light and dark, his quirky. Also saw an exhibition of Native American portraits (only fair after last year) which were competent at best but as a record, outstanding, then I rippe through the rest of the gallery before cloding time. Hello, Drake, Byron, Jane, Charlotte, William...and, and the most adorable pic of Roger Moore from the set of the Saint.
The first full day, merrily finding my way (I seem to know London better than Sydney these days), St Pauls in the sunshine, good, hot tea at at cafe next to The Globe, seeing the Lichtenstein exhibiton at the Tate, which I just loved to bits. All my faves, so I was in squee heaven, especially Drowning Girl, a facsimilie of which I had on my highschool journal, proving that I was at least aware of the forms of behaviour a teenaged girl was supposed to indulge in, if not actually allowed to be a teenaged girl myself. It gave a me such a thrill of recognition, familiarity and nostalgia to see it.
Enjoyed the rest of the Tate Modern, too. The last time I went it was all a bit blah but I have since tried to educate myself and I can now recognise a Bacon, Kandinsky, Gris or Matisse when I walk in a room. I even recognised some of the expressionist pieces which I'd seen in the Mad Square exhibition.
Toddled along the bank to the Courtauld where they had more Picasso, toddled across to Lincoln Square for another stickybeak into Sir John Sloane's House and the Huntarian Museum, which is ideal for those on a budget, as it's free and you sure won't want dinner after seeing all those things in jars.
Finished up with Ben Whishaw and Judy Dench in Peter and Alice and that was amazing. Ben is so intense, so always on the verge of a breakdown, and to see Dame Judy turn into a ten year old girl before my eyes on stage. Now that's acting. Such a sad sad story. I'm so glad I saw the Belvoir's joyful Peter Pan before I saw this. Heartbreaking. Afterwards, Ben was such a sweetie, signing for everyone in the freezing cold. He is a darling.
Next day it was off the the Museum of London, who have ruined their Roman gallery beyond all redemption but the rest was still good, hello to my favourite pointy shoes and the new Victorian Walk which wasn't open the last time I was there. Saw the exhibition on Burkers which was gruesome but educational. Still managed to have a lovely lunch in a nearby pub that said it was established in 1779 (!) - maybe the ancestors had had a quick one there, I was in their neighbourhood, after all.
Fnished the day with young McAvoy in Macbeth. Himself laughed so when it was revealed to be post-apocalyptic Shakespeare as that is my least favourite genre (so much so that it was a good 25 yeas before I set foot in a theatre again) but to me I just found it so Belvoir I was laughing. Someone had clearly seen Thyestes, right down to the seats on both sides of the stage facing each other and the abrupt scene changes.
That said it was still starkly stunning, so much better than the Bell production I'd seen. The people I was sitting next to were lovely, too. Young McAvoy was very brusque at the stage door, but it had been an intense performance. Even so, he nicked my sharpie, and they're so hard to come by here (was one of my dwindling New York stash). Harumph.
Next day it was off to the British Library to see the A-Z of crime fiction, which was fun. I discovered there's a term for murderous mayhem in small English towns, and I read a page of Sherlock in Doyle's own hand. Ripped through the treasures (it's all too much, Austen, Magna Carta, Beatles). And then it was snowing. Actually snowing. Hard. Lots. I was supposed to be walking this path I'd mapped out through Marylebone and Soho to the Royal Academy but sod that, as the snow was whipping along, so I took refuge in the Wallace Collection instead, which I enjoyed more than I have before (first floor, cups and saucers, ground floor, axes and pikes) because I was cold and tired but not driping with cold. Then I went and had afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason (because it was really snowing heavily, and why the keck not?). I had Earl Grey tea and a Victoria sponge, and I ordered a hamper for the rels to make up for my phone not working (it's a thing, I had to phone Optus in Oz eventually). The look on the tailcoated gent's face when he saw that Madam was indeed a registered customer. Priceless.
And classy, I like to think. At least, everyone I spoke to agreed tea at F&M was the best solution to unexpected blizzards and a F&M hamper makes a good apology. I need reassurance, because I always get this stuff wrong.
Across to the RA for a disappointing Manet exhibition, and I felt guilty (Himself is the real Manet fan). I liked the Bellows exhibition better, I loved the painting of Riverside Drive which I recognised instantly.
Finished off with the Pinter play and young Rufus Sewell. It was okay, but I was tired and the cheap nasty rose had it me like a brick. I had to go to the bar because it was either that or returning the violence to that vile woman in the red parka who kept trampling over me in every queue. Fortunately Rufus was a sweetie at the stage door. Swoon. (I usually consider myself a Pinter fan, but like I said, I was tired and out of sorts).
Next day involved staggering about the British Museum until I lost the will to live. Ice Age art was swoon-worthy, hated Pompeii, so crowded I just wanted Out! Out! Out! Ditto the Egtptian galleries, and sadly as always the galleries I'd picked to explore were closed but I saw my Sutton Hoo stuff and my Lewis chessmen, saw some First Peoples stuff. Staggered around the corner to the Cartoon Museum which was hardly worth the five pound ticket but it had some quirky pieces. Ended up out at Swiss Cottage (I love Tube station names) to see Longing, based on Chekhov and starring Iain Glen. Hubba hubba. And he was a honey at the stage door (inside, fer once) but took off with my last sharpie.
The next day I was on the way to Inverness. Good choice on the Royal Inverness. Oh, it's a bit shabby, and the walls paper thin (the terrifying snorts and snarls of the man/beast next door kept me awake both nights), but it was metres away from the station entrance, important in the snow, and they served haggis for breakfast I'd almost forgotten how much I loved haggis.
Tok a bus tour to Loch Ness, Urquhart castle, Eilean Donan castle and Skye. I froze, but I had fun. There were a couple of other solo travellers and while the groups stuck together with their packed lunches we strolled into a snug pub and rolled back to the bus very merry indeed after sampling the local ales. Finished up with a cuppa by a roaring fire on the way back to Inverness. The perfect tour.
Off to Dundee, and Glamis castle (in keeping with the MacBeth theme). That was fun, and everyone was so kind, even letting me wait by the fire in the cafe while they called a cab - it was snowing again and like hell was I walking. Back in Dundee proper and I'm tipped off to visit the gallery. So glad I did, it's quickly become a fave. It has a mummy, inuit harpoons, pictish carvings and a Rossetti! And it wasn't overcrowded, so I could muse with Zulu shields, Roman coins and fossils all by myself. Bliss!
More haggis for dinner, porridge for breakfast then off to Edinburgh (where I was able to pick up some more sharpies, just as well, as I was surrounded by sharpie pilfering Scotsmen). A quick whirl through the gallery to see the Rev and the Van Goghs and Renoirs and Degas and the rest then back on the train to eventually meet up with my Uncle in the hotel bar. He had trouble finding it even though I said it was actually and literally on top of the tube station - I think they'd already changed the street numbers - grin.
Great night. The next day it was off to see the Bowie exhibition at the V&A. Wow. Just wow. I was amazed, thrilled, everything. I am such a fan, and this was just everything to me. I've still got all the songs laying in my head. The costumes, the lyrics, the clips. Best exhibition ever. Proper pilgrimage. I cannot tell you how much I adored it (in every sense of the word), how I lingered over every holy relic. I was so excited to get my ticket. It did not disappoint. Despite being frogmarched back to the record shop in disgrace as a child by a livid parental unit, I was, and remain, a Bowie fan (and you can't stop me). This was the very knees of bees.
Meant to do the rest of the VA but it was stacked wth screaming kids (lemme outta here) so I did the fashion bit and fled. Popped into Harrods and then went back to hotel...and found them filming Sherlock on the way. Whoo and hoo. The cat in the hat.
You'll have to forgive the lack of Martin in the pics. He's there, it's just that, well, you know, that whole Hobbit thing? No cgi required.
At least the pics worked after a fashion, which is more than can be said for anything/anyone else I tried to take piccies of, having packed the special camera for taking fuzzy and out of focus pictures (basically it doesn't do thesps in low light and using flash isn't polite or wanted and on film sets they get very cross about it indeed, so no piccies, pout, pout).
Never mind. I had all my treats. Finally made it home (after three days) to bills, blocked up plumbing and screaming bosses. Small wonder I'm curled up on the couch under a pile of tissues, all grumpy and miserable.
Travel in a bygone era
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective
George Bellows (1882-1925): Modern American Life
David Bowie celebrated in new exhibition
David Bowie retrospective unveiled by V&A museum
David Bowie: the show goes on at the V&A
V&A exhibition shows how David Bowie shaped fashion history
David Bowie, the V&A and Medieval Pilgrimage
Is Sherlock Holmes in the Public Domain?
Neil Gailman To Edit SFX
My Secret Life: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, 42, actor
Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Jaime Lannister's Shocking Loss
'Game of Thrones' show runners on Jaime Lannister's evolution
It's a game changer for Jaime Lannister: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
It Takes a Villain
Joss Whedon on Writing 'The Avengers 2'
Dr Who Dalek found in pond
Doctor Who too sexy: original director
'Doctor Who? It destroyed my acting career'
BBC to play Ding Dong in chart show despite anti-Thatcher Facebook push
Margaret Thatcher: The politician British pop music loved to hate
Margaret Thatcher: punk's patron saint
How Margaret Thatcher left her mark on British culture
Margaret Thatcher: the creative catalyst for a generation
Morrissey offers more thoughts regarding Margaret Thatcher
Surely how I feel is not nothing?
'Grimm' Star Sasha Roiz Lands in Paul W.S. Anderson's 'Pompeii'
'Grimm' gets an upgrade to Tuesdays
On TV, a new breed of Modern Woman
Czech Republic: We’re Not Chechnya
Last time I looked there were trees
Finally, a Phrase to Describe the Agony of Losing Control of Your Gadgets
106 Notorious Celebrity Mugshots
Feds in NY: Russian mob ran celebrity poker games
Women only have eyes for the big boys
Mystery deepens over the 'Renoir Girl'
Family Seeks Return of a Matisse Seized by the Nazis
Matt Bomer & Simon Halls: American Fertility Association Event!
Matt Bomer, Jared Leto, Pippa Middleton & More: Celebrity Hot Shots Of The Day
Matt Bomer: Spa Session with Simon Halls!
Matt Bomer & Nick Zano: Meditation In Education Global Outreach Campaign!
Matt Bomer: 'Superman: Unbound' WonderCon Panel!
Matt Bomer & Dita Von Teese: 'The Beauty Detox Foods' Book Launch Party!
Matt Bomer Hits The Spa With Partner Simon Halls!
Matt Bomer At Meditation In Education Event
Free-to-air TV: Wednesday, April 10
WC13: Cast & Crew Talk Superman: Unbound
Matt Bomer: Superman Experience Dream Come True – Nightwing Next?
WonderCon 2013: 'Superman: Unbound' Interviews
Matt Bomer Hangs With Nick Zano At David Lynch Event
Superman: Unbound – Matt Bomer & Molly Quinn Interviews at WonderCon 2013
Matt Bomer Interview - Superman Unbound
Matt Bomer: Superman Experience Dream Come True – Nightwing Next?
Matt Bomer Hits The Red Carpet For 'The Beauty Detox Foods' Book Launch
Matt Bomer & Trevor Donovan - GLAAD Media Awards 2013