Festival moods

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If in May the first music festivals come out, by late June / July it’s definitely the turn of the literary circuit and the London season seems fully underway as the talking set’s removal to various parks and country houses coincide with racing, cricket and tennis.

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The one I did get to (thank you C) was the Queen’s Park literary festival where I went 100% fangirl at seeing Zadie Smith speak. But next year I’m saving time for the Garden Museum’s weekend (topics ranging from Elizabethan knot gardens to foraging)

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and The Idler also had a splendidly louche-sounding weekend booked in at Fenton House earlier this year. Not a tent in sight, let alone a portaloo…

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Frilled linen

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And then, opening her eyes, how fresh, like frilled linen clean from a laundry laid in wicker trays, the roses looked; and dark and prom the red carnations, holding their heads up; and all the sweet peas spreading in their bowls, tinged violet, snow white, pale – as if it were the evening and girls in muslin frocks cane out to pick sweet peas and roses after the superb summer’s day

Mrs Dalloway buying the flowers herself, and the very much not-for-sale roses in Regebt’s Park.

Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping on the streets of London, Luton and Oxford again…

I got a lolly and an ice-cream and pizza!!!! (6 year old with a rising volume of excitement)

Ah man, my dad just bought a gold mine

So my friend, King George

She has a trust fund but she’s my best friend still

I thought, if you think I have any common feeling or resemblance with that woman, you really don’t know me at all

That sushi was nowhere near as refreshing as I’d expected. It was just so ricey.

Mummy, do you want my burnt potato?

“I think I’d just do what Mr Darcy did” “yeah, we had that conversation”

I mean how’s it’s going to work out? You’re married and he has a girlfriend.

Yes his jury service has been cancelled – I think they looked at his face and decided they didn’t like him.

He’s a bit of a tiger in the house, you know.

It’s a real pain – you have to bring your own bottle and you can’t get really trashed

We never really have a conversation – it’s just chat.

So my mate had done it before and said you really had to have a vegetable before leaving Sweden, so I got a taxi…

Westminster Abbey

From a fun day playing tourist in my own city. If I’m honest, I don’t think that the Abbey gives the best experience – you’re squeezed round a pre-set, tightly-cordened route like being shoved through a toothpaste tube and photos are strictly forbidden.

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Worst of all, the atmosphere was one of prissy disapproval, which I found rather disappointing when each tourist is being charged at least £20 to get in. Yes, there’s an important balance to be struck between a place of worship and a tourist attraction but – with the exception of some kindly volunteers – the clergy here seemed to have a strong “hands off our abbey, aren’t you lucky we let you in” approach written all over them. Very disappointing.

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You would at least hope that there was an acceptance that any visitors were prepared to be interested and respectful, otherwise they’d hardly have queued up for an hour to get in. I’d be interested to know what out of town visitors think.

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However, being as stubborn as they come, I did get some photos thank you…

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The most interesting parts I thought were the side chapels of various noble families (which still had a pre-Reformation feel of jostling for position near the altar) and the main chapel behind the altar.

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All photos May 2018.

 

The Garden Museum

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I last visited the garden museum with @saintofsoho just before it closed for a two year renovation, and hadn’t been back since, despite its mention in one of my favourite books.

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However, the Cedric Morris exhibition did lure me there on a sunny weekend recently. As well as the permanent collection, excellent cafe and courtyard garden designed by Dan Pearson, I thoroughly enjoyed this show of 1930s-1950s art by painter and iris-breeder Cedric Morris. (By the way, didnyou know that the Norwegian painter Astrup was best known in his day as a rhubarb breeder? There must be some kind of natural link between the talents…)

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There’s also a pair exhibitin at Philip Mould gallery until 22 July of Morris’ paintings of Portugal and Ireland that I’m keen to see and which is free.

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Back in the park

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Regent’s Park is definitely one of my favourite things in London, whether it’s the rose garden in late spring, the alleys as summer gets underway or even the open fields near the zoo for a winter stomp round.

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On the first May bank holiday London emptied, as it always does, and the best bits were left for the tourists: stripes deckchairs in the sun, reflections in the lake, fighting geese and herons on a pond.

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Its hard to believe there isn’t a filter on these photos, but the golden hour really was that good.

All photos May 2018.