Monday, 19 September 2011

Days 11 & 12 - September 9 & 10, 2011

London and home

This morning Marion and I opted out of the group’s bus tour of London as we’d both been there before and the tour wasn’t going to allow for going into any of the attractions. Instead, we headed out on our own to explore Knightsbridge at a more leisurely pace. Our goal was to spend the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum a few blocks away and return to the hotel by way of Harrods. We were ready to go by about 8:30 but the V & A wasn’t going to open ‘til 10am so we took our time strolling along Sloane St. (the 5th Avenue/Rodeo Dr./Via Veneto of London) and Brompton Rd. Many stores had very artsy displays and many of the displays were celebrating Wool Week which was running from September 5 - 11.
We then happened upon a McDonalds and went upstairs to use their free wifi for the first time in a couple of days. We spent about a half an hour there Skyping and catching up on email. Then we made the final push towards the V & A, where we arrived just before opening time. The national museums are free in England, but they do charge a fee for major exhibits and for hosting large social events (charity benefits, weddings, etc.).

We were disappointed to learn the Textile and Costume areas of the museum were closed but there was a very interesting exhibit - “The Power of Making” . From the website: “The exhibition will showcase works made using a diverse range of skills and explore how materials can be used in imaginative and spectacular ways, whether for medical innovation, entertainment, social networking or artistic endeavour.”

And, “Power of Making comes at a time when the loss of skill is threatening cultural practice and impacting on commercial industries. However, there is also a resurgence of making currently taking place as a means of self expression, social participation and cultural definition. The exhibition will examine and celebrate the expertise, knowledge and innovation demonstrated in objects, supporting the importance of traditional making skills and the drive towards new ways of working. “ Being a knitter, it was fascinating to see how other things were made in unconventional ways or using unconventional materials, for example, a huge gorilla made from thousands of white-painted wire coat-hangers, or the ‘fur’ of a lifesized bear completely made by crocheting.
Crochetdermy Bear
There were several videos on three screens showing how some of the exhibition items had been made and at the end of the room there were about an hour’s worth of one-minute videos that had been submitted by people from all over the world highlighting their handcrafted item. We ate our lunch in a grand, round, high-ceilinged room with stained glass windows.

The images and text on the windows celebrated food. 
After lunch we explored various areas of the museum on our own. I chose the miniature portrait section, the technology section and ended up in the gift shop. I also found an exhibit of a collection of mosaics.
It measures approx. 40" x 16".
This is the tablet on the bottom left. You can see the mosaic tiles that make up the picture.
And this is another closeup of the detail of the dome of the Vatican.
I'm not surprised it took Testa 20 years to complete.

I took a few pictures of various tiles and panels. The green and white V&A tiles at the top were on the walls in the ladies room.

We stopped in at Harrods on the way back, pretty much just to see the displays in the grocery and food area.

This was the ceiling of one of the market areas.

This case full of candy and truffles was very enticing. Until I looked at the price.
That's £70 per kilogram. Doesn't that seem a little steep?
I guess Freddie is the Harrods mascot bear. He has his new Christmas sweater on.

This was one of the designer shops. No expense had been spared on the décor of the Egyptian-themed room.

We got back to the hotel in time for a wee nap before an early dinner at The Palm Restaurant so we could make the 7:30pm show of "Billy Elliot" at the Victoria Palace Theatre. It was my second time seeing the show but I enjoyed it as much as the first time. 'Billy' was amazing.

The next day we got to sleep in as we didn't have to leave for the airport 'til 10:30am. We got through the check in just at our luggage weight limit. Whew! We boarded and took off pretty much on schedule and landed in Toronto about 20 min. early. 

By the time I was heading to bed, it was about 3am GMT.  My wonderful knitting tour was over.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating city!! I hope someday I get to visit London. I've been to Paris but I think London will appeal to me more :-)