Friday, 1 March 2013


So, on Wednesday, without breaking stride from our Chichester trip, we went up to London.  One feature I like of London is the vibrancy and creativity of the place.  You can feel it as soon as you arrive at the station.  I shall try to post some pics to illustrate this aspect later.  The other feature that attracts me is the eclectic mixture of old and new that somehow works.  Here for example is a view of the Shard.  In the foreground is a 60s residential block, a Victorian warehouse (now converted to luxury flats and offices), a Victorian railway viaduct (now converted to a restaurant), and, just visible is the tower of the 12th century Southwark Cathedral, around which it was built.

Old and new
The viaduct houses a restaurant in which we were to meet up with Mr and Mrs Jeffers and Mr and Mrs Countrybhoy.  In the meantime, we were off to the Tate Modern to see the Lichtenstein exhibition.  It is easy to get to the Tate Modern from the station these days - you just follow the trail of orange lamp posts.  Creative or what?!

The route to the Tate

Roy  Lichtenstein isn't everybody's cup of tea.  He appears to reproduce cartoons and not much more.  But the retrospective makes clear that he is much more than that.  Personally, I love the pics that have speech balloons, which in context no doubt have some significance, but which in isolation, as he presents them, are so enigmatic and thought-provoking.  Here's one anyway I reproduce for Jeffers.


After a quick coffee downstairs, we met up back at the Vinopolis Cantina, another fine example of converting an old exterior (Victorian viaduct) to a modern purpose.  I like the setting anyway.

Vinopolis Cantina 

After lunch, there was just time to get up to the Royal Academy for

Royal Academy 

Here we all are, admiring one of his works.


This is Suzette Lemaire, a commission from a friend, which was no doubt a bit like flirting would be these days.  Up close, there is something a bit odd about one eye, but, as you, step back, the portrait comes to life in an extraordinary way.  The wisp of hair round her neck seems to float off the page.  A friend of mine said that he found the portraits disappointingly flat and lifeless.  I couldn't disagree more.

You may remember from a previous post that the place to go after tramping around an exhibition here is downstairs to the delightful cafe for a pot of tea.

RA cafe 

Suitably refreshed, we than made our way to the National Portrait Gellery.  I thought we ought to take another look at the Kings and Queens of England.  And here, appropriately enough, is Richard III (and, next to him, the man who vanquished him in battle, Henry VII).

Richard III

Which one looks more like a tyrant to you?

When we left the gallery, it was already dusk.

Night falls 

Just think - a month ago, it would have been pitch black by now.  Maybe spring is approaching.  Anyway, time to go to the Harold Pinter Theatre to see whether we could  pick up some cheap tickets.  I was keen to see Kristin Scott Thomas in Old Times, but the 'half price' ticket booths were selling for around £35.  I'm pleased to say we managed to negotiate restricted view tickets for £10 (and then move to unrestricted view seats once the show had started).  Here's the theatre:

Harold PInter Theatre

I thought the play was great.  If you like Pinter, it was fabulous!  If you don't like his dialogue, it was rubbish.

And so, time to go home - tired, contented, and totally cultured out.

Night over the Thames


  1. Being a Londoner, naturally an interesting blog for me. Shame you didn't visit Spitalfields market, which no longer really exists. My grammar school was there, now demolished and the only part remaining the hall, which has been converted into some sort of French restaurant. A few years ago I was in New York, 1990, and there was a Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the Guggenheim museum which I visited. I think almost his complete works were there and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. There have been some negative comments about this retrospective, Pat, but, like you, I enjoyed it. It was interesting (and valuable) to see early and later works together.

  2. I haven't been to London for many years, but your brief cultural tour made me think it's about time I renewed my aquaintance with it. I would think London is one of the best places in the world to see such contrasts of architectural styles and ages. Did you have to pay to get into the RA, or was it 'Manet For Nothing'? :-))

    1. LOL, no I fear it all costs, Mitch. We had a Tate membership for some years which gets you in to most exhibitions free and is worthwhile if you go often enough (and to the other Tates). You also get access to a members' lounge, which is nice. I think you can do something similar at the RA. Otherwise - you need Sisley amounts of cash to see everything . . .

  3. Never been there but I dont lose a hope :)
    Thank you for the virtual cultural trip Neil, I almost feel like I`ve been with you there.

    1. I'm here to give you guided tours when you come, Eti. Nice to heave you along today though.

  4. I love the idea of following orange lamp standards to get to where you want to go. The thought of touring in London has always terrified this 'bush bunny' from the backwoods of Canada. Village is my style...Vancouver makes me hyper-ventilate, even having to go there after rush hours. We make our medical appointments for the mid morning and mid afternoon return. Still it is so stressful with all those people and the traffic. We can't wait to get back to the woods and big open skies and the quiet and the peacefulness.... I can't imagine living in a big city. It makes me feel woozy. You would have to put me on valium after 3 days. However, it is wonderful to visit this way, via your blogs. So thank you dear heart. You are better than the National Geographic in your area.

  5. After living in a reasonably laefy area for so long, I know just what you mean, Karyn. But I'm happy to guide you around!

    1. Note the ancient spelling of 'leafy' . . .