Wednesday, 22 July 2015

What Would Audrey Do?

Well not get told off by her Mother for mismatching her outfit I'm sure! (more of that later)

I had the whole of last week off work, what bliss. and for once I had lots of fun plans rather than just slothing round the house.
On Wednesday I went to The National Portrait Gallery with my friend Charlotte to see their exhibition on Audrey Hepburn.
First we went for a wander around Covent Garden, I haven't been there for ages so it was fun to poke about. I was very tempted by some of the jewellery on the craft stalls but in the end I only bought myself this picture as an early birthday present.
 I was very taken with this smiley octopus so I decided to buy him, Himself however is not at all keen, oh well.

Stomachs started growling so we decided to give Five Guys a go and how glad am I that we did. This was everything Mucky D's and BK's wishes they were and more.
I went for a cheese dog and fries, and thinking of the portion sizes in other burger places I asked for regular fries. The girl serving helpfully pointed out this was actually meant for 2 people, recommending I go for a small. Turns out that even the small was a mammoth portion.

As anyone who knows me well will confirm I am not a woman to ever leave a chip uneaten, but even I had to admit defeat on these deliciously gorgeous fries.
No 'reformed from mashed potato' here, only freshly cut, skin on, double fried in peanut oil, real potato! MmmmMmm.

We waddled out of Five Guys and headed through Leicester Square. There was a big crowd gathered so we went to see what the fuss was about.
 turns out it was all for a Frank Sinatra dancing skeleton in a natty silver bow tie and green sneakers.
 Ok so he was puppet, but goodness me that puppeteer was good!
 He had clearly watched Frank Sinatra do his Vegas shows many times, that puppet was not just word perfect but move perfect too.
Admittedly that was probably lost on most of the teenage tourists in the crowd but as someone who HAS watched those shows, every gesture and every movement was captured to a tee. Very clever and unusual street entertainment for sure.

We reached the National Portrait Gallery a bit early (the exhibition tickets are timed) so we mooched round the exhibition of the 'Portrait Artist of the Year' finalists. No photography sadly but wow, just wow.
All I can say is they were all well worthy of their place in the final.

And so to Audrey.

Again no photography so we both had to satisfy ourselves with buying postcards afterwards.

It is was a small but perfectly formed exhibition mostly made up of unseen pictures owned by her family. You were struck over and over again by just how photogenic she was, and for me, not just the overall luminous quality she had but by her stunning eyes, truly windows to a beautiful soul.
One critic was quoted as being distracted and captivated by the amazing eyes of one of the impish girls in the chorus, so much so it took his attention away from the main players, she was an unknown in an early background stage role at the time, there was no doubt she would go on to be a star.

Personally I find something very calming and joyously uplifting about gazing raptly upon great beauty, be it male, female or in nature, and this exhibition was just a joy to behold.

 Friday was my birthday and the day began earlier than I had hoped because our front door lock had broken the night before, I had visions of my Mother (who was due over) having to feed me cake through the letterbox!
Anyway this meant getting up to call the rental agency as soon as they opened for the day. As it turned out the man who could fix it was just around the corner and would come straight over, which in turn meant abandoning my cup of tea to belt upstairs and fling some clothes on just in time before he arrived. Thankfully it was just the barrel and not the whole mortis lock that had broken so once he got a new one it was a matter of moment s and all was fixed.

I had another cup of tea before going upstairs to wash and dress properly for the day ahead, well I say dress properly, clearly even though I'm now the great age I am my Mother still thinks I'm not capable of putting an outfit together!
She arrived and looked me up and down, tutted and said "the worst bit is your necklace it doesn't go with anything else you are wearing"
Me " that's the whole point"
Her with narrowed eyes "Hmmm". We went to leave and I put on my silver brogues,
 Mum "Good lord no you are not planning on going out in those shoes? No, no, no they do not go at all"
Me "Fine I'll take them off"
Mum "What do you have instead?"
Me "Green converse? I have green in my outfit"
Her horrified "No! even worse!" 
I ended up in sensible black just to keep the peace. Outift sorted to a passable level we went into town to buy some goodies for lunch which we took round to the nursing home and ate with Dad. From there we went to my brother's house to get our hair done and finally home to prosecco and presents.
The necklace was a massive unsubtle hint from me to Himself heh heh it worked.

Saturday I was up and off to Oxford with my friend Simon to see Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.
It was held in a wee tent in University Parks and was great fun. Performed by a small repertory company from London what the young cast lacked in polish they made up for with enthusiasm in spades.

So all in all a fun week.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Sheep Shape and Bristol Fashion.

Well it's been a while I know. The first 6 months of 2015 have been shit, I had hoped things would get better by now. Instead work has been completely relentless recently, on top of which more health dramas have happened and frankly it's all been getting to me. It's hard to stay positive when life keeps kicking you in the balls. Hard.

So I've kind of been keeping my head down plodding on through and hoping for better times.

I have a lot to look forward too in July though, lots of plans, good times already had and many more still to come.

Himself and I went to Bristol for a couple of days which rather than being restful saw us pounding the pavements doing 5 of the different Shaun the Sheep trails.

You can find out more here

We managed to see 47 of the 70 Sheep dotted around the city and surrounding area. We got absolutely soaked to the skin and chased by a demented drunk man in the process but you can't have it all.

As ever the one thing you can't guarantee is the British weather. Occasional showers were predicted, but rather than this being the dry spells with an odd shower here and there that I expected from such a forecast. It turned out to actually mean relentless steady rain with occasional torrential downpours just for good measure.
When it all got too much we retired to the pub where I managed to knock beer all over my lap but luckily the endless rain rinsed that out for me so I didn't smell too much like a brewery by the time we decided to go out for dinner!

Thankfully by then the rain had stopped so we were able to amble back to our hotel whilst enjoying the sights.

After a very comfortable night (thumbs up to Ibis Hotels) we were up early and off out to find more sheep before catching our train home.
I discovered I had forgotten my hairbrush but as all the rain had turned my head into an insane professor style mad mop it hardly mattered. Unlike the girls posing outside the cathedral I wasn't looking for a pinup shot.

We spotted this skeleton on our travels, clinging on by it's fingertips. I know that feeling well.
Whilst photographing this Arthurian sheep outside the Cathedral
we were fascinated by the girls I mentioned above. They were clearly taking part in a graduation ceremony though not from a university I have heard of before. Our fascination came from their appearance.
We could only conclude they had all passed their degree in nightclubbing with flying colours, because to a woman (there were no boys) they were in teeny tiny skintight mini dresses teamed with a regulation minimum 6 inch heel and as much make-up as their face could manage.
I'm all for each to their own but in all honesty it just looked rather bizarre on a grey wet Monday morning!

From there we walked to Clifton. I thought it was beautiful but for the relentless rain.

In the end it defeated us so we gave up and caught the bus back to the train station where we decamped to Wetherspoons until it was time for our train home.

The most amazing bit of the whole trip?

 I didn't shop at all!