Last Day

Today is my last day. Tomorrow morning it is back the way I came. This has been an unbelievably enriching experience. Enriching in ways I didn’t expect.

Today, I went to the Museum of London. I took some pictures but they are on my other camera so sorry, no pictures save one.

Waiting in the underground for the tube.

Waiting in the underground for the tube.

This afternoon, the class met for the last time and had tea at a beautiful restaurant.  This evening, I am attending my last theatre performance,  Matilda which is a musical based on the Roald Dahl children’s  novel.

I have to be up early to catch the train to Heathrow. Thanks for reading and following along. Thanks for the wonderfully positive comments on this effort. I feel very blessed and am grateful.

 

See you soon Sheba.

See you soon Sheba.

Hampton Court

Yesterday we went by train to see Hampton Court Palace.  For me, this was another trip to Mecca. The Tudor period is one of my favorite,  although not one of the easiest times, especially if you had displeased the king. I took a lot of pictures since we could photograph within most of the palace. Rather than talking, I will just let you look.

Our train from London.

Our train from London.

Sorry this is a little dark. The entrance to Hampton Court Palace.

Sorry this is a little dark. The entrance to Hampton Court Palace.

The entrance was lined with a series of these statues. This guy was my favorite.

The entrance was lined with a series of these statues. This guy was my favorite.

The Great Hall . . . and yes it is.

The Great Hall . . . and yes it is.

This is a room off of the Great Hall. The stained glass was stunning. Note the ceiling.

This is a room off of the Great Hall. The stained glass was stunning. Note the ceiling.

Portrait of Henry VII. I had never seen this portrait.

Portrait of Henry VII. I had never seen this portrait.

Portrait of Henry VIII

Portrait of Henry VIII

This elegant staircase leads up to Henry's apartments.

This elegant staircase leads up to Henry’s apartments.

Entrance to the Chapel Royal.   The crests belonged to Jane Seymour (I believe).

Entrance to the Chapel Royal. The crests belonged to Jane Seymour (I believe).

This was an exterior passageway. Note the timber detailing in the brick on the top right. Beautiful.

This was an exterior passageway. Note the timber detailing in the brick on the top right. Beautiful.

Henry sometimes fed as many as 1000 people.  The kitchen was very large. This is the fireplace in his kitchen.

Henry sometimes fed as many as 1000 people. The kitchen was very large. This is the fireplace in his kitchen.

Looking across the landscape from the back of the palace.

Looking across the landscape from the back of the palace.

The gardens were gorgeous.  This is a sample.

The gardens were gorgeous. This is a sample.

I think this is an aloe vera plant. It is enormous.  Thought it would also make a great model for the plant in Little Shop.

I think this is an aloe vera plant. It is enormous. Thought it would also make a great model for the plant in Little Shop.

Along the back of the palace fronting out on the gardens were a row of statues. I liked this one the best.

Along the back of the palace fronting out on the gardens were a row of statues. I liked this one the best.

This formal garden known as The Pond Garden was beautiful.  This is a smaller one adjacent to this one.

This formal garden known as The Pond Garden was beautiful. This is a smaller one adjacent to this one.

This is the garden adjacent to The Pond Garden and a smaller one. The colors are much more monochromatic.

This is the garden adjacent to The Pond Garden and a smaller one. The colors are much more monochromatic.

In front of the small formal garden.

In front of the small formal garden.

In William's apartments this room was the Guard Chamber. Anyone admitted had to pass inspection in this room before they were admitted to the King's presence.  All of the items on the wall are weapons of every kind. Guns, pistols, swords, daggers.

In William’s apartments this room was the Guard Chamber. Anyone admitted had to pass inspection in this room before they were admitted to the King’s presence. All of the items on the wall are weapons of every kind. Guns, pistols, swords, daggers.

The series of rooms was remarkable.  This was William IV Privy Chamber. He would retire to this space to consult with his ministers.

The series of rooms was remarkable. This was William IV Privy Chamber. He would retire to this space to consult with his ministers.

This is the ceiling in William III bedroom.

This is the ceiling in William III bedroom.

These statues traverse one of the main gardens of the palace.

These statues traverse one of the main gardens of the palace.

We returned to the city, took a brief rest and headed out for the evening production at The National Theatre, A Small Family Business by Alan Ayckbourn. One the way, we had to stop by the backstage of The Book of Mormon to see Gavin Creel.  Christina, being an old friend,  needed an autograph for someone. He was gracious enough to oblige and I snapped a quick photo for her.

Christina got to say goodbye to her friend Gavin before we left.

Christina got to say goodbye to her friend Gavin before we left.

The play was a farce. I have heard Ayckbourn referred to as the British Neil Simon. He certainly is an institution like Simon.  The production was very good but, I must confess, I had difficulty watching.  Perhaps a combination of tired and the realism of the play. This is the first uber realistic production we have seen. It took me awhile to adjust. The set was incredible – six rooms on one set, two floors with working bathroon and kitchen. If nothing else, it was worth seeing for that.

 

 

Program cover A Small Family Business

Program cover A Small Family Business

Back to the Globe

After my day of recovering, I was up and at it again. It was yet another exhausting day. However, I feel I have gotten my final wind for the last two days.

Yesterday, it was back to the Globe Theatre for another grulling stand with the groundlings perfromance, this time Julius Caesar. 

We headed out a little early in order to go by Waterloo station and re-purchase train tickets to Hampton Court. (As I write this, we have just returned from there but, that is tomorrow’s entry.). After securing the tickets we walked up to the theatre. On the way, we came down this beautiful little street. Roupell Street. It was the row houses I have come to recognize but these had a simplicity that was charming. The doors were the only thing that set the  apart individually.  My favorite was a red, then orange, then purple and on. Christina loved the pale blue so that was the one I photographed.

Roupell Street.  We found this charming little street on the way from Waterloo Station to the Tate Modern on Southbank.

Roupell Street. We found this charming little street on the way from Waterloo Station to the Tate Modern on Southbank.

Christina wanted the one with the blue door.

Christina wanted the one with the blue door.

Once we got to the river, we went into the Tate Modern Art Museum to look at some of the galleries before class met. We decided to meet on the lawn in front of the museum. I got through a couple of galleries and include a couple of my favortie paintings.  The museum is another good example of how the British re purpose buildings. The building was the old oil fired power station for the city. The museum spaces are quite wonderful. Large and spacious.  You never feel crowded no matter how many people are in the galleries.

Part of the lobby of the Tate Modern. This museum is an incredible example of how the English re purpose builings. It seems to have been an old warehouse.

Part of the lobby of the Tate Modern. This museum is an incredible example of how the English re purpose builings. It seems to have been an old warehouse.

Yellow Islands (1952) by Jackson Pollack.

Yellow Islands (1952) by Jackson Pollack.

 

Picasso's Seated Nude from 1909-10.

Picasso’s Seated Nude from 1909-10.

After class we moved up to the Globe Theatre in order to get in line early to secure good spots in the courtyard.  I, of course was not interested in being too close again. Once the line queued into the courtyard it was a short wait but, while we waited a couple of the actors came out and we were treated to a puppet show (comic-they were quire brilliant) about Caeser.

Poster for Julius Caesar at the Globe.

Poster for Julius Caesar at the Globe.

This bench is part of a public art project going on in London celebrating the writers of England.  This, in front of the Globe,  is Shakespeare.

This bench is part of a public art project going on in London celebrating the writers of England. This, in front of the Globe, is Shakespeare.

The puppet show just prior to the production.

The puppet show just prior to the production.

The doors opened and I secured a good spot at the back. Everyone else went to the front this time. I soon realized this might not be a good thing. I was standing in the sun and judging from its position it seemed unlikely to be obscured during the performance. I was joined by two charming ladies and we struck up a conversation.  They wanted to know where I was from and how long I had been in London etc. They were friends who liked coming to theatre and they were so excited to be at the performance.

The performance, again, was excellent but, not as strong as Titus. The act break for this performance came after Caeser’s funeral and Act II becomes bascially battle after battle as they try to round up the conspirators.  There were some strong performances but, they were much more uneven. Mark Antony and Casca were particular standouts.  The design was standard practice which means they employ Renaissance costumes (with Roman suggestion) and staging. This allowed the audience to see what it might have looked like in Shakespeare’s time.  It allowed you to see the weakness in the play. He wrote this for the opening of the original Globe Theatre and the commentary in the program explains he wrote to ensure success. As a result he took no risks concentrating on long speeches with no humor to offset the tragedy.

At intermission, I was feeling the heat and my two new friends sought cooler area with no sunI stuck it out. For my trouble, I got a little too much sun but, I survived until the end.

Vikki had invited us up to Walthamstow to jave dinner. This was a long ride on the tube. We had just enough time to stop for frozen yogurt and change (I needed to after standing in the heat for 3 hours).  We needed to by an extension for ourmtube passes since we would be going into zone 3. The ride up was packed tight – rush hour.

I managed to get us lost or not lost but a great deal of confusion and we arrived 20 min late. Vikki and Adam were the most gracious hosts and we enjoyed dinner very much. After some excellent wi e and good conversation we made out way home in order to get ready for the next day (which is currently almost over but, you will have to wait for that til tomorrow.

 

Finally, a photo op with Vikki.

Finally, a photo op with Vikki.

V & A (Vikki and Adam) our dinner hosts. It was delightful to spend the evening with these charming people.

V & A (Vikki and Adam) our dinner hosts. It was delightful to spend the evening with these charming people.

A Rock Wall

Well, I guess it was bound to happen.  I succumbed to fatigue and today became a day to rest.

This morning,  we were supposed to journey out to Hampton Court.  We had our train tickets and went down to Waterloo Station. We arrived a bit early and while waiting for our train it was announced that several trains were being delayed due to an accident at the Wimbledon station. We subsequently learned someone had been struck by a train. Eventually our train was canceled since it goes through that station. This morning when I woke I was not feeling well but, I couldn’t say what was wrong. Very tired and not able to concentrate.

Since we couldn’t make it to Hampton Court Christina decided we could flip today and Wednesday.  So, after getting a refund on the tickets, we headed off to have class at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The class discussed the  last play we saw and then we took them on a tour of the Theatre exhibition and the historic fashion exhibitions.  I got a few more pictures. See below.

After that, I wanted to return briefly to Harrod’s to pick up a gift and the  we returned to our rooms by 1 pm. I have spent the rest of the day in bed and feel better so, hopefully, I will be able to stand for almost three hours tomorrow to watch Julius Caesar at the Globe Theatre.

 

This is the lovely courtyard of the V & A Museum. We met class here today.

This is the lovely courtyard of the V & A Museum. We met class here today.

Hydrangea bushes run along two walls of the courtyard.

Hydrangea bushes run along two walls of the courtyard.

Flowers around the edges of the courtyard.

Flowers around the edges of the courtyard.

These are costumes from the Theatre exhibition. The black dress (center) was worn by Maggie Smith as Lady Bracknell. The red dress on the right was worn by Vivien Leigh and I forgot which production.

These are costumes from the Theatre exhibition. The black dress (center) was worn by Maggie Smith as Lady Bracknell. The red dress on the right was worn by Vivien Leigh and I forgot which production.

Damage to the exterior of the V & A during the bombing of London duri g WW II.

Damage to the exterior of the V & A during the bombing of London duri g WW II.

The earthy red building is Harrod's on Brompton Rd.

The earthy red building is Harrod’s on Brompton Rd.

 

 

Brighton

This morning we got an early start so we could make the 9 am train to Brighton which is a seaside resort almost due south of London. The train delivered us in just over an hour. We wanted to make an early start in order to get a jump on the tourist.

This is the train station at at Brighton.

This is the train station at at Brighton.

Christina wanted to show me the Royal Pavillion.  I hadn’t a clue what that was but assumed it was some temporary structure creatdd for a significant event in the history of the town or country much like the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The pavillion it turned out was a royal palace built by George IV during the very early years of the 19th century while he was Prince of Wales, then Regent and finally King. The palace was his main residence and eventually went to his brother William IV and finally to Queen Victoria who felt it was not suitable for her growing family.  She sold the property to the city of Brighton and removed all the furnishings to other estates. The city has over time restored it and made it available for tours.

The palace is somewhat hard to describe and I can only say it is magnificent in its gaudiness and gaudy is putting it mildly. The architecture is Indian and the interior is some kind of distorted Asian/Chinese aesthetic that is luxurious but a bit unsettling at times.

The Royal Pavillion at Brighton.

The Royal Pavillion at Brighton.

This is the side entrance to the palace.

This is the side entrance to the palace.

Many of the columns had this lotus blossom decoration at the base.

Many of the columns had this lotus blossom decoration at the base.

This stone work detail was beautiful.

This stone work detail was beautiful.

Me in front of the Royal Pavilion

Me in front of the Royal Pavilion

I couldn’t photograph the interior but took a number of pictures of the building.  Judge for yourself but trust me no photograph will ever capture the splendor ofmthis palace. Inside, for example the grand dining room which is grand (to be expected) has a shallow central dome with a 30 foot chandelier (weighing in at a ton). The center of the chandelier is fairly traditional cut glass but there are six dragon heads coming out of the glass exhaling giant lotus lamps. The chandelier is suspended from a silver winged dragon with a 12 foot tongue. The rest of the room is just as extravagent. The music room has many serpents coiling down painted columns and sculpted ones coiling down actual columns. I did take a few photos of interior items from the guide book to give you an idea.

This is the dragon holding the chandelier in the Grand Dining Hall.

This is the dragon holding the chandelier in the Grand Dining Hall.

Dining Room chandelier. The flying dragon is clutching this in his/her claws and it weighs a ton.

Dining Room chandelier. The flying dragon is clutching this in his/her claws and it weighs a ton.

Music room chandelier.  Note snakes coiling down the painted columns in background.  Well, there were some kind of snake/dragon creature.

Music room chandelier. Note snakes coiling down the painted columns in background. Well, there were some kind of snake/dragon creature.

After our visit, we headed down to the beach, toured the pier and enjoyed an hour laying on the beach. We went up to restaurant with the “best fish and chips” in the city for lunch. I got in the obligatory fish and chips meal. Done and done.

A view as we walked down the board walk (which was paved not wood). These are typical structures along the beach front.

A view as we walked down the board walk (which was paved not wood). These are typical structures along the beach front.

This is one view from the pier. The stone jetty were serious construction and beaches are rocks with some sand underneath.

This is one view from the pier. The stone jetty were serious construction and beaches are rocks with some sand underneath.

Not attractive but hey, it was my only chance. So I leave you with this image.

Not attractive but hey, it was my only chance. So I leave you with this image.

The trip back was uneventful and I have managed to relax a little this evening. Still trying to get some laundry done. Now that the facility is fixed, mthe lines are long. Tomorrow we go to Hampton Court.