Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

You have been very patient but my life is not filled with much excitement since I gave up extreme skateboarding to concentrate on my collection of 1930s dried peas. However, this weekend was an exception.

Saturday went to London on train with Sue. She was going on to see her fresh out of the box, brand new grandchild still with decorative bow and price tag in his hair. However, before separating, we went to the National Gallery to look at the work of Pissarro, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Renoir and Degas, among others. And we did it just for the hell of it. We are both becoming very abandoned in our wayward lives.

Rebecca joined us straight from the hair salon for lunch in Chinatown. She did look rather gorgeous.

We, Sue and us, said our goodbyes on the tube and I went back with Rebecca to Bethnal Green. She, poor dear, was exhausted after a late night the night before. So as she went out to see friends in the evening, she promised not to be too late. She managed to get back before 4.00 a.m. I don't know what passes for early in London these days so made no comment.

Around midday Sunday, we met Emily, Amy and Katie at Old Street tube station. Young Amy looked like she'd stepped straight off the catwalk. Young Katie just scowled. It was a long walk back to Rebecca's, but it gave Amy the chance  to show off her style to a wider audience. And, of course, it gave Katie the opportunity to glower at more people. (And, in the interest of fairness, I have to mention that Emily looked rather gorgeous too.)

The weather wasn't great, so we decided to go to the V & A Museum of Childhood, which so happens to be situated five minutes from Rebecca's flat.

A little of its history from their website:

The Department [of the original V & A] thought there should be similar museums in north, east and south London and in 1864 put the idea to each district. Only those responsible for Bethnal Green were interested and in 1868, following the architectural guidance of J. W. Wild, construction on the plot at Bethnal Green began. The work was carried out by S. Perry and Company, led by Colonel Henry Scott, an officer of the Royal Engineers. The Prince of Wales opened the Bethnal Green Museum on 24th June 1872. Wild had designed a garden, clock tower and library amongst other features. Due to the lack of funds however, his design was only fully realised in an 1871 edition of The Builder magazine. The final structure was decidedly less grand, the east and west façades being the noticeable remaining original design elements.

It is a lovely, large space, light and airy, with a broad gallery running around its midriff, filled with toys from every age right up to a plastic Harry Potter broomstick. We grown-ups rapidly shrunk to children again as we oohed and aahed at each toy we recognised from our childhood. Amy didn't get our enthusiasm. Katie glared; however, there was so much for them to get their hands on neither was particularly bothered one way or the other.

To round off our visit, Emily and Amy gave an impromptu puppet show that, much to their surprise and Amy's delight, drew a crowd. And Katie discovered a sandpit was the answer to relatives who annoy and was very happy.

On Monday, I did little till the evening when I went to D J Kirby's book launch at the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green. There was a Tube strike so I had to bus it. I don't know if the strike brought out the Dunkirk spirit among those who managed to make the event, but there was a great atmosphere with lots of mingling. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, though the evening, of course, belonged to Denise and her newly minted Without Alice.

So, dear Diary, I made my way south on Tuesday to a flat empty of small children demonstrating their karate prowess with blows from needle sharp elbows to my most delicate parts or reducing me to jelly with their laser-eye treatment but filled with the sound of someone somewhere in the block arbitrarily drilling holes in concrete just to drive me mad.

I can only take so much excitement these days.


Ian Williams said...

I visited the Museum of Childhood once whilst passing on my way to some obscure art exhibition. As I entered the building I suddenly turned into Mr Grumpy - the place was full of noisy children!

Some people say I have improved a little since.

As for the drilling - I think I can hear it right now.

DOT said...

So you were the original inspiration for Roger Hargreaves. Now I understand. Wasn't he once an art director at FCB?

Lane said...

You must have been very proud to spend the day surrounded by such gorgeous girlies.

Used to go to the Museum of Childhood regularly when we lived near(ish) there. Wonderful place although I was a tad disturbed to see a lot of my childhood toys displayed as museum pieces:-)

Anonymous said...

she did not give dirty looks to everyone ALL day... just most of it... she smiled when Amy did her karate elbow move on you.. see she is a happy child really. xxx

DOT said...

I was indeed proud of my harem of babes, Lane. It was our first visit to the museum, despite the fact Rebecca has lived in the area for over a year now. A great find.

I know Katie is a happy child, Em, it is what makes her happy that worries me.