Saturday, August 30, 2014

Arrival Day

I'm in denial about it most of the time, but today I will readily admit that I am 60, which has its distinct advantages and disadvantages. On the upside, I now qualify for concession (discount) prices at museums. (If I lived in the UK, I'd be able to get a Freedom Card and ride all the tubes and buses I wanted for free.)  On the downside, I don't go as far or as fast as I used to, nor do I accomplish as much.

First, to tell you about what I did manage to do on my arrival day, having had three hours of sleep: I headed out a little before noon, taking the tube to Charing Cross. My first stop was the National Portrait Gallery, where I looked at the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition and a display about the Suffragettes. On leaving, I looked up at the big globe at the top of the Coliseum and decided to pop in to say hi to Barbara in case I didn't get a chance to see her later in my visit (but happily I will). 

Next, I crossed the river to the Southbank and grabbed a bite to eat at the little food market near the Royal Festival Hall. From there, I was on a mission to find a vintage caravan that I knew was going to be somewhere near St John's Waterloo. A path of big, orange pigeon footprints on the pavement lead me straight to the Caravan Gallery, where I had a lovely chat with Jan Williams, one half of the photographer duo that is the inspiration behind this project. She and her partner are living my dream -- traveling around with a vintage caravan in tow, photographing the quirkier aspects of life in the towns they visit, and showing their photos wherever they park. 

From there, I ticked off two more things on my list: a stop at the Pieminister in Gabriel's Wharf to buy a Heidi pie (to eat later), and across Blackfriars Bridge for a stop at the Hoop and Grapes to see the landlord and pay the deposit on the function room for a meet-up of photographer friends on Thursday. At that point I was beginning to run out of steam, but I pushed on to Tate Modern. I always forget how far it is from Waterloo to Tate Modern. In my mind it's a five minute walk, but in reality there are two bridges and a lot of steps in between. By the time I crossed south over the Millennium Bridge (stopping to take photos of Ben Wilson's chewing gum art on the bridge) and reached Tate Modern, it was 3:30 pm. I knew I'd be taking my chances about getting a ticket to see the Matisse cut outs as it's a timed entry exhibition and wildly popular. The sign at the ticket desk said that the next tickets available were for 5 pm and I knew I wouldn't last that long, so I bought a ticket (concession price, no gift aid, with 50% off using my Art Pass) to see the Malevich exhibition instead. I knew nothing of Malevich and, despite studying a lot of art history in college, I'd never even heard of his seminal black square painting. The exhibition was great -- really interesting work covering a time span of about 30 years and a range of styles as he evolved from impressionism, through fauvism and cubism and other forms of abstraction to something he called suprematism. 

By the time I finished with the exhibition, I was so knackered I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. But I made my way back to Waterloo station and onto the tube and back to the flat. 

After eating a good dinner, drinking a lot of wine and sleeping like a log last night, I amazed myself by getting out of bed this morning and up to the NY Pilates Studio in Queen's Park for 9:30 mat class. I'm now all stretched out and ready to go. Our destination today is The Red House in Bexleyheath.

Expenses Friday:
£20 to top up Oyster card
£3 for spinach and cheese tart for lunch
£4.50 for Heidi pie to be consumed later
£50 deposit (refundable) on function room
£6.55 for Malevich exhibition

20,854 steps, 8.22 miles


  1. Remind me, when I see you, to tell you how to get from Waterloo to Tate Modern without going up or down and any steps and without crossing any bridges. It's about a 10 minute walk and right by my office, but it's not along the river :)

  2. How did you resist eating Heidi Pie on the spot?

    Pilates?!?!--after all that trekking?

    My hometown in Ohio is Bexley.

  3. MJ - I'd love to know that shortcut when SiN4 lets you know. I think that trek is much too long too!