Wednesday, April 26, 2006

London, Wednesday, April 26

The intrepid trio continue to enjoy beautiful Bloomsbury. We awoke quite late this morning, almost missed breakfast! But no, we managed to arrive in time for our poached eggs, grilled tomatoes and hot tea. There was bright blue sky outside and we planned to walk to Covent Garden and points towards the Thames guided by Jane our wonderful navigator and London guide.

Must mention our great dinner last night at Il Cataletto, a tiny jewel of a restaurant just round the corner. We had risotto with pheasant, crispelle with pumpkin and gnocchi with mushroom. You know, just the usual run of the mill fare . . . Very wonderful. Then we sketched in our room, inspired by Michaelangelo. Sherri was told to go to bed after 10 p.m., she was so excited by her new watercolor set, it was hard to stop!

So back to today, we got to Covent Garden via many little streets, none of them parallel to the other but all pretty and charming with great buildings and ornaments. We took a coffee break in the Garden and were seranaded by a string quartet. More sketching. Then, fortified we found ourselves in the vicinity of the National Portrait Gallery. We restricted ourselves to the first floor, which was contemporary portraits (1990 on). Very, very interesting and stimulating to see so many approaches to portraiture. Several large pastels, watercolors as well as oils and acrylics.

Then down to the cafe for a little energy in the form of soup, salad etc, followed with a chaser of scone with clotted cream (a little like soft butter that tends toward sour cream - quite wonderful) and a little individual pot of strawberry jam. Oh, and more tea. Tea involves your own pot of tea, a cup and saucer, a pot of milk and artisan like sugar cubes.

After the lunch we walked toward the Thames, saw the Houses of Parliament by way of the Embankment gardens. Big Ben, Westminster Cathedral (passed on the £10 entry fee and long line) and went to the gift shop instead. Very nice day and lots of views of incredible buildings and tons of security. Bobbies with automatic weapons! On the way back we tried to walk down Downing Street to have our picture taken with Tony or at least the "10", but large metal fences and lots of security prevented us.

We really walked steadily to get back to the hotel environs by 5:30 p.m. so that Barbara and Sherri could call home (8:30 a.m. in Juneau) before Barbara's Alex and Sherri's Ava got off to school. Barbara called from a phone box right outside the British Museum and heard the big news that it was actually decent in Juneau.

Enough for now I think, the chair here at my little internet hangout is less than comfortable, but the connection is fast and its close to the hotel, all plusses! Maybe a pub dinner tonight and sketching the private garden behind St. Margarets . . .


pua said...

Oh, this blog thing is so excellent. . .I drooled at your description of the little art store and I'm amazed you have found good food in London!! Although I wish I had some of that clotted cream, jam and scones with tea too! Have a safe journey to Istanbul! pua

Anonymous said...

This was just what I needed to read here in Kodiak where it SNOWED yesterday!! Like Pua, I too was drooling with the description of the art store, especially as I'd had to resort to WATERCOLOR paper when I went out to "paint" (oil pastels) the bay in it's snowy pinks and purples. If you are still in London I can highly recommend the best food in a delicatesan on that street (is it Sloan St?) not far from Harrods, which has great shoe shopping (though somewhat spendy) and a fabulous antiquarian map shop! Cheerio from Kristine in Kodiak