Friday, September 17, 2010

No Popemobile here, alas.

My husband wanted to come too. That meant leaving the house later than I had planned, and climbing the hill much more slowly. Even so, we got there on time – but the Pope got there early. We missed the whole thing. A bitter disappointment.

Mary Lou, the best I can do for the Grand Old Duke of York is the Wikipedia entry. I thought we knew who he was (George III’s second son Frederick, I guess) but apparently there are rival candidates.

Before getting back to the happier topic of knitting, I had better run through the rest of our London adventures, for the sake of completeness.

The Fakes show at the National Gallery was a bit of a disappointment, with slightly patronising labels. “Can you spot the difference?” sort of thing. We also saw the annual Portrait competition that day, around the corner at the Portrait Gallery; and – an unexpected treat – a little show of Frederick Cayley Robinson, upstairs at the National Gallery. Recommended.

The next day we polished off Sargent and the Sea at the Royal Academy. We expected to be bored, and were. They also have a little show of Flaxman’s illustrations to Homer. T’riffic. We skipped Tracey Emin. Then we wandered around the commercial galleries, which I always enjoy doing. Agnew’s new premises are a real come-down, as if they had moved into a council house; but the stock is still high-quality.

Friday was the V&A for the Raphael cartoons and tapestries, and that was exhilarating. The tapestries were interesting enough; it was the chance to look closely at those cartoons again which transformed the day. Then we went on to the latest Saatchi gallery, not far away. It is located in the old “Duke of York’s Headquarters” off Sloan Square. We thought of the 10,000 men – but I couldn’t even tell you which Duke of York had his headquarters there.

On Saturday Rachel took my husband to Postman’s Park while I had my Starmore day.

And on Sunday we went to see the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace. Wow! I was expecting a lone Tyrannosaurus in a field of patchy grass. What I got was this:

They were the first dinosaur sculptures in the world, and pre-date Darwin by several years. Modern scholars sneer at the reconstructions, needless to say. Three Wikipedia links in one post is unusual, but they deserve one. Here is Rachel with my husband:

The new VK arrived yesterday, brightening an otherwise rather sour day, and knitting proceeds well. I am past the half-way point on the Amedro shawl border, and near the first heel of Matt’s socks. Tomorrow I’ll talk about knitting.


  1. GrannyPurple12:29 PM

    I recently got a children's book which makes quite free with the Duke of York and his 10 K men--at one point it says "And when they are up they knit scarves. And when they are down they knit socks. And when they are only halfway up, they knit overcoats for rocks." Sounds like the 10 K men are the knitters of today...(The book is called "When They Are Up...")

  2. Thanks, Jean. I like the links, you do the work and I get to read the info. I got to see the popemobile when JP2 was in New York ages ago. He got out and went to greet some children in wheelchairs, otherwise, there isn't much to see but the car.

  3. I am amazed by your trip to London. Where do you find the stamina and motivation to do more than one exhibition in the day? I live only an hour from central London but I no longer enjoy the crowds and the transport difficulties that this always involves.

  4. Donice2:25 PM

    Going to art shows and galleries is something that my husband and I do well together, too - and I think it often happens that you go for one thing, and find that some small exhibit tucked away is the one you come away loving. I'm glad that some of the art was worth the trip, along with Starmore!

  5. I can appreciate your disappointment at not seeing the Pope. We watched BBC World News last night and it was a thrill for me to just see and hear the excitement on screen. Comment was made about the mood of the crowd - very welcoming.

    Finding that we can get BBC World News on our TV here was an exciting moment in itself. We have been missing our usual viewing from Dublin.

  6. Jean, I believe ''the grand old duke'' is actually the Duke of York that became James 2nd.

  7. Anonymous3:54 PM

    Lovely to see the dinosaurs! I took pictures of them a while back when we were on a family trip, and one of them got picked up for the Museum of Life book - I don't care if they're accurate or not,I think they're brilliant