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Autumn - sunlitdays


The Sea of Stars

Water-stained pages, pebbles and traces of stardust

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When it's cold you mustn't wait
London - sunlitdays
I'll post about the rest of my Cheltenham Literary Festival later. I went to London this weekend to see the poppies at the Tower of London or Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red as it's officially called. While I am happy I was able to see them in person, the actual experience of seeing them was deeply unpleasant. They don't really have a system in place to let everyone see them so you're basically shoving your way to the front and crushed on all sides. This is even more unpleasant if you're under 5'7" or 170cm, like me. I was glad when we left (still haven't managed to eat at The Kitchen @ Tower, next time). I discovered that my father has never actually visited the Tower of London (despite the fact he studied in London in the 1970s) and I promised to take him next time we're there.

We then went to the Constable exhibition at the V&A. It was great to see his big works right there with all the details I usually miss: The Hay wain, Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Ground, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, as well as many of his studies and full scale sketches, including his watercolour of Stonehenge. The exhibit was really good in that they'd managed to gather paintings from the Old Masters (primarily Dutch) who had influenced and inspired Constable so you could see from where he drew his influence. In some cases, he'd just copied the painting and had to add something to make sure they knew it was a copy and not the original!

Dad and I wanted to eat at our favourite South Kensington Italian, Pierino, but it was full when we stopped by, even though it was half past two in the afternoon. I spotted another restaurant around the corner and we were able to get a table there. This restaurant is called Daquise: Daquise happens to be one of the oldest Polish restaurants in the UK, dating back to 1947, and unbeknownst to us was a key location in the Profumo affair of the 1960s! Dad had tomato soup to start and venison meatballs for main, while I had bigos (hunter's stew) to start and veal schnitzel to follow (topped with a fried egg), but the bigos was so filling that I had to leave some of the mashed potato and carrots behind. A little expensive but very, very nice food.

After that, we went back to Waterloo to catch the train home and I bought a couple of things from Lush. We drove through the rain that had been lashing the west of the country on our way back home and I decided that I was too tired and it was too wet to go and do some more standing, even for fireworks.

And then I had my heart broken by Doctor Who. All in all, a great weekend.

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How are you enjoying Peter Capaldi? I did like the very end with Nick Frost as Father Christmas - I'm hoping for a happier outcome. I also liked the input from The Brigadier (that's showing my age!).

Capaldi's excellent, but then I knew he would be, if that makes sense. I never had any doubts he would be good. I very much enjoy him playing the Doctor as this crotchety old git who is extra abrasive because he's so sensitive inside. I enjoyed his quest to find out who he is and whether he's a good man or not. What a sad ending though. Not unexpected but still, very sad. (There are people out there saying they finally respect Moffat because he actually killed off someone. I feel sorry for them.) I'm sure Father Christmas will bring the Doctor and Clara together again but there are some uncomfortable truths to be faced.

It was wonderful to see the Brigadier. I was very sad about Danny's fate but happy that it was his choice.

I actually didn't think Danny was dead (or a cyberman) because I thought Nick Frost's Father Christmas was suggesting they could have a happier ending, so I wasn't so torn up by it. I'm probably wrong, so don't listen to me!

I would be happy for him to come back as long as it was his choice.

I've eaten at Daquise! Yummy. Sadly never again for me probably - don't think it's the sort of place that will be rushing to offer a gluten-free menu :(

I find the Tower quite an overwhelming experience at the best of times. Sorry to hear it was so unpleasant. The poppies do look striking in the photos I've seen. I went to the Spectra installation next to Parliament in August - amazing.

Aww, yeah. Shame. At least there are more restaurants in London which offer that option.

I don't mind the Tower normally but it's the first time I've been in such a tight press without music to distract me. What was the Spectra installatoin like?

Haunting. Beautiful. Other-worldly. Really damned impressive and exciting and memorable. I'm so glad I went. We went almost on impulse on the last night - jumped on the 91 bus and then the driver kindly let us stay on the bus past the last stop (Trafalgar Sq) so we didn't have to walk too far. It was busy but not crowded and everyone was very quiet and respectful. Some people were smoking vape cigarettes and the vapour made crazy patterns where it hit the light. I wanted to lie down but the ground was damp so I didn't. You could wander in among the individual beams and the music sounded different depending on where you were standing.

I'd like to have seen the poppies as well but have been busy/tired the past few weeks so wasn't able to make it. One of my students did an interesting analysis of the Nigel Farage photo that was in the Telegraph, so that made me feel like I'd experienced it a bit and it's great to hear about your actual visit, so thanks for sharing!

Thank you for describing your visit. :)

I wanted to say a random hello because I started randomly watching Ramsay's Best Restaurant on Netflix and made me want to visit so I could eat all of the food.

It's so unfortunate when you don't have the best experience seeing something you wanted to see. I still remember going to see Kinkakuji in Kyoto with my sister but the experience being spoiled because of a very rude man in our tour group.

(Ugh I haven't yet watched the new season of Doctor Who!)

Rude people are the worst. *hug* Good to see you!

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