Tuesday, July 28, 2009

she made it!

Normally Sunday is kind of a sleep in day. Church isn't until the afternoon, and it's a great time for catching up on emails and laundry. But I was up at 7:30, and hustling off to Gatwick airport to pick up Lisa Valentine! I was so excited. I woke up about 14 times during the night, anxious that I had slept through my alarm. But I made it on time, though Lisa's plane was 40 minutes early. So while I waited at the gate, she was waiting for me at the trains. But we found each other, and it was a sweet reunion. I brought her safely home to Kensington, and put her to bed. Then, operation Lisa jet-lag was underway.

Not letting Lisa sleep all day, and her being an incredibly good sport, we set out with a handful of students for the National Gallery. It was particularly packed today, though the rooms are, well, roomy, so you never feel that cramped. It's only in front of the Van Gogh's and the Seurat's that things get a bit tight. But it's always amazing to see them. For some reason I was really attracted to disturbing art at the National today. I like the clock that turns into a skull, I liked the Medusa head turning the soldiers to stone, and I really liked the painting entitled "Boy Bitten by Lizard." Yowza!

Next, we moved to the National Portrait Gallery, and guess what? Someone has a new favorite museum! I was crazy about it. I loved all of the Tudor portraits, but I was fascinated with the contemporary portrait contest, where I saw:

Tom, by Michael Gaskell

2, by Stephen Earl Rogers

Georgie, by Mary Jane Ansell

I also loved the Fabiola room. Francis Alys, over the course of 15 years, collected hundreds of copies of one painting. And the gallery filled three rooms with them. It was awesome. You would think that filling three rooms with variations of one painting would be tedious, but it was sort of hypnotic.

I bought postcards of these three portraits:

Dame Judi Dench

Michael Caine

Harold Pinter

Next, we discovered a hidden gem, thanks to a tip from Ms. Fedra Jones. At the corner of Trafalgar Square there is a secret garden. You go into a hotel, take an elevator to the top floor, and there it is - possibly the most amazing view of London. See for yourself:

It was wonderful being there with the woman I love.

Then we stopped by Westminster Abbey for an organ recital, though it was standing room only. It's amazing to listen to the acoustics of that organ music in a building so historical and so full of stories that it's almost overwhelming. I love it.

Lisa and I had a dinner at the Kensington Crepery. I had the Brittany, pretty much like always, and Lisa had something with cheese. I only remember that because Lisa ONLY eats cheese when she is in London. I've asked her what it was called, and she only remembers that it had some special cheese in it. But it was delicious. And for dessert, we shared a bitter orange crepe suzette, which may have been filled with alcohol, but we pretended that we didn't taste it because it was the Sabbath and also it was all burned out during the cooking process, right?