I am here at Gatwick at their cheaper internet cafe...after finding out the Philadelphia is iced over and no airplanes went out last night. I am glad I got up with Traci at 4 this morning and caught the Gatwick Express at 6:30--getting into the airport by 7. We waited in a line (thankfully, I was in the first 20 folks) for about a half an hour and then the bedlam began. Philly cancelled. No flights until Monday was passed down the line. I am so happy I had the coupons to go first class, as I will be on the same flight tomorrow morning...with the only available connection to Ithaca being 10:50 p.m. I will check when I get in for a better flight if possible. If not, it will be a long day. Having first class got me to the area they had room...so I am delighted that at least it is not two days. I then checked into the airport Hilton and may spend the day working on my thesis as I have just had enough of all of this. It is too expensive--and I have had an overdose of museums and stuff that it just bounces off my eyeballs. Plus, I am wiped out...
Yesterday, we had a sit down breakfast and met a classmate at the Wallace Collection. What an interesting place. The Wallace is kind of the Frick...only English with wonderful work surrounded by furniture, cracked plaster and peeling ceiling, ormolu vases, aubusson carpets, gilt and glitter. They had the famous picture of Dudley (Elizabeth I's horsemaster), a Franz Hals that inspires in it's brushwork and clarity, and a bunch of frothy Bouchards.Huge collection of armor, daggers(the indian ones are the best as they are the most lethal looking), helmets and shields. They had a little show on a Majolica painter that was fun. I love majolica. The best piece was inspired by the artist that constructed heads from fruit, or musical instruments or or ....this head was constructed out of penises!!
Took a moment for all of us to get it...and then!! The Wallace is a huge facade that is designed to have an open courtyard. They covered the courtyard and added stairs to the basement in a very clean, modern way...and filled the courtyard with a white tablecloth cafe. The ladies bathrooms were individual bathrooms, each with sinks and lovely tilework inside. Very gracious like the Frick.
We proceeded to walk down to Oxford Circus and down Regent Street to get to Carnaby Street. Then off to Covent Gardens. We figured we would look at stores etc. Lots of ideas. Didn't buy anything because of the spanking the dollar is getting. Went into Habitat and saw pretty much high end IKEA stuff. Lots of pink in mens clothing..and Alex, lots of purple too. Bright pink(hot pink) ties on softer pink striped shirts...looks really good. Tons of Quicksilver and Roxy stores. I have seen very elegant and hip guys and gals...all with Billibong and the surf stuff from LA on. AquaVI needs to come here. Their little jackets etc. are PERFECT for the crowd here. We went into a LUSH soap company which is an english venue--with basins of water everywhere and the sales people lathering up their hands and arms with lots of invitations to join in to demonstrate the goods. The soap is cut into blocks from these enormously molded soaps...some like gigantic jellow molds, others like layer cakes. All very gorgeous. They have some soaps on ice that look like pink runny cheese. They have these other soaps that are these very soft, jello like soaps in ceramic dishes that jiggle and wiggle. A block of soap can run you about £7.5. Ouch!!You do the translation into pounds (multiply by 2!). We looked at shoes, bags, stuff, junk jewels, and the big british fab stores like Burberry etc. We went into a couple of vintage places which were highlighting seventies jogging suits (jesus!) and stuff you wish would never surface. However, it makes Justin and Dominica's Potrune look like Madison Avenue for their selection and style. I want to stay open, but we have it pretty good in upstate New York.
The location of Covent Garden is beautiful...but tres tourist trap. Tons of stalls of people selling handmade stuff. The best being totebags constructed out of mens suit jackets with the sleeve with buttons being the flap. Very inspired. I did see some necklaces/rings/hairclip made up of big winky dollbaby eyes...Kitty!!
The British Museum stays open on Thursdays and Fridays--So I went on Thursday--with many of the collections locked down at 5. So, I didnt see the Beatrix Potter--but got a dose of Egypt, Greek and Roman artifacts. There is this wonderful collection that I didnt have the patience to really dig into--that is very Jurassic Museum of Technology. It is a huge space that is covered floor to ceiling with bookcases filled with books, natural history specimens and art about the same matter--ranging from seashells to botantical to maps etc. All tagged and obtuse. There are cases that run down the middle of the room with letters, and coins and more ephemera relating to the subject area you are in.... Pretty great. Should have been the first thing to visit in London when you can take that stuff in. I walked home from the British--not wanting to deal with the crush in the subway and enjoyed seeing the afterwork crowd. Lots of takeaway. The best being a japanese takeaway on Oxford Street called Wasabi which is sushi sold 2 pieces at a time--with them chock a block making a fabulous tessilated pattern featuring rice and nori.
My internet time is running out. I am going now. I will call when I get to Phillie...or if there are changes, I will relate. I miss you all...