My last ten days in England started with a trip up to Cambridgeshire to paint, look after grandchildren, celebrate English Father’s Day with both children and all the grandchildren and has now moved to London and wonderful Piccadilly!
Cambridgeshire is truly a magical place, you can just imagine Winnie the Pooh and Tigger just around the corner in the gorgeous villages and rural vistas. It is especially true when walking through English woodland – so green, so fresh, with a dog called Daphne at your side, meeting other dogs and following the trail of the ancient Romans. The trail I followed is alongside ‘Fleam’s Dyke’ – one can only wonder who Fleam was, what his (or her) life was like and what amazing work they did, draining the marshes in this part of the world.
One day I set off without the dog to walk to the next village about one and a half miles away – it takes you through ploughed fields and along gorgeous glades – no need to worry about snakes here, thank goodness! On reaching Balsham, I treated myself to a pub lunch at the Black Bull Inn – steak and ale pie, new potatoes and a chardonnay. Well earned and no need for dinner that night (and I also watched a thatcher redoing an old cottage and bought a home made brownie for an evening snack – a treat for after the children were in bed). Son and daughter in law had a well deserved couple of nights off while I indulged in grand motherhood – not really great at 5am, however, when master 2 year old thought it was wake up time!
Managed to paint some of the spectacular roses – the garden is simply stunning at this time of year and the roses are unbelievable.
Then back to London for a few more days with my daughter and her family and to catch up with my lovely cousins, Caroline and Deborah. Fortunately for me they are both art experts, especially Deborah who used to work for Christies and was on the Antiques Road Show on TV (yes, I am name dropping and very proud of them both I am…) Anyway, I really wanted to see the new renovations to the Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington House in Piccadilly and they are both members, so after a delicious wander down Piccadilly, into Burlington Arcade, around Fortnum and Mason’s, peering through the windows of Cartier, Prada and all the luxury goods shops, having a coffee and scones, jam and clotted cream (yes, terrible diet, but I can’t resist and will get back on track in Australia next week). Did a bit of a paint out in Piccadilly next to the Royal Academy to capture the colours, Grayson Perry Flags and banners for the 250 year anniversary of the Royal Academy. Then walked through to Buckingham Palace and onto the Mall – I remembered being on my father’s shoulders to watch the Queen ride by on her horse at the Trooping the Colour when I was eleven.
There is a huge Anish Kapoor installation in the RA courtyard (I don’t think I get it) and then tea in the members room and family nattering before wandering at our leisure through the old RA and into the new part connecting the RA school to Burlington Gardens. It is vast and monumental – impressive certainly, but there still seems to be a lot of wasted space – but perhaps that is what the Academy wants. Great to see some of the works that have not been in daylight for years – Leonardo and Michelangelo copies of their cartoons and a huge copy of The Last Supper dating from the early 1500s.
Extremely satisfying to be able to enjoy and discuss and reminisce – I am a very fortunate person! This will be the last report from over here – really looking forward to getting home now to Richard and the rest of the family and all my friends.