A B&R London day out: swimming, sketching, eating

A balmy July day in the midst of a heatwave, we managed a rare cultural day together. First stop, after a proper tramp across Hampstead Heath where we met 'one of the infamous dog walkers' (her words) and a jogging Christopher Eccleston (who was very polite and provided directions even though we weren't actually shouting at him at the time, but each other), was the ladies pond. The enforced march by Rolfe meant we were suitably sticky and in need of a refreshing bathe. 

Straight in and what a delight! Fresh smells (and I'm not being euphamistic) beneath the willows and amongst the weeds. We were temporarily 'evacuated' as lightening lit up the distance  - there followed much confused attempts at understanding the 'science' behind such a policy - all present had clearly forgotton any secondary school science they ever had - mid-week outdoor swimming the preserve of arts graduates only?  We were much amused by the human instinct to get out of a pond (water!) to shelter from the rain (water!) under a tiny bit of awning. Personally I delighted in the rain (it was a HOT day) and was pleased to return to the water with the rain beating down around us, making tiny and evocative bubbles on the surface. You don't get that at the local leisure centre.

The idlyllic Ladies Pond in sunshine

The idlyllic Ladies Pond in sunshine

Evacuated swimmers, failing to see irony, huddle under awning to keep dry

Evacuated swimmers, failing to see irony, huddle under awning to keep dry

Pleased to see the geese followed the evacuation order too.

Pleased to see the geese followed the evacuation order too.

The skies brightened and were able to lunch on the banks and do a bit of sketching, trying to capture the lush surroundings of this little idyll. 

From Bloomfield's sketchbook

From Bloomfield's sketchbook

Sketch by Bloomfield
Bloomers sketching at the ponds

Bloomers sketching at the ponds

We had to drag ourselves from the banks as the day was slipping away.

 Next stop was the V&A Museum of Childhood, somewhere we've been meaning to visit for years. It's a shame it's such a nightmare to get to really as it's full of lovely stuff, more suited to nostalgic adults in our opinion than children wanting entertainment. I was rather enchanted by all the dolls houses, remembering how much I loved things with 'little bits' as a child, and there were lots of fabulous characters.

A 'hug of bears' from the Museum of Childhood. Very sweet!

A 'hug of bears' from the Museum of Childhood. Very sweet!

Look at the hams!

Look at the hams!

There's none of this modern nonsense about not terrifying the little ones.

There's none of this modern nonsense about not terrifying the little ones.

Royal memorabilia: love it, even if Di looks a little subdued.

Royal memorabilia: love it, even if Di looks a little subdued.

As ever we couldn't possibly bid farewell to each other without partaking in a big nosh-fest. We happily toasted our day at the wonderful Wahaca in Islington where there was much coo-ing about corn and slavering over cheese. 

Bloomers enjoying the spread

Bloomers enjoying the spread

Rolfe having a scoff

Rolfe having a scoff

Bloomfield out and about: People-sketching and more

A rare journey south for Bloomfield this week. First, a posh lunch with an old friend in Ottolenghi's Nopi (I'd recommend the Courgette fritters, Valdeón Cheesecake and Venison; I was too busy nattering and scoffing to take any photos which was remiss of me).

Then an afternoon with no particular purpose in South Kensington in vague search of inspiration.   

The V&A: I was particularly taken with this German 17th century swirly-whirly fairy-tale wrought iron, complete with imps, that could be a 21st century papercut and begs to be made into a Christmas card.....

railings.jpg

... but then got terribly distracted by sketching people amoungst the exhibits.

V&A sculpture gallery

I fought past the legions of Spanish school children to the Natural History Museum where I didn't make much past the iconic entrance and more people with exotic backdrops. 'People-sketching' - like 'people-watching' but with a pen.

Natural History Museum

Finally, more scoffing at Shrimpy's where I caught up with Rolfe before dashing for the train back up north. 

Here we are about to tackle dessert. 

Mental note: At our next meeting we must - simply must - have a more sophisticated shot taken.