Friday 29th September…destination the V&A…via the BBC and Docklands

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So, why the grapes? Well these are a few of more than a hundred bunches just outside Malcolm’s front door….just shows what sort of climate London has these days. He has, with neighbour Mike, just bought a small grape press on eBay so it’s just possible we may get something similar to Chateau Pomeroy next time we visit. Anyway, having admired the grapes off we went to Docklands for a look at how much it has changed in the couple or so years since we’ve been there (a lot).

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I particularly liked the Reuters building with moving news announcements…

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I understand my son has bad vibes about the whole area (having worked there), but I loved its vibrancy, I liked a lot of the new skyscrapers and the gardens and the waterside areas and the swish shopping centre. Mind you if I worked there, I would maybe feel the same…

Our next stop was in Portland Place…..

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Malcolm was keen to take us to the cafe next to the live weather centre and with a view of other BBC proceedings. Most unfortunately we were met by at least half a dozen security guards in the foyer…..the public no longer have access. Current state of play I suppose.

We were not to be foiled at our next stop, however, here seen behind the taxi drivers caff which is open to the public…..somewhere I had never been and always wanted to….the V&A.

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Inside we were greeted by a very very helpful lady who told us all about the highlights and the tour, and pointed us towards the cafe across the courtyard for lunch. There is a very nice water feature in the middle of the courtyard but, as it was raining, it was difficult to see where the pond ended and solid ground began, so Malcolm and Ann got a bit too acquainted with said water feature, making this a trip for them they will remember. The food was excellent, really really good and not too expensive, and the setting remarkable…..as often happens Malcolm quickly made some new friends.

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Sated, we went on the one hour tour with a cheery, enthusiastic and obviously very knowledgeable Scottish guide. This is by far the best way to get to grips with museum or art gallery. The only piece of her choice I didn’t much like was the first – the chandelier in the entrance hall…..still it’s only on loan!

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After that we had an amazing introduction to High Victorian decoration…the rood screen taken from Hereford Cathedral in the sixties (when it wasn’t appreciated) was stupendous….by George Gilbert Scott unsurprisingly.

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but we also were given fascinating background history to a large number of other treasures – from Edwardian ladies costumes to Rodin sculptures. It truly was a memorable experience. When wandering around it is always great to see people at work…

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and getting very close to some of the exhibits!

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The Casts Court was out-of-this-world, and since it was right near the entrance we went round the Exhibition on Plywood. It might seem a strange choice, but we had been told it was good, and boy was it good. The exhibition had been put together with tremendous thought so that it was a mix of objects – everything from racing cars to houses -and historic film clips and much else. Who would have known that Plywood has proved so versatile a material!

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After that we only had time to look briefly on our own at the ground-floor Medieval and Renaissance European Gallery….and it was, I am running out of words, stupendous

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before meeting David and Jennifer for a glass of wine (as it was late-night opening).

Our day finished with a bus trip to Acton to see D and J’s newly finished (more or less) flat, and we were very impressed. A lot of hard work and problems along the way, but it’s all been very worthwhile.

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