Saturday, 25 May 2013

Chelsea Flower Show

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Helena asked me if I'd like to go to the Chelsea Flower Show with her as she had managed to get 2 tickets for Friday evening. Well, who could turn that offer down! I usually go to the RHS Spring show in Malvern but this year it clashed with Harri's birthday weekend, so I didn't manage to get there. It is many years since I've been  to the Chelsea flower show and I have overwhelming memories of being crushed in the throng and not being able to get a great view of the gardens. I always plan to go and then end up not booking tickets and watching it on the telly. Well not this year!

We couldn't get in until 17.30, so we went first to Tate Britain to have a look at the fabulous 500 years of British Art. This has now been arranged  around the perimeter rooms of Tate Britain in chronological order starting in the 1500's.There are so many wonderful works of art that eventually you get visual overload. We galloped through every single room covering 500  years in about 3 hours! This is clearly not the best way to do this: if I lived in London I would dip in and out , just taking one room , more slowly, at a time (it's also free).
They even had one of Barry Flanagan's famous hares! I didn't think to take more photos  but it was well worth the visit.
I had planned that we would walk from the Tate ,across the Thames, and stroll down to the Chelsea Hospital but of course it was absolutely p*ssing it down, and we both got soaked! I even had to buy a brolly in Peter Jones. All I can say was that it was a good job I was wearing winter clothes otherwise I would have frozen to death. 
We managed to see all the show gardens when it was only lightly raining and then took refuge in the Great Pavilion during the heavier down pours. So apologies for the crap photos:
One corner of the B and Q Sentabale Forget- me -knot garden (Prince Harry's garden).
A few selected highlights:
We did get to see the Australian garden that won best in show, but it was very crowded around it so I didn't get many photos. The planting was absolutely stunning, as were the natural waterfalls  but I didn't like the giant orange solar panel thing. 

One difference between Chelsea and Malvern, is that you can't actually buy any plants in Chelsea, you can only order them. The evening slot was certainly quieter than daytime, but 2 and 1/2  hours is not enough time to see everything, so there were areas that we missed altogether. The rain didn't help either as it is mostly all outside. The quality of the merchandise is certainly much higher in Chelsea (with an appropriately high price tag) and there were some stunning sculptures. I can only dream..

Gardening and art are 2 of my obsessions, but I think I'd better make my next post about sewing!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Happy 21st Birthday Harri

This post is one day late because I have some sort of virus and feel like sh*t. Yesterday my darling boy was 21.Where has all the time gone! He has gone from this

To this

And this

To this

and now this.
Because his birthday was on a Monday, we went to London for the weekend before his birthday. Harri is a big fan of South Park and I managed to get some tickets for the Book of Mormon, the musical currently running to packed audiences in Prince of Wales theatre ( some of the time I can be organised-booked these months ago!)
We met Madlen at the theatre so it was a family affair. The Book of Mormon was as you would expect, no subtley whatsoever, very, very rude and hilariously funny. We were all laughing uproariously. The cracks came so thick and fast that I'm sure I missed quite a few. It was also very jolly and uplifting, as the cast appeared to be  enjoying themselves as much as the audience.
We didn't do very well on the cultural front. We trekked over to The Portland Gallery because I wanted to see the Joan Eardly exhibition, only to find it was closed at weekends. My fault entirely, as I hadn't checked. Then we trekked over to The British Museum to see the Pompeii and Heracaneum exhibition , only the queue ( I hadn't prebooked) was about 2 1/2 hours and Mr Hare doesn't do waiting around ( he wasn't very keen in the first place). So we ended up taking Harri to the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons. He is studying anthropology so was very interested in a lot of the exhibitions especially the primate skulls.
We ate a whole variety of food, not always very good but did have a splendid dinner at Granger's in Notting Hill.

Madlen got absolutely soaked on her way to the restaurant.
We'll gloss over the fact that on Sunday it took us 2 1/2 hours to get out of London. The whole of West London was gridlocked because of an accident in Hammersmith. Then Harri missed his flight from Bristol ( by 10 minutes!) and we had to take him at 04.30 on Monday morning to get the next flight. It is amazing that it is much, much cheaper to fly than take a train, even with a student railcard.
All in all though a lovely weekend!