Sunday, 29 January 2012

I did absolutely nothing today.

Literally.

I slept in and lazed around the house.

I did apply for a couple more jobs, but I did that from my bed.

That’s all.

Love ya  bye

Sarah

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Saturday, 28 January 2012

English: Portobello Road, W11. A very colourfu...

This morning I went for a walk in Notting Hill. More specifically, I went for a walk along Portobello Road. It was their busy market day, so I just walked up and down the street checking things out.

There were a lot of buskers, some of whom were better than others.

I wandered into the Portobello Print and Map Shop, or whatever it’s called. I ended up spending way more money than I should have on a map. But I feel like it’s worth it.

It’s an authentic antique engraving of Nova Scotia from 1750 – That’s when we were still Acadia folks. It’s pretty cool. The whole thing is in French, and Acadia stretches through New Brunswick. PEI is I.St. Jean, and Cape Breton is Isle Royale. Not all of Nova Scotia is on the map, and it also looks like we could build a bridge to Newfoundland. It came with a certificate of authenticity and everything.

This evening I went with Bella and Indya (my house sister) to meet the rest of the family at a Brasilian restaurant. It was a couple of family members birthdays recently, so there were about 17 of us there. It was Brasilian rodizio style and everyone ate way more than they should have. We were there for about 3 hours, maybe a little more.

Now I’m just sitting in my room having some hot chocolate before I go to bed.

Love ya bye

Sarah

Friday, 28 January 2012

Hello family,

I woke up this morning feeling super rested. But I hear that can happen when you get over 12 hours of sleep.

It was a really nice day today in London. Bright, sunny weather, and it was even kind of warm. I think it might have been over 10 degrees. At one point, I was walking around with my coat undone.

That’s what I did today, by the way… I walked, and walked.

I got off the subway at Green Park, got a cappuccino at one of the little coffee stands they have in the park, and then just started walking. The cappuccino was REALLY bad, kind of like warm water. But it did the trick.

Buckingham Palace in London
Image via Wikipedia

I found Buckingham Palace. There were a lot of tourists there today too. I wasn’t expecting there to be a whole bunch of tourists in London in January.

English: Canada Memorial - war memorial in Gre...
Image via Wikipedia

After Buckingham Palace, I walked back through Green Park and found the Canada Monument. It’s a memorial to the Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served in the two World Wars. It has a bunch of maple leafs carved in it, and it’s oriented towards Halifax, which I thought was pretty cool.

After walking through Green Park, I decided to pretend I was Taylor Swiftfor a while and go for a walk by myself in Hyde Park. Have you seen those pictures yet? I’d post them if I didn’t think someone would come after me for some sort of copyrite infringement. So look them up youself.

Harrods
Image by Mike_fleming via Flickr

Next, I went back to Knightsbridge for some window shopping. I started off at Harvey Nichols, and then went back for another walk around Harrod’s. I found their chocolate and sweets department today – and another reason to move to London.

By the way, I told the pushy sales people that I couldn’t buy anything because my sister had my credit card. So… Summer Rann…. if anyone asks, you went on a tear at Harrod’s today.

When I was bored of not being able to afford anything, and finished getting my kicks by pissing off the ponsy people by eating my McDonald’s outside of Harrod’s, I figured it was time to go back to my little nerd world.

Ended up at the British Museum again. I did the tour on the Romans, and then wandered around the Egyptian Mummies room.

The Great Court of the British Museum, with th...
Image via Wikipedia

Then, I had afternoon tea and scones in the Great Hall. I texted my mum to tell her, but she didn’t seem too happy about me having afternoon tea at the British Museum while she was working.

At 6:30 I watched the little concert that they had in the Enlightenment Gallery. It was put on by the “Carapina Trio” – three students from the Royal Academy of Music.

I positioned myself with a good view of the cute one… and by “cute one”, I do mean the “Leonard Hoffstater” of the group, cuz… you know… they were a string trio…

They played:                                                                                    Schubert: String Trio in B-flat major, D.471                                                 Beethoven: String Trip in C minor, Opus 9, No. 3                                         Mozart: Divertimento in E-flat, K. 563

I have no idea what any of that means. But it sounded pretty.

After that, I just walked down Oxford Street to get to the subway station and go home.

Love ya bye

Sarah

Day 10

I’m feeling kind of lazy today. I left the house a little later than I usually do and didn’t get into the city until lunch. I decided to go to the V&A again, because it was lunch time and the V&A has the best food I’ve had since I got here.

Today I toured the British and Asian galleries. I saw something called the “Badminton Bed”. I still have no idea how it got this name.

I also saw this little gem:

Tipu's Tiger, V&A, London

It’s called Tipu’s Tiger, and it’s a life sized carving of a tiger attacking a British soldier who was stationed in India. Apparently it’s also a music box. Only the “music” that it plays sounds suspiciously like a tiger growling and an English soldier screaming.

I was supposed to meet Sarah for coffee today, but we couldn’t figure out a decent time. We’ll have to try again some other time.

Later in the afternoon, I hopped on the Jubilee line up to the British Museum. I had a tour guide there who I think may have arrived at the museum at the same time as the Rosetta Stone. She was also about a foot shorter than me.

And just as a side note, how many tourist pictures do you suppose I’ve been in?

After that I just went home. I’m still feeling pretty lazy, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.

Love ya bye
Sarah

National Portrait Gallery

First thing this morning I went up to the T-Mobile store on Oxford St. to top up my cell phone minutes. This took all of 30 seconds, then I was off to the National Portrait Gallery.

The National Portrait Gallery is technically a separate museum from the National Gallery. But they do share the same building. A lot of the really famous portraits of English Royalty are at this museum.

Queen Anne Portrait. National Portrait Gallery, London.

I went to the talk on a portrait of Queen Anne. Afterwards I talked to the girl who gave the talk. She said that I just missed their last hiring binge. Apparently they just hired 47 people for a new Freud exhibit they’re working on. But she did tell me that there is a lot of turnover at some departments, so I should keep trying all the time. Then she gave me a long list of every museum she could think of for me to apply.

After that, I went to the National Gallery and went to the talks on Tintoretto and Parmigianino (not the cheese). I found out that Tintoretto is responsible for the largest oil on canvas paintings in the world. He was able to do this by painting the sails from all the trade ships coming in and out of Venice at the time. I asked the guy that gave those talks if he had any advice. He said mostly just to volunteer as much as possible until something opens up.

While I was walking around, I saw a teenage boy who was wearing a toque. He had his hair all bunched up on the top of his head, and his curls were popping out the top of his hat where the pompom is supposed to go.

The daughter of the lady who works with my mum called me this afternoon, and we made plans to meet up tomorrow for coffee.

That’s it for today, I’m super tired.

Love ya bye

Sarah


Moving to England for the Clotted Cream

Seriously. Have you tried the clotted cream? It’s kind of amazing.

It was a very stereotypical English day today – rainy. I started the morning at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. It must be a really popular museum, because they had a “fast pass” line. Who knew?

The Natural History Museum is by far the most impressive building I’ve been in since I got here. It looks like a Harry Potter movie set. It was built in 1880 to keep all the natural history stuff that couldn’t fit in the British Museum anymore.

Natural History Museum London - Main Hall. From Wikipedia.

It’s also a very kid friendly museum. It’s very interactive. The coolest part was the Dinosaur exhibit. They had a bunch of dino skeletons, and a life size tyrannosaurus robot thing. I did, however, start to get a little nervous when I got lost in the “Human Biology” exhibit. Luckily, the “More about Placenta” room wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

Next I headed over to the Victoria and Albert Museum for lunch. It’s right next door and was pretty empty today. I pretty much had the place to myself.

The dining room at the V&A is crazy impressive. I had the

Dining Room, V&A Museum.

mozzarella, tomato and prosciutto sandwich on ciabatta bread (the soft fluffly kind), a cappuccino and a plain scone with clotted cream.

The cafe was kind of busy, so I shard my table with two older English ladies and their old lady perms. I didn’t talk to them at all, but I imagine they were Dot and Betty from Devonshire — Don’t act like you can’t picture it.

After that I spent the rest of the day wandering around the Medieval/Renaissance Art exhibits.

Hey! Ever wonder who my favourite saint is!? I know, stupid question, right? Of course you have!

It’s Saint Christopher – patron saint of travellers.

Followed very closely by Saint Martha. But that’s just because she slayed a dragon.

Anyway, my point is that I saw some reliquaries today, and one was supposed to have housed relics of St. Christopher.

VA Lectern with Bagpiper, V&A Collections, W. 159-1910.

I also saw an Italian lectern from  1490-1500 that had a bagpiper carved onto it. The interpretive panel said that the bagpiper was a “popular comic symbol of lust”…

I had no idea. Maybe the Italians play it differently?

I think the V&A is one of the better museums in London. Things are displayed in a way that makes logical sense, the panels are easy to read, and they have a bunch of very helpful touch screen video/interactive panels. They even have stations where you can listen to (in the case of the Medieval Galleries) the liturgical music that would have been playing in the churches where all this stuff was originally kept.

I might hit up the National Gallery tomorrow, or National Portrait Gallery, or both.

Love ya bye

Sarah

Day 7 – Long Day (23 January 2012)

Oyster Card, London, England

I started the day with some Oyster Card problems. That’s my travel card for London. The problem I’m having is that at the moment, my train tickets are paid for separately from my underground tickets. Even though I use my Oyster Card for both. I bought a 7 day travel card for Zones 1 and 2, but then I also have to top up my “pay as you go” balance to use the train. But I didn’t know that they were different until this morning when I tried to go on the train and my card didn’t work. It was very confusing.

Anyway, once that was figured out I headed over to the British Museum again. I took the tour on Gods and Goddesses in Roman Britain this morning and then I just kind of wondered around the museum.

I spent a lot of time looking at the Parthenon Marbles. These are the

A few of the Elgin Marbles (also known as the ...
Image via Wikipedia

pediment statues, friezes, and metopes from the Temple to Athena at the Athenian Acropolis in Greece. They show up in every Art History text book ever, and are actually pretty controversial in the museum world.

It has to do with ownership of historical artefacts. There are a lot of people who believe that artefacts, etc. should remain in the country from which they came; ie everything made in Ancient Greece should be returned to Greece. Then there are the other people who say, “wait a minute, if the job of the museum is to educate people, why would you limit what you can teach people, just because of geography. Not everyone will be able to travel to Greece, but they might be able to get to England, or Toronto…” The Parthenon marbles, along with the Rosetta Stone are two of the most controversial artefacts for this reason. The Greek and Egyptian governments and antiquities authorities are doing pretty much whatever they can to get these things back.

And another thing, can you image the logistical nightmare that would be returning EVERY Greek or Egyptian artefact in museums around the world to Greece or Egypt??? Holy crap.

Fountain in Trafalgar Square, with the Nationa...

After the British Museum I went for a walk down to Trafalgar Square to see the National Gallery. I went through Soho (It’s not just in New York), Chinatown, West End/ Theatre District area. I saw a bunch of theatres, and “Singing in the Rain” is playing here. I might have to go see that one.

In Trafalgar Square they have a countdown to the Olympics. It told me that there were exactly 219 days, 3 hours, 8 minutes, and 47 seconds until the start of the games.

After I explored the National Gallery a little bit – a more in depth trip will have to be another day – I walked around the city some more. I walked all the way down to Westminster Abbey, past Downing Street. I also saw the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

That sounds like a crazy amount of walking, but London is far more condensed than I remember it being. It didn’t seem like that long a walk, but it definitely hurt my feet. Although, the hurt feet might have had more to do with the fact that, as it turns out, I was doing all this walking in shoes that were two different sizes. The left one is a 7 and the right one is an 8. I’m not really sure how that happened.

Love ya bye,

Sarah