Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Day Out in London

Yesterday I went to London.  I was going to the theatre but I'd also discovered it was Open House London, which is part of Open City, where buildings not normally open to the public open their doors to visitors.  The first one I tried to visit was 201 Bishopsgate.

It's 2 towers, joined by some amazing diagonal stainless steel work with a roof garden.  Sadly there were about 100 people in front of me and they were only letting 20 people in every 1/2 hour and I didn't have that much time (see the people abseiling on the left tower?).

So I went to 10 New Burlington Street instead; a new build behind the facade of both Regent Street and New Burlington Street.  I was lucky enough to join a tour of 10 people led by one of the architects.  No photography was allowed so I've used the images from this website (which also explains more of the detail if you're interested).

Behind the facades (which were either kept in place and propped up during the build, or taken down brick by brick, stored and rebuilt to level the floors up)

is this - 

not what you'd expect to be there at all!

Inside they'd used limited materials - the ceilings are polished plaster and the walls white oak.

There is a large central atrium to bring in light and the handmade porcelain tiles were the only colour.

We went into the listed vaults underneath, which were originally wine cellars and had been sensitively restored with lime mortar and now store bike racks for the people who work there.

It is an absolutely stunning building,  and from Regents Street the only thing you see is this gate - designed to represent the clockmakers who used to be on the site in the past.

After leaving here, a spot of lunch, and a sense of direction failure that had me walking the wrong way up Charing Cross Road for quite a while, I went here.

Kenneth Branagh was fantastic, as were all of the cast.  His daughter was played by Sophie McShera who is known to many of us as Daisy from Downton Abbey.

It's on for another few weeks and it's worth a visit if you're in London.


Monday, September 12, 2016

A flea, some blocking and a battle!

This is a combined/random type of blog post as I've failed totally to manage to post them separately over the last few weeks.

First of all I've discovered a rather lovely, and very cheap, flea market near where my parents live.  We went to it a few weeks ago and I bought all of this:

There are 3 lovely 1950s Midwinter Cassandra dinner plates (I paid £8.00 for the three and they retail at about £20 each online).   The jug is holkham pottery and the Mrs Tiggly Winkle dish is wedgwood.
The bottle says King's Lynn Soda Water on it

All together I paid £30 for all the goodies in the photo (apart from the cat, she was just being nosey!).

Next, several people have asked my about why I block knitting.  Blocking turns a crumpled piece of finished knitting like this

into a defined, uncrumpled item.  I soak mine in water, roll it in a towel to dry it and them use wires and pins to pull it to the shape and size detailed in the pattern.

When it's dry it holds its shape and, it this case, retains the detail of the lace pattern.

This Henslowe shawl has turned out well, its a wool and silk mix yarn from Skein Queen.

Finally I went with Celia to a battle.  A reconstruction of the Battle of Assandun, between the Anglo Saxons led by Edmund Ironside and the Vikings led by Canute.

There was lots of charging about and a commentary telling the story (which was hard to hear), but it was fun and we had tea and cake too.

I'm off to London this weekend to see Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer - can't wait!