This was meant to be in the last post, but that one went on a little bit, didn’t it? Turns out there are a lot of hours to fill while Roo’s at nursery and E and I enjoy being Girls About Town. This week I decided it was time for Eva to take in a bit of culture and we had to go to Paperchase at Charing Cross, so we popped into the National Portrait Gallery for a quick look round.
I’ve said a few times that I don’t understand art. But portraits I can do. It’s pictures of people. People are interesting. What’s not to understand? When I was new to London and had neither job nor friends, I used to pop into the National Portrait Gallery quite a bit, to have a nosey around and kill time. Nowadays, I have less time to kill but it was rainy (as you can probably tell from the photo) and I was feeling cabin-fevery so it seemed like a good choice.
First impressions are that it’s somewhere that’s good to take a sleeping baby but wouldn’t be so good with a lively 3-year-old. It’s a “looking” kind of place, and Reuben is very much a “touching” kind of child. Preferably by sticking his head into things. Instinct tells me that sticking your head into a rare renaissance cartoon is the way to get yourself chucked out. He would, however, enjoy the massive escalator, which this photo does no justice to:
It was huge. I went straight up it as soon as we went in, for no reason other than it was there. I was keen to get to a loo because my tights were falling down in a spectacular fashion and, for the same reason, needed to keep moving in case I lost momentum and whatever force was keeping them from above ankle-level was lost with it. I hate tights. I would wear skirts a lot more often if only tights weren’t so dang annoying.
So, with that precarious arrangement and weighed down on both sides by Eva and Eva’s changing bag, I went up the 2-and-a-half storey escalator, praying that I didn’t fall down it backwards. I didn’t. And I did find a toilet in which to sort out my hosiery malfunction. And I did manage to keep Eva asleep while doing so. So there. On my toilet quest, I even caught a glimpse of the London skyline from the Portrait Restaurant, though we didn’t have the time to stop for a cuppa there. I do like a good London skyline.
Onto The Tudors then. In the earlier stages of Mat Leave, teeny Eva and I watched hours of The Tudors (the soap-drama) while Reuben was napping. One time, it was while he was napping on the sofa. He woke up, so I paused it, only to accidentally skip back ten minutes to a scene where someone was having a red-hot poker inserted into his jacksie. I think I bundled Roo out of the room with my hand over his eyes.The point is, Eva and I are quite interested in that period and wanted to see the real-life portraits of some of the people wot we saw on the telly. I particularly was interested in the portrait of Anne Boleyn, as I had done a sketch of it in Art Class in around Year 7 and had gained the highest grade I would ever achieve in my whole Art Class career (it was something like a B+….but I was proud of it). So it was weird, but cool to see the original. Eva pointed out that Anne Boleyn’s necklace was the same one as Betty wore on “Ugly Betty” (another program we enjoy together). Yes, I said, I knew that already. Dumbass baby.
That last bit may have happened in my head. I think she was still asleep. Anyway, we mooched around Tudors for a while, swooped through Regency, ignored Victorians and then went to look at pictures of popstars on Level 1. I was considering going to the “Lost Prince” exhibition, but you had to pay for that and I wasn’t that bothered. So, we saw some interesting things but it was very much look and don’t touch. I’m glad I had time to drift at my own pace rather than chasing Reuben. Having said that, if I found myself in the rain in Trafalgar Square again I wouldn’t be averse to taking him there to shelter for a bit.
On the way out, we had more excitement. I spotted this car in traffic:
Now, we’ve seen this car a lot. Its owner lives on our route to Winchester, so we’ve driven past hundreds of times. In case you can’t read the number plate it’s “Not 2B” and often sits next to another car which reads “2 BE”. Get it? The theatrical reference made us think that it must be some kind of actor-type and we’ve often sat in traffic jams and speculated on who it might be. So I was excited to spot it out and about, with its (presumably) celebrity owner stashed in the back. I chased it down Charing Cross Rd and tried to see, but the windows were blacked out. I have since done some research (i.e. googling) and found out who it was, but you’re just going to have to do that yourself. It’s not as exciting as I thought it might be. But I was excited at the time….
VERDICT: A nice place to kill a rainy afternoon with a baby asleep in a sling. Not the ideal toddler runaround.