Yeah, I know…this was ages ago. We’ve been to Portugal and back since then but the Portuguese blog post will probably take a bit more brain power than I have right now and I did mean to blog this little trip around town that Eva and I did at the start of the holidays.
We started in Islington. Obviously. We were taking students from the church English Class on a field trip and we had to scoop them up on our way. It was slightly nerve-wracking trying to ensure we got all of them on the 56 together and I stood poised at the bus stop like a woman who’d never caught a bus before…but we managed it. 25 or so of them got on in Islington and off at St Paul’s and they may even have been the same 25. As we passed the Museum of London, Eva wistfully remarked that she’d like to go there again soon but it wasn’t where we were heading. Our destination was the Tate Modern, somewhere I’d visited briefly, childlessly and with an impending migraine last August. Back then I hadn’t taken in a lot of the artwork. This time, wrangling a 6-year-old and several English students, would be much more successful….right?
What was successful was the walk from St Paul’s to the Tate over the Millenium Bridge. The students loved seeing the cathedral up close and posing for selfies on the bridge with all the London sights behind them. As a vantage point, it’s a rival for Waterloo Bridge – you can see glimpses of Parliament and the London Eye in one direction and Tower Bridge and the Tower of London in the other. Perfect for London newbies
We gathered a few more students at the Tate itself and went downstairs to establish our meeting point and for Eva and I to get our “Tate Visiting Teacher” stickers, which may have suggested we were taking more responsibility for the students than we actually were. In fact, Isa, our multi-talented intern, was in charge and I was just enjoying having a sticker to wear. We set a time to gather back at the meeting point, went up to Floor 2 as a group and then kinda lost people around the galleries, however much we tried to stick together. I’m glad they were fully-grown adults and not kids….and it did remind me why I never volunteer to help on school trips.
Before we’d left the house, Reuben was contemplating whether to come with us or not and had asked what kind of art there was in the Tate Modern – “Pointillism? Surrealism?”. While I was impressed by his art knowledge, I couldn’t actually answer his question. But yes, there was Pointillism in the Pop Art section. I think.
Eva quite liked that section and she enjoyed the Mondrian paintings, which she recognised from Bunny’s hallway. She also really yuved this ballerina statue:
She also liked the colourful abstract paintings, like this optical illusion:
There were plenty of bits she wasn’t so keen on, including a short film on Dimitri Tsafendas, the man who assassinated the South African Prime Minister in 1966. She sat through around ten minutes of it, but told me afterwards it was a bit scary. I think it might have been the pitch black room it was being screened in. By this point, we were almost at the assembly time so we made our way back downstairs to find at least some of the students. Like I say, I’d be rubbish at school trips.
However, I do have some skills in locating drinking places near the Thames and I successfully guided the group to the Anchor near Southwark Bridge for a very British pint and a spot of lunch on the roof garden under thunder-grey skies. Having got them all up there, I then left them to it which seems harsh but again, these are grown ups we’re talking about and they could have rescued themselves any time. Plus, Eva was getting whiney.
So we stopped in at Leon in London Bridge for our own spot of lunch, where Eva ignored the doughnut she’d asked for and stole all my lattice fries (she’d had her own sandwich while we were still at the Tate) and then we jumped on a bus back towards St Paul’s because Eva, having briefly glimpsed the Museum of London earlier, now had her heart set on going there.
I’ve no idea why. It hasn’t changed much since we went there at Christmas. But she wanted to see all the same things again and we did find one or two new things – like some giant dollhouses under the stairs and a pirate hat to try on. She also wanted to go to the Beasts of London show but it was late in the day and we hadn’t booked so I promised her we’d return another day for that one. She was fascinated by this antique museum piece tho, which only bears the smallest resemblance to what she sees on Nathan’s feet every day:
It’s safe to say the fashion mannequins at the end are among her favourite exhibits, along with the Georgian dresses and shoes. She’s verging on the superficial. But she seemed very happy when we left because when she decides she wants something, it’s sometimes easier to give it to her even if it’s a completely superfluous museum trip. Or an even more superfluous trip to the Barbican after that because the cafes at the Museum were crowded so we ended up with crisps and hipster cherryade from the Barbican cafe, eaten outside near the hazardous “stepping stones” that Reuben had terrified me with four years ago.
So that was our day out – three venues, a lot of walking, spontaneous snacking but a lot of fun for me and my girl. Right, now who wants to know about Portugal? Give me a few days on that….