Saturday 23 June 2012

London calling...

Hi everyone; just back from a wonderful few days in London.  The visit was predominantly for me to view my youngest daughter, Emma's, photographic exhibition in Brick Lane.  Emma graduates next month from Roehampton University in London.  She took photography and art history and I'm incredibly proud of her.  I hadn't seen her since Christmas (I don't count skype!) and so I have been looking forward to this visit for months!

Emma met me from the train at Euston station and we went to a local pub for lunch.  On showing her my camera she insisted on taking a flattering picture of me...

I didn't even know my camera could take these effects...  (I'm not one to show pictures of myself, but I had to show the picture at the beginning of this post to prove that my nose is not really that big!!!!!).  Of course I insisted on repaying the compliment -

Bless her... 

So, lunch done we made our way over to Brick Lane to view her exhibition.  On the way music was gradually getting louder and louder and we rounded a corner to see this -

OMG.....  loads and loads of people were tangoing (should that have a 'e' in it???).  It was AMAZING!!!!  The music was traditional tango music and all the couples had obviously tangoed before.  They were all dancing cheek to cheek  and wafting their legs about... Look how strongly and purposefully the men are holding their women...  ohhhhhh.....  I drooled for a while, until Emma offered to round up bribe a man for me to dance with; I did seriously consider this for a minute or so, until sensibly coming to the conclusion that despite me dancing the tango expertly and elegently, just like these people, in my head, in reality no-one would appreciate my blundering 'one together, two together' or god forbid involuntary leg jerks...

It seems that the impromptu tango spectacle was due to summer festival celibrations at Spitalfields.  It's times like these that I wish I lived nearer to a city...

So we carried on to Brick Lane and Emma's exhibition.

For Emma's final project she visited Askham Grange Women's open prison in York and photographed some of the women prisoners and the facilities there.  She did very well to get permission to do this (her tutors didn't think the authorities would allow her), but with persistance she managed it and took some amazing and interesting photographs.

It was fabulous, as were many of the other's on her course who also were exhibiting.  Well done Ems xxx.

The following day we took a bus out to Hampton Court Palace.  This was King Henry VIII's favourite palace, and I last visited when I was about 9 years old on a school visit; I've been keen to return for ages.  After watching the Tudor's box set recently Emma was also very interested, and we weren't disappointed.

Before the entrance is a wonderful walled rose garden, full of old fashioned tea and climbing roses, all in flower; they were stunning...

Then on to the main event; the palace is spectacular and the experience is enhanced by a very good audio guide system (included within the entrance ticket price) that gives loads of extra information as you visit each room.

We started at Henry's kitchens -

You can't really see the scale of the fire above, but if you look closely you can see a couple of spits (for roasting meat) in front of the fire - the top one was about 4 foot off the ground.  The whole thing was massive.

On to the Great Hall; I couldn't get a very good overall picture in here - it came out too dark, but I did get the beautiful tapestries at the side of the Hall -

Engrossed, I turned to find King Henry VIII walking towards me...?

"Good Day to you my Lady" he said to me as he passed...!  Now given that I was gawking at him from the middle of the path that he was (quite briskly) walking down, and he practically had to hurdle me, I can only surmise that this meant "shift woman" in the 16th Century...  Frankly he should have been thankful that I didn't poke him as he walked past me to see if he was solid!

Outside the architecture is amazing.

They were getting ready to stage a concert in one of the inner courtyards -

Quite an impressive concert venue!!  I hope they took umbrellas.

Anne Boleyn was also wandering around...

Mercifully with her head still attached.  After 3 years at University Emma now wants to jack photography in and waltz around in costume all day at Hampton Court!  I have to say they added enormously to the experience.

I searched and found a secure, lockable room -

And locked Emma in there until she gave up on the career change ideas...

The gardens are equally as impressive -

There are some amazing trees -

All in all it was a grand day out...  and we finished it off with Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre in the West End.  My third time of watching and still brilliant.

They were very strict that no pictures were to be taken when the performance started, so just one snap of the covered chandelier just before it all kicked off.

We exited out onto Leicester Square.

They had been staging the premier of Spiderman at the Odeon Cinema and the clear up was in full swing.


I can feel your boredom now, so I won't inflict you to much more, but I have to share that I visited a yarn shop...

I Knit London is just off from Waterloo Train station and chock a block full of luxury yarns.  And once again I was seduced by 2 hanks of variegated loveliness...

I know, I know....  after my earlier remarks about variegated yarn I can sense your disdain from here, but look at the colours...  I just need to come up with something that makes the most of it....

Well I commend you if you are still reading...  you have staying power!

Happy crafting!



  1. beautiful pictures,places and yarns.Good luck and best wishes for your daughter Emma.:0)

  2. Such a fabulous post! Thank you for sharing day one! Your "baby" is just are YOU! Hmmmmm, those roses in the garden photos! And I love your Leicester Square at night image too! Show us more! Annette

  3. I love all your pictures! Especially the stain glass and the trees~! How interesting! ♥♥♥

  4. Hello Karen!!! I love your blog and your work!!!!
    I follow your blog!!

  5. Love London!!! Thank you for sharing your pics!!!
    xxxx Alessandra

  6. What a lovely day! Thank you for sharing it with us :-)

  7. Thank you for the walk through history! Congrats Emma! And I am seduced regularly by a well turned variegated, what can you do?

  8. Thank you so much for taking us along on your trip to London. Loved all the pics and the tour of King Henry VIII's castle.

  9. Fantastic post,, Brick lane and spittlefields are one of my most favourite places in London, we try to get there whenever we can,, your daughters photography is amazing and i am sorry that i didnt get to see it, it looks like you both had a really fab day, and thank you too for sharing Henry eighths palace, thats one i must put on my to do list.
    Great post
    Pixie x

  10. Very interesting post for a very dull sunday morning. Well done to your daughter!

  11. Karen, spectacular photos, even the one with your nose. You must be so proud of you daughter, she is lovely and very impressive. Love all the photos and histroy. Glad Anne had her head on.
    Beautiful yarn by the way,

  12. This was a great post! I enjoyed every bit of it, and you ended it with that beautiful Manos yarn. Wow!

  13. What fun! And the photos are amazing!! I just found your blog and became a new follower (: Can't wait to come back for more posts...Hope you have a lovely week!!


  14. Hi Karen, That wqs so interesting. I would like to visit London again now.
    You must be so proud of your daughter, i found the picture of the lady knitting in her cell very moving. look forward to more . love sue xx

  15. What a great trip ... and I enjoyed reading it all .. that yarn shop looks great I think I would have sucumbed too!
    Fleur xx

  16. Thanks Karen, for me is an honor that you follow my blog. I admire your work!!


  17. I also bought some Manos some time ago, but the red kind. So beautiful, but haven't decided what to do with it.

  18. thank you for these lovely pictures of your day with your daughter i love the things you make and will deffo be trying some of them out your blog is grate hope mine ends up on the same scale one day thank you