Tuesday, April 7, 2009

London and home

Spring was busting out all over London yesterday as Jason headed back to Singapore and I had the day to wander around Kensington Palace and the British Museum. Although I had never been to Kensington Palace, and it had been years since I stepped into the museum, it was a perfect day to flaunt my tourist credentials and enjoy both on my own. 

The day prior, while Jase was at an afternoon meeting, I headed to a little known museum called the Wallace Collection---a bequest to the nation from the wife of Sir Richard Wallace, the bastard son of the fourth marquess of Hertford.  If medieval armor and 18th century French painting, furniture, and ceramics are your thing, you’ll find an extraordinary collection housed in a gorgeous townhouse on Manchester Square.  I didn’t linger there very long.  My tastes were more about music that day---so I shuffled over to the Handel

house and museum, where I caught the ending of a harpsichord/cello concert and explored the costume room at the museum (see photo).  Luckily, I confined myself to the wigs and passed on the velvet jacket and trousers.

London is a city for wanderers like me.  Much like other great cities I love---my home in NYC, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong—I walked endlessly through the neighborhoods.  Tired and sated, I arrived at Heathrow Monday evening, worn but happy to be on my way home. 

I can’t love London anymore than I already do.  Jase and I found an endless number of attractions and distractions to keep ourselves fully engaged and now a bit wistful about not having more time for theater and a few more meals and another few nights at The Grand at Trafalgar Square.  Two fine restaurants we recommend for your next trip to London:  Indian cuisine at the elegant (but affordable) Moti Mahal and fantastic tapas served at a semi-rectangular counter at Barrafina (we almost closed the place down, not wanting to depart).  We both have credit balances on our Oyster cards, so we’ll be back….one of these days….

Finally, a few more photos from Manchester---the city is a gold mine if you’re a student of industrial history.  I’ve always 

been fascinated—and, frankly, confused—by the textile weaving process.  Learned a bit more about it on this journey but mostly fascinated by the geometry of the machinery, the threads, and the ingenuity of the men whose inventiveness about process control was the precursor of modern computer logic---150 years before its time.  Note the punch cards on the far left (photo above right) containing the weaving instructions for the machinery.

1 comment:

  1. An innovative and industrious culture! What a concept...coming from Nepal visitor's perspective that is...Speaking of bursting plant life, I read in The Himalayan Times this morning that Nepal has lost out on the patenting of dozens of it's over 300 unique to Nepal flower species due to inertia. Outsiders come in and capitalize on Nepal's indifference and obtain samples, then return back to their country of origin and apply for international patent rights...So Nepal loses out on it's own native plant potential.