Monday 4 December 2023

Well, that was .... boring. I think I slumbered through the second half. A saccharine Wonka with no darkness in his soul - Roald Dahl must be spinning in his grave.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

I haven't been to a Nutcracker in years - I think I was Nutcrackered-out - but this jazzed-up performance at the toasty-warm and cosy Tuff Nutt Jazz Club last night was great fun, brilliantly colourful and very inventive. So close to the dancers you can see their plastered toes and bunions - ouch!

Monday 13 November 2023

Happened on this Pauline Boty self-portrait when strolling through the National Portrait Gallery last week - the only stained glass work in the collection, and she was 19 when she made it. In real life, it glows.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Get there while it's still fresh! Though I imagine that only crumbs will be left by the end of the week. The quirkiest afternoon-tea experience in London (and it's free!) has to be An Edible Family in a Mobile Home outside Tate Britain ... just follow the scent of vanilla and knock on the door of the pre-fab. (Well, by tomorrow there will probably be a long queue!) Yes, it really is an edible family - lifesize mother, father and three children made out of real cake, and visitors get to nibble them with a doll-size cup of tea. (Actually, the mother is a mannequin with a teapot on her head who serves biscuits from a flap in her tum.)
This is the coconut sponge baby in her cot. Artist Bobby Baker created the original edible family back in 1976, when she was 25; the figures are based on her real life family, and she was the youngest. She is 73 now and was pouring tea in the pre-fab kitchen, wallpapered with pages from 1970s' Woman's Owns and Good Housekeepings and Woman's Journals ... well, that took me back!
This is her father - a very nice rich fruit cake, slumped in front of the telly, watching Charlie Drake. Sadly someone (not me!) had already trodden on one of his fruit cake feet because it is a bit cramped inside the pre-fab. (A reconstruction of Baker's 1970s home.) There is also her older brother, made of Garibaldi biscuits, sitting in a bathtub of dirty vegan chocolate cake water, and a teenage sister made of meringues. Strangely poignant, reading the old newspapers pasted on the walls with headlines picked out in icing - Austerity Britain was a front page splash in 1976, so nothing changes. And I can't imagine how it would feel to see strangers nibbling your family. If you don't make it before the cake goes stale (it's on until December 3), the exhibit returns freshly-baked in March/April next year.

Friday 27 October 2023

Even if money were no object, I'm afraid I'm too clumsy to be trusted with anything like this - but isn't this Lucie Rie bowl simply beautiful?
But wouldn't you just love to own a collection of her wartime buttons? I'd have to learn to knit! Happened on this exhibition as I was walking in Berkeley Square this afternoon.

Monday 16 October 2023

I'm not the biggest fan of historical novels, but once in a while - and this appealed to me because it's about the gardener John Tradescant and it's nice to think that I've had tea and cake by his tomb in the Garden Museum. Oh, how wrong I was - I had steam coming out my ears reading this! Okay, so hard facts are sparse and they won't knit into a novel without a dollop of poetic licence and imagination ... but when gardener Tradescant gets ecstatically buggered by the beautiful Duke of Buckingham, favourite of two kings ... oh, give me strength, what absolute tosh, and not a shred of historical evidence. I vaguely recall reading The Other Boleyn Girl and I'm sure it was better than this - but Earthly Joys managed to be plodding and repetitive as well as silly, so I think that's me done with Philippa Gregory.

Sunday 8 October 2023

What an absolutely fabulous show ... as soon as the curtain went up on Iolanthe's fairyland I was smiling. Lovely afternoon matinee yesterday with a friend, full of colour and laughter. The set design - whether fairyland or the House of Lords - is fantastic.
The gorgeousness of the Coliseum hits me every time. We lingered admiring the mosaics in the entrance hall but I googled them when I get home, thinking they might be by Boris Anrep - they're not. Turns out they're not mosaics at all, but glass chips over paint. You'd never guess. Still a warm, sunny afternoon when we emerged so we walked up to Soho for apple strudel ice cream and black fig sorbet. Still dithering over whether I should have gone for the marron glacé so I might have to go back before the autumn menu disappears. (Friend is very accommodating about my pernicketiness about the best ice-cream shop! Which is this one, trust me!)