Saturday, 2 June 2018



You think you know London - and then you discover this Victorian Gothic gem of a church just behind Oxford Street ... and you never knew it was there.
I wafted round on a cloud of incense, loving all those zigzags and stripes ... it does feel rather as if you've got your head tangled in a very elaborately-patterned sweater!
The wonderful Ian Nairn put it more provocatively: I knew it would be worth looking up what he said! To describe a church as an orgasm is bound to offend someone. Yet this building can only be understood in terms of compelling passion. Here is the force of Wuthering Heights translated into dusky red and black bricks, put down in a mundane Marylebone street to rivet you ...
Now aren't you longing to discover it for yourself? The force of Wuthering Heights just behind Top Shop ...

I was on my way - by a roundabout route - to see the Orla Kiely exhibition which was full of ladies sighing over handbags. It's fun, but slight. (I'd have felt miffed if I'd paid nearly £10 to get in! Unless you're an Art Fund member, I wouldn't bother.)
It does feel very derivative ... Mary Quant, Bill Gibb and Ossie Clark should be on commission!
And I do wish the English would learn to pronounce Kiely!

Is it really two weeks since the royal wedding? My interest was hovering somewhere around zero until it turned into such a riveting soap opera with all the undesirable relatives. (I was casting Meghan as a younger, more glamorous Hyacinth Bucket being shown up by Onslow and Daisy!)
I mellowed sufficiently that I even picked a handful of elderflowers and made a sambocade - an elderflower and rosewater cheesecake (in sort of homage to the elderflower wedding cake) that dates back to this 1390 manuscript and the court of Richard II. It went down so well that I made a second one.
But on the day, I took advantage of a cheap ticket offer for a matinée at the stunning new Bridge Theatre ... no escape from wedding fever as American television crews were out in force getting shots of Tower Bridge. They've got some interesting plays coming-up. And what an inspired idea - freshly-baked madeleines in the interval!

6 comments:

Veronica Cooke said...

The church looks wonderful! If I'm near Oxford Street at any time I'll try and find the church. Oxford Street is a place I avoid when I come to London...

Mary said...

It's amazing, Veronica. Apparently, Betjeman loved it. I loathe Oxford Street, too - but this would be a peaceful retreat if you ever have to brave Top Shop or John Lewis! It's about two mins walk from Oxford Circus.

Gina said...

I'd thought about the Orly Kiely exhibition but now I'm not sure I'll bother. The church definitely looks worth a visit though.

Mary said...

I enjoyed it, Gina - but it's a bit skimpy. One wall of bags and a display of dresses upstairs, a cheerful-looking entrance - and that's about it, apart from some videos that I suspect are on YouTube. Not one of their better exhibitions, for sure - and at that price, I'd say have a browse around the shop in Covent Garden instead and spend the money you've saved on a new mug!

Sue said...

Oh dear , have I been pronouncing Kiely incorrectly?

Mary said...

If you have, I'm sure she'll survive, Sue!