"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunshine and Blue Skies

We visited Kensington Palace today.

Where the roses are still in bloom.

I was interested in the rooms created by William and Mary, although many rooms appeared as they did in George I's, time, or Victoria's. On the lower level was a massive display honouring Princess Diana--there's only so much "Dianaworld" I can take. I was in London for her funeral, I lived the nightmare, don't need to be reminded.

I saw something new this time. The apartment in which Princess Margaret lived was open to view--she had a nice set of rooms, and her wing overlooked a garden. I don't know to what use the space will be converted, but it was interested seeing a bit of the palace that used to be off limits.

A view of the orangery, looking down the avenue of "tubular" yews.

We had a nice stroll through Kensington Gardens, where many, many Londoners were walking their dogs, taking advantage of the splendid day.

On the way to the Victoria & Albert Museum, I passed the Museum of Natural History, beautifully lit by the sun, with a nice backdrop of blue sky.

Just beyond the courtyard, where a Christmas Market was ongoing, I came to the ice rink--in the process of being created.

My first stop at the V&A was the special couture exhibition. Many of the clothes on display were what was known as the New Look--Paris and London Couture of the 1950s. It was wonderful. I've never seen so many women so utterly entranced by clothing. Our present-day attire simply couldn't compare with the amazing creations of Coco Chanel, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Dior, Lanvin, Hartnell, Fath, and so many more. In addition to the dresses, there were many newsreels of fashion shows in the fashion houses or in London.

It was crowded in the exhibition hall but not enough to hamper enjoyment. There were plenty of young people, fashion and design students, making notes and sketches. The older attendees were taking a nice trip down memory lane--there were plenty of "oohs" of recognition, and "Wasn't it lovely wearing such cocktail dresses/ballgowns/suits?" The case of undergarments elicited some groans, and less happy "Do you remember?" remarks.

I am now so ready for a New Look revival!

I toured some favourite exhibition areas--did the British Galleries, but only the 17th century portion.

Wandered through the Musical Instruments, looking for a mandolin. Almost everything on display was a cittern or a lute, but I did find one--Italian, and very ornate.

The real reason I stopped in at the V&A was to examine this silver object, a flask. You can see how ingenious it is--there's the parts unscrew to release a separate drinking cup at the bottom.

It belonged to my duchess's husband. The duke. His coat of arms is engraved upon it.

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