Wednesday, 26 July 2017



Thanks for calling in.

Down at the Park by the shops, more of the summer plants have opened up to give a shot of colour here and there.  That's the beauty of visiting somewhere on a regular basis, there's always a new star taking its opportunity to shine.

By the lakes, the bulrushes looked magnificent stretching up.

I was glad to see the 'poo-cleaner' out working on the footpath, all those Canada Geese do make a dreadful mess! This year seems worse but a good hose down has restored the place.

Someone will be looking for their pink hat!

Always a treat to walk round this beautiful garden.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Design Museum


Thanks for calling in.

The Design Museum in London has moved from its site near the Thames to where the Commonwealth Institute used to be in Kensington near Holland Park.  It's been open a while now but I've finally been to visit to admire the £80 million building.

Right next to the gates of Holland Park, the entrance leads you to the revamped 1960s building, the interior transformed by Architect John Pawson.

Head of Invention by Eduardo Paolozzi greets you in the grounds.

Inside the building, the enormous, spectacular space opens before you.  Looking up, the huge concrete slab leads to spines on the ceiling and combined with the lighting, makes it look like a sunburst, very apt for a museum of ideas.

I liked the way the stairs for the different floors didn't connect together.  The first flight is padded in the centre so you can sit and enjoy the vast space.

Right at the top, is the free permanent collection in the Designer Maker User section featuring items from the 20th/21st Century, some of which will be very familiar and ring lots of bells.

There's a crowd sourced wall of 200 objects gathered from 500 individuals who nominated their most important objects.

With plenty of space for temporary exhibitions in two galleries, a restaurant, café and shop its a great space with Holland Park right next door as well.


Monday, 24 July 2017

TheMost Popular Exhibition Ever


Thanks for visiting.

Quite by chance as I walked by the Serpentine Gallery in London, I noticed that The Most Popular Exhibition Ever! was on.  You cant resist a title like that, can you.

The ubiquitous Grayson Perry was exhibiting his work, a mixture of pottery, tapestry, bronze and other media, each carefully crafted to include a comment on contemporary life.

The exhibition is free but donations are requested - there is even a two headed pig with slots in for you to decide where to put your money.


Friday, 21 July 2017

Five on Friday - Kensington Gardens


Welcome to the blog as we join Tricky for Five on Friday on his FAST blog.

Today we are walking through Kensington Gardens in London. Adjoining Hyde Park, the 265 acre park is full of magnificent trees and flower borders.  Here are five places you can expect to find within the park.

One - The Albert Memorial

This extravagant memorial to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's Consort, designed by George Gilbert Scott, celebrates not only his life and interests but also Victorian achievements. He can be seen holding a copy of the catalogue for the Great Exhibition of 1851 which he masterminded.  There's a frieze containing 187 carved figures of poets, sculptors, musicians and artists, whilst at the top figures represent Europe, America, Asia and Africa plus others representing commerce, engineering and agriculture with angels and virtues at the top.  Albert died of typhoid fever aged just 42.

Two - Kensington Palace

The birth place of Queen Victoria and where she lived until she became Queen, Kensington Palace was also home to William and Mary, Queen Anne and still is home to members of the Royal family today.  The State Rooms are open to the public.

There's a beautiful garden there next to a leafy tunnel which was really colourful last time I visited but this time is had been turned into a White Garden in memory of Princess Diana, it's 20 years this year since she died.  You can't tell from the photo just how white it is.

The gates to the Palace are still covered in messages and flowers for Princess Diana.

Three - The Italian Gardens

Many features of this water garden were taken from Osborne House on the Isle of Wight where Queen Victoria and her family spent their holidays.  Prince Albert took a great interest in the garden there and had the Italian Gardens built in London for his wife.

Four - Serpentine Galleries and Pavilion

There are two art galleries and a summer pavilion to enjoy which I have mentioned in other posts.

Five - Diana Memorial Playground

Although the Diana Memorial Fountain is in nearby Hyde Park, there is a memorial playground to delight children, complete with a pirate ship.

Photo taken from website

There's lots to do in this large leafy space right in the heart of London.

Just finishing off with a pretty road on the way back to the station!

Have a great week.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Serpentine Summer Pavilion


Thanks for popping in.

Hotfooting it through Hyde Park and crossing the River Thames, you pass by the two Serpentine Galleries and in the Summer months the Serpentine Pavilion.  This year the Architect is Francis Kéré, from Gando, Burkina Faso.  He is the seventeenth international award winning Architect to be commissioned to build a pavilion in London.

His design has been influenced by the tree that grows in his home village, which is a meeting point for everyone and it seeks to connect visitors with nature and each other.  The British climate has been incorporated in the design too, with a shady shelter that lets air pass through on sunny days and on wet days, a roof that funnels the water to the centre to create a waterfall effect with an irrigation system incorporated in the ground to collect the water for use in the park.

I loved the way the roof slats were open above you but looked quite solid further away.  A lot of trouble had gone into staining the blue wooden walls exactly the right colour to match the shirts his villagers wear when they want to look their best

Inside the pavilion is a café.  

I was just enjoying a cup of oriental fruit tea and a slice of banana bread when in walked the Architect himself, in the white hat and a perfectly wall-matching blue shirt, together with his entourage. Fancy that!

I really liked this pavilion, the idea, the colours and even the chairs.

I've seen several of the Serpentine Pavilions over the years and always look forward to getting a peek at the latest one.  In the Gallery, postcards were available of each one and I couldn't resist a photo of the display.

Can't wait til next year now!


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

V&A Reveal


Nice to see you.

You've probably heard about the recent unveiling of the new public areas - the Exhibition Road Quarter - at the V&A Museum in London.  There's been the REVEAL Festival as well to mark the opening.  I shot over to have a look.  As ever I walked through the magnificent Hyde Park from Paddington and it's not that far at all.

Exhibition Road is always busy as there are loads of tourists checking out all the Museums but the road is quite wide and you can get a glimpse of the screen which opens onto the new courtyard as you walk down the road.  This screen was part of the original building which had been taken down in 2013 and then reinstalled at the end of the project.

As you go through the screen, the white porcelain tiles with stripes here and there, make the area bright and welcoming.  Straightaway you notice the glass fronted café, useful for passersby.  Already people were sitting on the steps and different levels enjoying the space.

Investigating the funnel shape on the right, which turns out to be an occulus skylight, reveals a shiny mirrored space with black and white moving shapes which play a part in the new  Sainsbury Gallery below.

Entering the building and heading towards the new Sainsbury Gallery, I was fascinated by the stairs.  Shiny black against the white walls.

Even better, you realise there is a second staircase across the way winding to a different location, striking red struts appear between the two and irregular shaped windows above let you have a glimpse of the glorious old building.

Unusual shapes are created by the two staircases as they twist.  A school party scooted by, one of the young girls called out enthusiastically 'I love this place.'

At the bottom is the 1,100 square metre column-free Gallery, ready for temporary exhibitions.  It has a cantilevered ceiling which allows it to reach 9 m tall at the highest point.  The Architects AL_A also had to pile down 50 m and underpin a wing of the original building whilst the Museum stayed open to the public.

The light coming through these skylights was being influenced by the weather above creating kaleidoscopic patterns on the floor.

Back up the stairs, which set to choose?

Heading past the café, no time to stop

Outside, look at those hydrangeas!

Great place.