11 November, 2006

a little sushi, a little Holbein

Pssst. Want a hot, secret nugget of wisdom about the Tate Gallery here in London? Go on, you know that's why you read "Kristen in London," it's for the hot, secret nuggets of wisdom about just about anything in our fair city, stuff you can't get from a guidebook. Well, here's today's little treasure: if you don't have to cross the Thames to GET TO the Tate, you shouldn't cross the Thames to GO BACK HOME.

That's right, I managed to top yesterday's Barbican Blunder, and we got on a Number 88 bus to come home from the museum and got all the way to bleeding Brixton. Went in the bloody wrong direction! Just happily riding along, both Avery and I exclaiming over the lovely lights on the river, "Hey, the London Eye is red! Must be for Christmas," never once thinking that it was odd to have to cross the river to get to... Mayfair. From the Tate. Mind you, I've been to the Tate that is on the other side of the river. I can offer no explanation for my extreme stupidity. Be sure and say that with the proper posh English "shtew-pidity" pronunciation. Avery said today, "It makes me slightly crazy the way the English say Tuesday as if they were talking about eating. Chews-day." Well, at least they don't spend an hour and a half getting home from a major landmark.


Anyway, we had fun. I needed a bit of cultcha because last night I made a real stab at seeing an actual film in a theatre, for some cultcha, and when I got there, they had mysteriously decided to substitute the film I wanted to see with a Latin American Film Festival. What? No one seemed very interested in my whingey protestations about accuracy on one's website about what one is offering to the innocent film-viewing public, so I slunk out. By then the drizzle had turned to a real soaker, so I quickly decided I needed to go indoors and would you believe it? The closest place I could find was... Nobu. Okay, not the closest, but the closest place that served yellowtail with jalapeno and cilantro in a ponzu sauce. Always makes me a bit homesick, Nobu. I have no idea why they seated me, in ratty jeans and soaking wet and in an orange pashmina that smelled like a wet labrador, but they did. Bliss. A double order of the yellowtail, a nice chat with a Portuguese fellow sitting next to me at the sushi bar who was missing his kids back in Sao Paolo. Not for me the flirtatious chat with someone lonely on a business trip. No, we talked about our children. Sigh. That is so representative of my life.

Home and to bed early, missing my family. I was glad to run out to Kensington this morning and pick up Fifi from her friend Julia's house. What an incredibly erudite family Julia's is. Her mother is Italian, her father Polish, and their house completely beautiful, filled with Italian contemporary paintings and gorgeous piles of impressive art history books on their (yes) coffee table, reminded me of the gatrillions of equally lovely books that I own, now providing hours of educational entertainment to the bats and mice in the barn in Connecticut. Some decisions I make are just shtew-pid.

So Avery was hot to see the Holbein showbecause of their studying the Tudors and the Renaissance at school. And it was worth seeing. We each got the audio guide because I know next to nothing about Holbein and Avery, while extremely knowledgeable, allowed as how she might learn something from an actual museum expert. It was fun to wander around and enter numbers into the guide and have the nice English lady tell us lots of things we did not know about Sir Thomas More, Jane Seymour and the like. I wish I had had my camera with me, because Avery's outfit was amazing and she got lots of admiring looks from the other museum-goers: robin's egg blue tights, a fuzzy caramel-colored short skirt, a sequined pink vintage cardie, and a grey felt beret with the silhouette of a jackrabbit on the bit that hung over her eye (the rabbit had a crystal eye, just so you know). But John has the camera in Connecticut, and I'm ashamed to say Avery actually said she was relieved to have a moment in her life go undocumented.

She was a little melancholy on the ride home, totally unconnected to the fact that we saw most of greater London on the bus ride. "Mommy, this is my first Christmas not at home. I mean, we are at home, but not... at home. And I know there are people who spend Christmas abroad. But we're not that kind of people! And yet we are! Spending Christmas abroad. And yet at home." She sighed. "It's very confusing." Poor dear. She is also concerned that the famous Oxford Street Christmas lights are number one, wasteful of electricity in these environmentally sensitive times, and number two, really tacky. At least she has her priorities straight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I spent a little time on the Holbein site and was pleased to remember how much I like that sort of painting. But, thinking about Avery and her familiarity with "divorced, beheaded, died--" and all the English regents, I realized that she won't know beans about our American history. Must seriously work on finding her biographies that will keep her connected. What do the British do about our history? It's sonew by their standards.