Sunday, 24 January 2010

A Day in Town

I haven't posted for some time - slight technical difficulties, but from here on in I'll try to be more efficient.

Had a lovely day in town yesterday, but feeling slightly creaky from all the walking.

We got off the tube at Westminster, crossed the bridge and walked along the embankment to the museum. Much easier than fighting through the crowds to get the right bus for such a short journey.

The Grow Your Own exhibition at the Garden Museum was great. It started with Manor Garden Allotments (lost to the Olympics), then went in more or less chronological order - the 1908 act, World War 1, Land Settlement Act (something I want to learn more about - suspect if it was still going many of us would be signed up), World War II, post war decline and the reversion of allotments to beings a male preserve, the Self-Sufficiency movement of the 1970's (not just John Seymour, and including a few exhibits I have copies of), The Good Life tv series, Lawrence Hills, Lady Balfour and organics, the resurgence in demand for allotments and grow your own as a "fashion statement". There was a notice board for comments, and we read some very funny ones from a school party.

An excellent exhibition - informative and inspiring without being heavy & dry. I would have liked to see more detail in some areas, but that may be because I collect and use Dig For Victory and Self Sufficiency literature. For a newcomer or less avid reader on the subject, there was plenty to explore.

We had lunch in the museum cafe - mushroom and chestnut stroganoff with side salads - split pea & Jerusalem artichoke, roasted aubergine & fennel, herby couscous with pumpkin seeds and green salad from the museum garden. Delicious, wholesome & filling - many places would have charged as much for the individual salads as we paid for the whole plate. Sadly, we were too full to research the home made cakes on offer, but they looked very naughty.

I had all the books on offer in the museum shop directly related to the exhibition, but treated myself to a book on earth sheltered greenhouses. When I was at college for my organics course, we had to do a presentation on a Permaculture plot design. I did my group's design & presentation almost single-handed with their blessing, and an earth sheltered greenhouse was one of my key features. At last I have more than one Mother Earth News article to learn from.

After the exhibition, we caught the bus to Trafalgar Square. Our intention had been to finally catch to 1960's photography show at the National Portrait Gallery, but they were only selling time slotted tickets, and the slots being sold when we arrived were for 6pm. The queue was long, and we were told we were very likely to be alloted a slot for the Sunday by the time we were served. At 3pm on a Saturday afternoon that seemed ridiculous, so we left and caught another bus towards Oxford Street.

The bus we caught stopped almost next to John Lewis, so we didn't have to fight through the crowds. Went down to the kitchenware department, on the lookout for jam jars. All sold out - have to order online. Then up to the haberdashery department as I needed dark blue cotton to mend a pair of jeans. Also splashed out on a Cath Kidston sewing wallet. Very middle class, playing at practical, but every time I use my current mending kit, I keep dropping the contents on the floor. This wallet will at least keep stuff in place.

A quick dasj along the back streets to Selfridges and the food hall, to treat myself to some exotic cheese (Gjetost) and some cupcakes for supper.

By now our feet were aching, and it was time to think about shutting the hens in for the night, so I splashed out on a cab to Kings Cross and thr train home.

Lovely day - it was good to be a tourist in my home town for a change, but couldn't manage it every week.

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