Farewell London, eating in the dark, what I am reading…

July 31, 2009

Last weekend Paul and I had our farewell party at a local pub. Heaps of people came and we were there from 3pm until 10pm! I drank a LOT of juice. Unfortunately most of Paul’s photos are dark and blurry.
North star
Above, heaps of the peops at our farewell do. Below, with some friends (Cheryl, Charlotte, Kara) at the nightclub Cargo last Friday night. We saw a very cool band, Yacht, but as the music was blaring and the base was vibrating our bodies, I wondered: ‘Is my baby being totally vibrated right now?’
Cargo
Last night Paul and Cheryl and I went to the restaurant Dans Le Noir? and ate food in pitch blackness. It was quite a strange experience. I did enjoy it but was not very impressed with the food (and the two courses cost £32).

Our boxes of stuff were picked up yesterday to be shipped back to Australia. Now we have lots of cleaning to do and lots of stuff to get rid of. I can’t believe we are leaving in three days. It doesn’t seem real. I would like to go to the White Cube galleries on the weekend to see the current Gilbert and George exhibition and maybe the Hayward to see the Walking in My Mind exhibition.

I also think I’d like to do some wandering around central London to say goodbye. I have really loved London. I am however very excited about seeing my friend Sam and spending three days with her looking around Hong Kong (she informed me yesterday that rain is forecast for next week!) and I am starting to get very excited about being back in Brisbane and seeing family and friends. I am really excited about discovering Brisbane again. People often bag it out for being small (and very spread out) but I always felt there was a lot of stuff going on when I lived there and I really like it. I’m planning on going to the Gallery of Modern Art on my second day back (there is an exhibition of photography by young people from Palm Island that ends that day).

It’s been a while since I did a rundown of the books I’ve been reading, but that might be because I haven’t read many books this year.

Bad Science by Dr Ben Goldacre
I have wanted to read this book for a while. It is really very good! I have seen/heard Ben Goldacre talk a few times and he is really intelligent, informative and funny. You’ll learn a lot about the scientific method and how science works, and how science is abused and also about bad journalism when it comes to science. A very informative book. He is an NHS (National Health Service) doctor and a regular columnist in the Guardian. You can read his columns and other stuff at his website.

59 Seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman
A popular psychology book by a professor of psychology, this is an interesting book and the difference between it and other self-help books is that it is actually based on psychological research. It does have a tendency to simplify things and be contradictory sometimes but I am enjoying it. Richard Wiseman has a blog too.

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
This book of three novels is the first of three books in Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle. I have finished the first novel, Quicksilver and I enjoyed it a lot although I had to do a lot of looking up European history. The book is set around the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century in England and focuses on lots of historical figures (philosophers, scientists, politicians and other people). I plan to finish the other two novels in book one one day.

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I’m a third of the way in and so far, am not impressed. Some of my friends really love this book but I really don’t understand how. It’s quite annoying and has such a tone of ‘isn’t religion so amazing and wonderful and mysterious’ so I’ve spent most of my time reading it thinking, ‘actually no, I don’t think so.’ I wonder if I’ll finish it.


Serpentine Gallery, books and films

July 19, 2009

Yesterday Paul and I went to the Serpentine Gallery to check out their temporary summer pavillion and to look at their latest art exhibition. The current pavilion is by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of Japanese architecture practice SANAA. I liked it. If I wasn’t pregnant I probably would have had a coffee at the cafe there!
Serpentine Gallery and 2009 Summer Pavillion
Above, the Serpentine Gallery is on the right and the reflective Summer pavillion is on the left (The pavillion photos are by Paul).
The Serpentine Gallery's 2009 Summer Pavillion
The Serpentine Gallery's 2009 Summer Pavillion
Serpentine Gallery's Summer Pavillion 2009
The current exhibition inside the Serpentine is Jeff Koons: Popeye Series. I enjoyed the exhibition but am still undecided on what I think of Jeff Koons. I do like some of his stuff and this exhibition had a lot of objects that looked like inflatable plastic swimming toys (like rings and dolphins, etc) but they were hanging from the ceiling with heavy things hanging off them – they were actually made of aluminium and painted bright colours.
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
After our sojourn in Hyde Park we headed up to Borders in Oxford Street where all the books are 50% off as they’re closing down. Even though I think most of the good stuff was gone (I couldn’t find any sci-fi or fantasy books!) we still bought ten books between us – and I know, I know, we just have to pack them now to send back to Australia but books are so much cheaper here than in Australia we couldn’t resist.

So lugging our books through Soho we headed to Leicester Square to watch the new (and sixth) Harry Potter but of course it was sold out (well, we could have bought tickets for the front row, which we weren’t so keen on) so we saw the sci-fi film Moon which was very good -I would recommend it highly. We also bought tickets to see Harry Potter today – two movies in one weekend, how decadent! I’m quite excited about seeing HP6 but Paul is less so at it goes for two and a half hours. We’re having lunch with some friends and then going to the film. I’m wondering if we should try to fit in some other London activity before lunch.

Yesterday we finally bought our flights home, so our families can stop asking us ‘When do you arrive back? Have you bought your tickets yet?’ We’re spending three days in Hong Kong with my friend Sam on the way home which is exciting. I still can’t believe I only have two weeks left in London. I feel like I need to be out going places, saying goodbye. I will miss it a lot.


Nice bookshop and new haircut

July 13, 2009

Here are some pictures from the gorgeous bookshop on Marylebone High Street, Daunt Books (photos by Paul’s mum).
Awesome bookshop, Daunt Books, London
Daunt Books, London
Daunt Books, London
And today I got a haircut – in preparation for being a yummy mummy (only six months to go – until I’m a mummy)!
Haircut, July 2009


Sunny weekends in London

June 1, 2009

Yesterday (Sunday) Paul and I wandered around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with Kara and Cheryl. We checked out the current exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery (films and photos by Luke Fowler) which was interesting. Below are Paul and Kara outside the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens.
Paul outside the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens
Kara in Kensington Gardens
The photos below are from the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.
Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
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What a fun weekend

May 5, 2009

I have had a really awesome fun weekend.
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Hanging in the East end with Cheryl

May 4, 2009

Last weekend Paul and I went to art galleries around Mayfair (below are photos of the Sadie Coles Gallery).
Sadie Coles Gallery Read the rest of this entry »


The Monument to the Great Fire (of 1666)

April 27, 2009

A couple of weekends ago Paul and I climbed the 311 steps up to the top of the Monument (to the Great Fire of 1666). It didn’t seem that far – but we were climbing behind an old woman (who was going quite slowly) so I wasn’t puffing by the time I got to the top (that and my regular exercising at the gym also helped of course!).

Unfortunately the sun was right behind the monument when I tried to take photos of it so the photos from the ground are pretty dark but it was cool to look out over London from the top! I don’t actually think London has a very exciting skyline but it was still cool to be up there. We also got certificates when we came back down – which we thought was cool.
The Monument to the Great Fire of 1666, London
Above, the Monument, below, the entrance!
Inscriptions on the Monument to the Great Fire, London
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Easter weekend

April 18, 2009

Paul and I didn’t do a lot on the Easter weekend because the weather was so bad – it was cool and overcast for most of the weekend – we actually stayed home and watched movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On the Monday we went to the Wellcome Collection and saw a couple of very good exhibitions (Madness & Modernity: Mental illness and the visual arts in Vienna 1900 and Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings: Mental illness and me, 1997-2008) as well as some of their permanent exhibits, (Napoleon Bonaparte’s toothbrush, Charles Darwin’s walking stick in) Medicine Man.

On Monday evening I saw the great documentary Afghan Star about the Afghan TV show of the same name. It was really uplifting – unlike other Afghan films I’ve seen.

In the last week I saw the photography exhibition Dreams at the Viewfinder Photography Gallery in Greenwich and I hung out with Lucy N’s partner Jamie. We went to The Bloomberg Commission: Goshka Macuga: The Nature of the Beast at the Whitechapel Gallery. There are a few other exhibitions on there that I’d like to go back and see. I also had dinner at Helen’s house and last night Paul and I went to the launch of Lady Sovereign’s new album Zigzag.


Bad news and random musings

April 9, 2009

Yesterday I went to Pitzhanger Manor which was John Soane‘s country home that he would come to on the weekends (from central London) back when Ealing was a separate town. It was quite nice. I imagined living there, having breakfast in the breakfast room and reading in the reading room.

Then I borrowed the Outsider by Albert Camus from the library. I finished it this morning. I pretty much had Killing an Arab by the Cure in my head the whole time I was reading it!

When I weighed myself at the gym yesterday the scales said I was 5 kilos less than the scales at home which was a shock but kind of a relief – I couldn’t work out why I wasn’t losing any weight when I was exercising so much (well, I’m exercising a lot for me). I’ve asked Paul to weigh himself at home and at the gym near his work to see if there is a 5 kilo difference!

Today I went and had a look at the Whiteleys shopping centre in Queensway. It is a nice building and was probably once a really nice shopping centre but now it has lots of empty shops.

I had a look at the website for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film and it looks like all the characters mentioned are men (Wolverine, Sabretooth, Gambit, Agent Zero, Stryker, Blob, Wraith). What a disappointment. I know it’s a superhero film and all but I really expect better of X-Men – they have so many characters, how hard is it to feature some women as well as the men? There’s a woman on the poster but now I suspect that she is Wolverine’s long dead love-interest and not an integral character/mutant. I’m not as excited about the film now. Damn Hollywood!

I had some bad news yesterday. A friend from Brisbane (who was living here in London) has gone back home because her younger brother has bowel cancer (she is only 23). They operated but it had spread and they couldn’t get it all so now he is to undergo chemotherapy. I hope the treatment goes well for him and they get it all.


Abney Park Cemetery

April 8, 2009

Yesterday Paul and I went to Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, North London and took lots of photos. Looking at a map of the cemetery, I realise I have only explored half of the park. The last time we were there was with my brother Steve and his girlfriend Sophie and they moved back to Australia two years ago! Some of the photos are below. Go to my Flickr set if you want to see more.
Entrance gates to Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
Abney Park Cemetery, London
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