Friday, 16 November 2012

Snapshots from a London Taxi

On Wednesday this week, we took the fast train from  the New Forest and were in London in less than two hours. It was a beautiful, crisp autumn day. A rare day treat for us these days, although the sights of central London were once part of our daily comings and goings during student days, back in the 1970s.
We needed to travel to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington, to meet our friends, so we treated ourselves to a taxi ride from Waterloo Station.

The taxi took us over Westminster Bridge and up past the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. We sped up Birdcage Walk and then the traffic slowed down as we passed Buckingham Palace, so I decided to take pot luck with random snapshots through the window. The usual scattering of tourists were there. My camera caught a sunbeam as we drove by.

Gold against the blue.......

....and a view straight down The Mall towards Whitehall and Trafalgar Square.

Turning left along the walls of the Palace, we were overtaken by a large silver limousine. In the back, sat  a lady with elegant , swept up hair,  her face hidden. I wonder who she was?
Driving next to Green Park, a red liveried open topped landau, pulled by gleaming bay carriage horses, trotted  down to the Palace. Perhaps the smartly dressed passengers inside were foreign dignitaries, on their way to luncheon with the Queen?

The traffic crawled down to the archway at Hyde Park Corner, always one of the busiest roundabouts in central London. 

To our right, we watched people walking through golden leafed  autumn trees in Green Park.

On our left, beyond the high walls and barbed wire, autumnal greens and yellows gave dappled shade to the borders of the Queen`s garden. A place for peace and nature behind the grand facade of Buckingham Palace.

Winged Victory watched the Hyde Park traffic circling around her.

The taxi driver knew a back way, avoiding the slow traffic in Knightsbridge, so we twisted and turned through elegant Regency squares and past streets of tall  houses.
The gardens of Belgrave Square caught the late morning sun on trees and bright foliage.

Soon we had arrived. The fine Victorian architecture of the V&A Museum, on the Cromwell Road in Kensington, stood out against the deep blue sky.

We were meeting our friends inside. They had travelled from the West Country and we planned to find each other before going to the Exhibition of Hollywood Costume that is currently showing at the V&A.  

The main doorway.

Sitting by the pool in the great quadrangle , drinking hot chocolate and chatting with our friends, I let the camera look upwards. The elaborate architecture is influenced by styles from around the world, from the old British Empire of Victorian times. We marveled at the workmanship and the years of toil and skilled craftsmanship that had made this amazing building.

I put my camera away inside the museum. The Hollywood Costumes Exhibition was excellent. If you are interested in film or in costume design, it is well worth a visit. Standing so close to dresses worn by Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford and so many other great stars of old Hollywood, almost brought their original wearers back to life. Modern costumes, from Sci Fi to period drama, were there in all their clever and intricate detail. I came away with renewed respect for those who work behind the scenes to design and make the costumes that bring a drama to life. Even Dorothy`s Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz were there.

Afterwards, we spent an hour or two exploring familiar and less familiar floors of the V&A. I have been visiting this museum of the arts for years. It never fails to thrill and inspire.


Em Parkinson said...

What amazing blue skies and lovely pictures. The V&A is one of the few things I miss about London. They have some of my dad's ceramics there but I don't know if they're actually out on show nay more. Probably in the bowels!

rachel said...

That was a delightful taxi ride! Now I am going back to look closely at that elegant woman in the limousine - at first glance it looks very much as though she had iPod earphones in place!

WOL said...

I love those glorious autumn days when there are those shouting blue skies with nary a cloud. You were lucky to get good weather for your outing. Maybe there is an on-line court calendar where you could look up to see who was in the landau.

Dartford Warbler said...

Em - we spent a while up on the ceramics floor. They have new display cabinets and there seems to be more "out' now, both with studio work and with factory ceramics. Wonderful things.... So much history in every piece, as well as the art and design behind them.

I hope your Dad`s work is still on display. It must be very good to have even got through the door!

Rachel - I have just enlarged that photo. It is not the Grace Kelly figure of my imagination, but a young woman with her i pad on , as you said! There was me thinking it was a huge, expensive earring....:-)

Karen said...

Sigh, I want to go to London. No,change that. I want to win the lottery so that I can have a pied-a-terre in London, a cottage in the Lake District and another cottage with ponies grazing on the lawn in New Forest.

The only drawback to this plan is that I never buy lottery tickets. Oh, well, I can come to your blog and visit along with you.

Kath said...

It's funny when we lived in Bucks we were only a short train ride away and yet I never went to London. I did enjoy my armchair trip with you tho!

Bovey Belle said...

I know you had a wonderful day out AND you had the weather too! I enjoyed "our" taxi ride together : )

We are hoping, once we move, that London will be an option for us - Wales is SO far for a day out.

Isabelle said...

London is ok for a day out but I'd much prefer to live where you do.

Morning's Minion said...

So interesting to be whisked along on your taxi ride through London neighborhoods that I've only ever read about.
I've always found big cities intimidating, so if a trip to England had ever materialized I would likely have spent most of it in country places.
Museums and galleries can often seem like a visual overload--it would be nice to live where one could dip into them for a few hours at a time.

Crafty Green Poet said...

a perfect day for photos, what beautiful skies!