Although I was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North-East of England, I grew up in a village in the Buckinghamshire countryside. A forty-minute train journey from the nearby town was enough to take you to London for a ‘day out’. So a day in the capital equals a special treat for me – and now it takes three hours on the train, because I’m back in the North-East again.
This particular day began with a coffee with my companion for the day, Felicity, who also loves to stitch, so there was much to be shared, along with the exchange of news. We met at the National Portrait Gallery, in order to see the exhibition of Grayson Perry’s work ‘Who are you’ (npg.org.uk/graysonperry), which included ‘The Comfort Blanket’, a large-scale textile piece exploring ‘Britishness ‘and the intriguing (and moving) ‘Map of Days’ in which the artist portrays himself in the form of a hand-drawn map (follow the link below to see this extraordinary art-work in more detail: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/grayson-perry-who-are-you
Lunch was at The Crypt at St Martin in the Fields church in Trafalgar Square, just a stone’s throw from the National Portrait Gallery, where there is masses of room and delicious food to eat including really interesting vegetarian options which we both like (www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/cafe-in-the-crypt/our-food/)
I was also introduced to the pleasures of the cafe at the top of the National Portrait Gallery, where you can take tea (the kind with sandwiches and cakes on a stand) and look out at the London skyline, so after spending time in the afternoon looking at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize photographs we went for our pre-booked table at 4.30 and saw this:
No self-respecting textiles enthusiast would miss a visit to Liberty of London (www.liberty.co.uk), so we had a wonderful time enjoying the store and it’s fabulous displays. This one was in the china department!
It was in the haberdashery department, however that we came upon the tailor’s thimble. I’d never seen one before – a regular thimble shape but with the top sliced off. I was reliably informed that these are really nice to use and that my friend’s daughter Lydia – who stitches professionally – just can’t do without one. I therefore parted with £3.95 and became the owner of this:
I love it! So comfortable to wear and so much nicer to still be able to feel the fabric with the tip of one’s finger. It suits how I quilt and it was easy to get used to pushing the needle with the side of the thimble.
The evening included a theatre visit. We chose ‘Made in Dagenham’ at the Adelphi Theatre (www.adelphitheatre.co.uk).
It was fast-paced and entertaining. We enjoyed the 1960s costumes and were touched too, amid the humour and the musical interludes, by the reminder of the very real fight for gender equality in the workplace.
More London Days to follow… Where is your favourite place in London?
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This is my fabric design called ‘Japanese Garden – little birds on pink’. You can find it here.