Hannah here! My little family moved from Brockley In South East London to Faversham in Kent last September. The move was bitter sweet, in that it ensured we were closer to family and had a bigger house but it also meant leaving our beloved neighborhood and a city that we still absolutely loved. The plan to ease our joint missing London malady was to return there every month or so and stay with friends and soak up the galleries and good coffee. Our last trip was especially exciting because we were going to see two shows I had been desperate to explore; the Martin Creed show at the Southbank and the Sensing Spaces exhibit at the Royal Academy.
The Martin Creed exhibition was excellent. The room full of balloons surpassed our expectations; it is much larger than I thought we would be, and all 3 of us were delighted to be bopping balloons around and wading through a white plastic wonderland. It is in turns cosy and slightly intimidating and claustrophobic, but mostly great fun. I found his tribute to motherhood, in the form of the enormous revolving Mother installation, quite moving, and could strongly identify with his sculptures that placed everything in size order (Im a bit ocd at heart, me). There is a speaker emitting farting noises, a car whose doors, alarms and radio fling into action at random intervals, and playful use of neon too (large letters that say "small things"). Frankie-Rose was in heaven in the balloon room and found the farting hysterical. It was really well ticketed so it didn't feel too busy at all, even on a Saturday. Just brilliant.
After the gallery we ate a delicious lunch form the World Foods Market at the Royal Festival Hall, before being treated to some brilliant free choral performances which were part of the London Chorus festival.
We had done a house swap with some friends, which worked brilliantly, and meant that on the Saturday night we could have friends over to celebrate their birthdays and eat our favourite take away, Mezze Mangal in Brockley. God I miss that takeaway.
Then on Sunday we were up bright and early to get to the Royal Academy for the Sensing Spaces exhibit. The exhibition itself is really enjoyable. Everything can be touched, climbed upon or within, and even added too. Photography is freely allowed as well which is highly unusual and very refreshing. Its a magical and sensory exhibit for children especially, from being able to handle the coloured straws to walking through the maze with a floor lit from below and lined in tree branches, to the pebbles that can be sat upon and played with and being able to climb in the little hidey holes around the exhibition. My only qualms were the relatively high ticket price and the crowds. I no longer have the liberty of being able to see shows on a quiet midweek morning, and it was so so crowded.
And of course, when in London, drink good coffee. This time we visited The Department for Coffee and Social affairs and had a delightful, and much needed, caffeine stop on the way home. We drove back to Kent feeling pretty flipping exhausted, but full up with, and even oddly energized by, the amazing things we'd seen. London, you were brilliant. Until next time...