Hi there

After several months of sorting out the new flat we found time to go up to London for some exhibitions and my annual skin check at The Mole Clinic, which, btw, is not part of the NHS but I think the price worth it as I get a whole body check with every mark and blemish (and I have many) looked at with a monocular; essential with my sun-damaged skin. And all clear – yay and big cheer.

Here I am on the train wearing my thrifted Karen Millen jacket with the (Lady Hale) spider broach.

And as well as the visit to the clinic we did the thing I like doing more than anything, yes, went to not one but three exhibitions over two days as we stayed overnight. The first was a visit to the V&A and ‘Cars: Accelerating the Modern World‘ which was much more than just a glorification of cars but a cultural investigation of their history and impact. Mind you, there were quite a lot for the enthusiast ranging from some early models like this.

To the quirky – remember these!

Towards the end the exhibition made you think about the car’s impact on this earth.

That number clicked down a digit every second. And the last exhibit was a huge panoramic shot from a drone of lithium extraction in South America which was absolutely mind-boggling. I had no idea that this extraction caused such devastation – left me feeling a bit down as I had thought that one of the ways to combat global warming is for all cars to be electric. Well not until we solve the challenge of the battery.

We moved on to another exhibition at the V&A on the photographer Tim Walker. I’d never heard of him before but wow, just wow! What a feast for the eyes. I got quite transported out of my downer into a different, more flamboyant world of someone’s exceedingly creative imagination. There were installations galore.

And many portraits – yes that is Margaret Atwood.

And this is his muse, the actor Tilda Swinton.  What about those rings!

I forgot, we found another exhibition on sustainability which had some glorious photos.

So that was three exhibitions on Monday. In the evening we had a pizza and I wore my hat.

Which I wore pretty much all the time! Here I am at the Tate on a very grey and wet Tuesday for the 4th exhibition we went to, which was the Dora Maar one, which was good but tbh I didn’t really do it justice or appreciate it as much as I should have as by then, on the second day and after my skin clinic appointment and travelling from there to the Tate, I was just too tired.

That really was the light – the photo hasn’t been enhanced. Foot looks bit weird but the boots were actually very comfortable. And that was important as we walked and walked and walked – gosh not surprised we were tired!

I have to say that London has changed so much since my days as a nurse at St Thomas’. I love London for the buzz, its busyness (up to a point) and just the cultural fix I get every time I go there, which I need, it’s my elixir of life. However, wherever you go there seems to be a building site and there’s the constant noise and hubbub of building works, alongside that, the roads are congested and the air really isn’t all that pleasant to breathe. On the second day we finally got a taxi and our taxi driver was one of those Londoners who tell you how it is, and he certainly did that. Beyond and beneath the beauty of the city is a dark heart of poverty, drugs, gangs and knives. He knows this as he lives with it daily (a relative, won’t say more). Left us with much to think about. What London needs is radical leadership and thinking outside the box, and maybe, some money into rather than cuts from youth services. And what about some police out and about on the beat? Will London get that?  We’ll see. I’m glad I lived there once, but now it’s great to visit, especially those glorious museums and art galleries, but it’s so good to get back to the sea breezes of Brighton.

Here’s a last view of the Thames and the skyline from Blackfriars station.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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25 thoughts on “Up to London – for good news and good views!

  • 29th November 2019 at 9:25 am

    You look amazing in that jacket and hat

    • 1st December 2019 at 9:19 am

      Thank you so much – the jacket was a good find 🙂

  • 29th November 2019 at 9:49 am

    Oh I would love to go to London for a day!
    Tilda Swinton was also the muse of Victor & Rolf in the beginning!

    • 1st December 2019 at 9:28 am

      Swinton is an interesting actor with rather an unusual androgynous look.

      Re: a London trip. I guess the thing is how would you access the shops and museums and art galleries.? Actually all museums and art galleries have to be accessible by law. And of course there are taxis that would be great for you. as driving your own car to places could be a nightmare re: the parking, but some hotels would have parking. And I’ve just remembered the buses are amazing and very accessible. London is hectic though, but fun if done in small doses! Have a lovely Sunday 🙂

  • 29th November 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Penny,
    You look sharp for the city, love the outfit and the jewellery. It must be great to be able to easily access such interesting exhibitions. We’re probably in a bit of a cultural desert here, or maybe I just don’t make the effort to find such things. Maybe something to look into in the New Year.

    Have a good weekend, a beautiful day here after all the rain and gloom, hope you get some sunshine too.

    Best wishes

    • 2nd December 2019 at 8:47 am

      Thank you Chrissie. It’s a lovely cold and sunny day here in Brighton – the best kind of weather! The visits to exhibitions started when I left home at 18 for London to train as a nurse (no university degree then) at St. Thomas’. Days off were spent at the Tate and National Gallery which were all free with no extra price for an exhibition. And I’ve never stopped doing that. You can still get into these places for free though but exhibitions are extra. I get round that by being a member which forces you to go a lot to justify the initial expense of the membership.

      Have a good week 🙂

  • 29th November 2019 at 4:38 pm

    What a fabulous time….exhibits like those are always something we love to do too!!
    We must be on the same wavelength because I added a brooch to my faux fur vest yesterday….I just love any way to add bling to an outfit.

    • 2nd December 2019 at 8:48 am

      Hi Jodie
      Oh I think we are on the same wavelength on lots of things, Jodie! Have a great week 🙂

  • 29th November 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I’ve not been to London for years. On my first visit, I still vividly remember blowing my nose after just a few hours and being horrified at the colour! It was always nice to walk into Kings Cross knowing that we were on our way home to clean, fresh air. But like you, I love the buzz, and the sheer amount of cultural attractions. We always saw at least one show, rather than wait until they came to Scotland.
    I once sat behind Tilda Swinton and her then partner, the wonderful John Byrne at a showing of The Big Man. She was very “other worldly” looking, her skin was almost opalescent in tone and he was all hair!
    You looked good in your dark outfit, different from your usual brighter clothes.

    • 2nd December 2019 at 8:55 am

      I remember that London in the mid 60s despite being ‘fab’ was black with soot and train stations had that particular smell of engine oil, metal and coal with hordes of porters who were sooty as well!!!!! Gosh I’m describing another age altogether!

      Tilda Swinton has very unusual looks – you often find that women actors who make it in films do have amazing translucent skin.

      Thank you so much about the feedback re: my dark clothes. I do wear black jeans and the jacket was a good find. Needs a coat over it now but even so it’s good to wear in galleries. Have a fab week 😉

  • 29th November 2019 at 9:38 pm

    You look very chic and hip, Penny! Good news from the skin clinic.

    How lovely to go to no less than 3 exhibitions; but I do understand how tired you got. There is something about pounding London pavements that is exhausting – far more tiring than walking across fields, I find.

    I loved your tweedy jacket and that fab spider brooch!

    Have a great weekend.

    • 2nd December 2019 at 8:59 am

      Thank you so much Veronica. Yes, walking around London is tiring maybe because of the noise more than anything. Mind you, I do like that buzz but in small doses! London makes Brighton seem very tranquil!

  • 29th November 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Penny, You are the picture of happiness in these photos. Taking the train from Surbiton to Waterloo Station with a highlighted TimeOut in hand brings me pleasantly back to the 90’s. Running out of steam happened every time. Thanks for sharing London with us. Judy @fancified.ca

    • 2nd December 2019 at 9:01 am

      Oh yes, Judy! I grew up in Woking so know that train via Surbiton to Waterloo where (see above) you were met by the smell of the station and sooty porters!!!!

  • 29th November 2019 at 10:26 pm

    I can see I’ll have to up my style for London. We’re going from Glasgow next month to celebrate hubby’s 70th. We’re going to the Tutankhamen Exhibition & I think now we may visit the V&A too. X

    • 2nd December 2019 at 9:05 am

      Ah yes, I must get to the Tutankhamen. You will not be disappointed by the V&A – it is so beautiful anyway and, amongst many free areas, you could still see the Quant exhibition which is on till March. And remember I was only wearing quite old black (Peacock’s) jeans with the thrifted/charity shop jacket – it wasn’t anything fancy. Enjoy 🙂

  • 30th November 2019 at 3:25 pm

    I agree about London I lived in Hammersmith for 15 years my husband was a student at Saint Martins School of Art and my children were born in Queen Charlotte’s I know I’m missing out on some great exhibitions but I have no intention of ever going back. It’s such a pity. Love your outfit was it too cold for one of your floaty skirts I always like a Bohemian look for wandering round galleries?

    • 2nd December 2019 at 9:09 am

      The floaty skirts will be worn again but it was forecast to rain and indeed all day we had that very wet (!) fine misty rain so a pair of black jeans was the best to wear and a good compromise.

      I expect one day London will become too much. But not yet. And there are the other Tates and another V&A in Dundee, and that I’d quite like to see. Have a lovely week 🙂

  • 1st December 2019 at 8:01 am

    This was lovely Penny. I too adore exhibitions and the London ones are exceptional. You look amazing in that jacket and hat. You left me feeling very nostalgic for the old London though.

    • 2nd December 2019 at 9:12 am

      Your comment made me think that on one of my blogs I really ought to write more about the past as it’s actually social history, and if you don’t write these things down, the memories will get lost and not passed on to future generations. Might think about that for the annual refresh – thanks for the prompt 🙂

  • 1st December 2019 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve had a look at Lithium mining, I am astounded. Why do the powers that be think this is a good alternative to fossil fuels? We have no respect for our beautiful planet, I was taught at school that the rain forests were the lungs of the world and we must take care of them. Why is this never mentioned now? Surely we wouldn’t be in this mess if we followed this rule. I’m on my soapbox, I don’t think that anyone needs a university degree to have common sense and to realise that this is wrong.

    • 2nd December 2019 at 9:19 am

      I had a vague awareness that there was something about lithium, but seeing that drone shot was very sobering. Actually we all know that this continuous drive for the new and latest whatever (and that has to include the electric car) is making our planet a complete disaster area – and we know it has to stop – how though is the conundrum. Actually all governments should commit to R&D into new technologies including new ways to make those batteries – will they though? That’s why I applaud the young as they’ll have to take this on, god bless them.

      Despite the above have a great week – it’s nice weather in Brighton 🙂

  • 2nd December 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Love the exhibition photographs. It’s some while now since I went to a London exhibition. My favourite one ever was the Art Deco one at the V&A c2005. Amazing!
    I read a long article in the newspaper a while ago about the human cost of extracting lithium – we try to solve one problem and create another. We could not, in any case, manage the targets for electric cars as the network simply does not have anywhere near the the capacity. The whole issue needs looking at as a big picture instead of each bit in isolation.

    • 3rd December 2019 at 8:42 am

      I agree re: electric cars and think there we need a huge international R&D programme (which should include thinking right outside the box) to solve the problem of charging and the battery. Lithium extraction is just not on, but of course, nor is fossil fuel extraction, but we don’t stop. I could say more……

      In the meantime the V&A is such a source of wonder. However, I’d say it is so successful now it’s in danger of being too crowded. I mean, it’s just about OK but if they keep recruiting members where will they go as the new members room is at about full capacity now. But the content of the V&A, we keep discovering new rooms, it is a beautiful place.

  • 4th December 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Hi, Penny! First time I’ve visited your blog, and I really enjoyed your post. I also see a dermatologist regularly to check for sun damage. I was going every 6 months, but on my last visit she told me I was good for a year. Yay! I’ve never been to England, and I loved your exhibition pictures. I also think your outfit is perfect. Your foot doesn’t look strange at all, and those boots are great! I could use a COMFORTABLE boot.

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