London day out.

Every now and then, I leave my house. It is so infrequent that I can compile all the experiences in this one post.

First I went to Fashion Freakshow by Jean-Paul Gaultier. I first heard of the show last year and was interested, but never actually got to go during its run. When I saw that it was back this year I was determined not to miss it again so I grabbed my friend and off we went! I had no idea what the show was about and therefore had no expectations. Tickets were relatively cheap so I thought hey, nothing to lose.

The show celebrates the life and career of legendary French fashion designer and Madonna cone bra creator Jean-Paul Gaultier. It starts from his childhood-we see little Jean-Paul getting in trouble for designing women’s clothes during class, to his first foray into designing. There is dancing, there is singing, there is nudity, there is beaucoup de fashion darling! “Anna Wintour” even makes an appearance. The show is colourful, flamboyant, camp, gay as hell and all round fabulous. My favourite part was a striptease by a voluptuous redhead. She was stunning and I was transfixed. I also enjoyed the contortionist. Oh how can I forget the fashion show narrated by Catherine Deneuve? That was also a highlight; the names of the outfits, the walks, the transitions, the actual outfits? It was a riot. I want a clip of that part on its own to watch over and over again.

All in all, I enjoyed the show and was happy I went. I even got a free condom.

From there, we met up with other friends at Chukus, a Nigerian tapas place we had been DYING to try for ages. After a lot of back and forth, we finally got to try it and it met all of my expectations. I love trying out restaurants, particularly those offer new and innovative interpretations of food. Some call it pretentious and maybe it is, but I love it.

I had tried to book ahead for another outing but I had to pay a deposit of £100 for 6 people and I decided not to. This time we just rocked up hoping for the best and we were rewarded with a table. The restaurant is quite small; maybe sits no more than twenty people. The vibe is nice enough, there are Nigerianisms everywhere, including a small collection of Nigerian books. I was happy to see that I have read most of the books.

My favourite thing was the cassava fries. As a lover of fried yam I knew I was going to love this and it met my expectations. The adalu (beans and corn) was also good which was surprising as I always talk about how I hate corn in beans. Growing up I hated when my mum cooked beans and I excitedly went to get a plate only to see corn in it. Whyyyyy? Turns out I was the dummy. It’s not bad. I ate it with the fried plantain mixed in cinnamon. The Sinasir & Miyan Taushe was a revelation. These are rice pancakes common in Northern Nigeria. We were not going to order them but the woman who took our order recommended it and I am glad she did. It was so good. The moin-moin was the cutest moin moin I have ever seen and it tasted good. The jollof quinoa was another thing I was not interested in but my friend ordered it and it was good. At the last minute I decided to order the caramel kuli kuli chicken wings because no one was picking up on my hints. It was nice enough. We also had suya meatballs (I generally do not like meatballs so I only had a small bite and it was alright. The sauce went well with the cassava fries), and honey suya prawns (not bad but not memorable.) The lamb asun was one thing I was eager to try but it was the most disappointing part of the menu; we found it quite dry. Strangely enough all the food we enjoyed the most were vegetarian/vegan so it turns out we could actually have a full Nigerian meal with no meat/fish. We had zobo and chapman and I finally decided on the age long battle (in my mind) between the two: Chapman wins every time. No contest. There was Nigerian beer and £3 glass bottles of water.

I was intrigued by the dessert menu and made my friends order one of each so we could try all three options. We got the yam brownie, chin chin cheesecake and plantain waffles. I was most interested in the yam brownie and it was alright but I couldn’t really eat much of it. Not for me. My friends however thought that was the best dessert. The plantain waffles just tasted like plantain but I liked the flavour of the ice-cream that came with it. I don’t have any memory of the cheesecake but I think it was okay.

Not much more to say, here are some pictures.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I am glad I did not let the rail strikes derail my plans. I had to go into London on Wednesday to stay with my friend as tube and rail strikes meant I would not have been able to get in to London on Saturday. It was a last minute hassle which was totally worth it.

This was almost a month ago and I have not left the house since.

Self-care

I have started this post so many times in my head, and it is not clear why exactly I find it difficult to sit down and write, given that this is all I want to do. Now that I have finally settled down to write, I don’t know what to write about.

I have been out and about lately; the days of working entirely from home seem to be over, and though at first I resisted this and was so aggrieved, I have to admit that my room had become an isolating prison which I needed to escape from. I spent three days last week in the office, and it was nice to be around other people. The introvert in me is shaken.

When I first thought about writing this post, it was because I was in a much better mood than I had been and was practicing self care (aka eating like a rabbit). I therefore wanted to write about the little acts of self-care that had made me happy.

I came across a BuzzFeed India video on YouTube and then went down a rabbit hole of their videos which largely centre around Indian food. Needless to say, I developed a severe craving for Indian food, particularly Parotta- a supposedly delicious South Indian bread. It looked so good (and stressful to make!) in the videos that I had to have it. I spent the weekend surfing through the food delivery apps searching for Parotta. I eventually found one place and placed an order. Of course I couldn’t just order the Parotta on its own, so I added some lamb biryani and butter chicken- which were also on my cravings list thanks to Buzzfeed India. Well I was on my way to pick up my order (I ain’t paying no delivery fees) when I received a call from the restaurant with the devastating news that they were out of Parotta and would I like some naan instead? Ugh. The only reason I made the order was because I wanted the parotta, now I was stuck with the rest of the order. I went to the supermarket and saw “Paranthas” which are the North Indian version of Parottas. Listen, I only found out about the South India/North India divide (?) a couple of years ago when an Indian colleague mentioned that she was staying with a South Indian family. India is a big country with a billion people so it should not be surprising that there is a vast level of diversity, but it was still interesting to learn about just how diverse India is, especially when it came to food. We are used to saying “Indian food” “Chinese food” without any thought that these popular food items are not representative of the whole country. Anyway I bought the paranthas and went back to pick up my order. There the man told me that I had to call 24 hours in advance if I wanted parotta. I am not surprised because it took an age on YouTube (it has to rest for 8 hours at some point). I went home and tried some of the biryani and found it to be so dry; I tried the butter chicken and did not like it at all. I chided myself for getting carried away by YouTube and now being stuck with food that I did not want. The naan was delicious though. The next day however, I decided to use some of the sauce and yoghurt that came with the rice, and eh voila that made all the difference. For the butter chicken I watched another buzzfeed India video, one of the girls ate a butter chicken wrap, which was the first time it occurred to me that it did not have to be eaten with rice. Just like that the order was saved. I enjoyed the rest of the biryani with the sauce and enjoyed the butter chicken with the parantha. That made me happy.

What else did I do that made me happy? Oh yeah, I went to see a play. I had to go into London for the first in person work training in over two years. I was not going to waste a trip into London so I also made arrangements to see a play and when I checked and saw that the National Gallery was just minutes away from the theatre I added that to my plans as well. The training was dull, but there were nice snacks and lunch was good (never thought I would enjoy tuna but the tuna croquette was excellent) so I was happy. The training ended early so I had time to explore- I spent some time at the National Gallery until it closed and then walked around taking in the sights and looking for somewhere to eat before the play. I settled on Chipotle because I like burritos and was running out of time to eat so just did not need any fuss. The burrito was alright, but the play? It was excellent. Muy bonito. I chose to see Dear Evan Hansen and will maybe do a separate post on it. All in all, I was happy. Happy that I chose to do something fun on a weekday. Happy that the play was so good and worthwhile. Happy that I got out of my room. I also really liked my hair and outfit that day so I was feeling myself all around.

This was maybe two weeks ago now. I should have written the post when the feelings were still fresh so as to capture the feelings. My spirits are still relatively high, but the familiar anxiety and irritation is creeping in. But that’s for another post.

Baby’s day out in London

For someone who only has three friends, I have actually been quite social lately (by my standards anyway). I spent the whole of January and February in my room, only leaving to replenish my groceries and toiletries. In the last week of February, I finally ventured out of my house and off to London I went. I had booked myself a ticket to finally see Cirque du Soleil. I had the chance to go years ago when I was in university, but I couldn’t find someone to go with me (actually, I don’t think I asked anyone) and I didn’t feel like going by myself. I regretted it afterwards. When I saw that Cirque du Soleil was back in town, I decided to go see it, come rain or shine. None of my friends were interested so I booked a ticket to go by myself. This was booked back in 2021, so I was just waiting patiently.

A friend of mine had a birthday in early February and I did not get to spend the day with her, so our mutual friend (and some of her other friends) decided to do a surprise dinner outing. Luckily, it was on the same day as the circus show so I only had to make one trip into London. My show was at 3:30pm, and I was hoping for dinner at 6/7pm so I could be safely back home before it was too late. Alas that was not to be. First we had to decide on the restaurant, and this took a while because we needed a pretty place that was also available to book. Covid restrictions have been removed and everyone is outside! We decided on a restaurant and the friend booked it for 9pm. NINE O CLOCK IN THE NIGHT TIME! Oh my Lord. I saw the message and just put the phone away; a case of see no evil. I attempted to salvage things by booking a Japanese BBQ place for 7pm but it was decided to stick with the original booking. The restaurant was selected because it was “pretty” which is really the primary criteria in booking a restaurant for a birthday dinner. I searched for reviews online and saw a few comments about how the food does not match the decor. I collated these comments to send to my friend to let them know that all that glitters is not gold and to sway them away from this place, but in the end I decided to just go with the flow. You have spent the whole year so far alone in your room, go out and spend the whole day outside. So I smiled and said see you there! and prayed not to miss the last train back home. One thing about me? I will go back home.

The day arrived and I had a mixture of excitement and the familiar nervousness I always feel when I have to leave the comfort of my prison room. I made it to the show in good time and was pleased to find that I had a really good seat. As always I was so happy to be out and about in London, and I took as many pictures as I could.

Before the show started, I thought of a play on words: Cirque du So’lame! and hoped that would not be case. The thing about having expectations is that they are often not met. The show was alright; there were times when I wondered why I wasted my money, and there were jaw dropping moments when I literally clutched my non-existent pearls. I got the impression that this show was much more tame than other cirque shows, and I was a little thankful for that. The performers put themselves through so much and I have seen enough headlines about unfortunate accidents and deaths at shows like this and I was a bit nervous for them. It was interesting to me to see that the performers were also nervous. It never occurred to me that they would have nerves, I just assumed they do this all the time so they are basically superhuman. Watching them take a deep breath before flying through the air was actually endearing. The contortionist was really good (and surreal!), and the best part for me was the one when they flew in the air from one moving ledge to the other. There was juggling and some other alright stuff; there was a whole scenario featuring the clown with a whistle that went on for quite a while. I did not get it. At all. The audience seemed to get it though, judging from the laughter. Maybe it’s because he had his back to my section but it was a waste of my time. All in all, it was alright and I’m glad I’ve finally seen the show.

The show was over at 5:30 ish and I had a lot of time to kill. Thankfully, the line for the toilet was long and that easily killed a good amount of time (sort this out Royal Albert Hall!). As I had a fair bit of time, I took my time and moved in a leisurely manner. I stopped in a few places, including Waterstones, and then made my way to Oxford Street where I could easily waste a few hours. Whenever I go to Oxford Street, I need to have a crepe or bubble waffle. The last time I was there I had a bubble waffle and ever since, crepes (my erstwhile favourites) are no longer suitable. Oxford street is huge and confusing, I felt lucky to be able to find a crepe place and I did not want to lose it while searching for the bubble waffle place so I settled for a crepe. I should not have. It did not taste good. Still, that held me until the late night dinner.

I painted my nails on the bus. Not sure why I even bothered.

I did a fair bit of window shopping by myself, and then walked over to the restaurant at 8:45pm to meet our mutual friend who had arrived early. The restaurant is tucked in and I kept missing it.

The sign is so tiny. I expected a huge sign to match the fuss.

On getting there, we discovered that the reservation was actually for 9:30pm! I sighed deeply, and we went off to do more window shopping. Time flies, and we were soon all gathered together to celebrate our friend, who got emotional at some point.

The food was alright. The food I ordered was not photogenic, although that could be because of the poor lighting and poor camera quality.

The atmosphere was nice enough, but it did not make up for the fact that we were eating so late. I feel that it would have been better at the Japanese BBQ place, as we would have been more relaxed and spent more time together. I had to get the last train at 11:40pm, so I literally ran out of there and all the way to the tube station to get to the train station. I was a mess. I spent more time recovering from the run than I spent running. It turns out one of the guests had her last train cancelled due to someone jumping in front of the train, and so she had to pay for a taxi home. Yikes.

Still, my friend was happy , and so was I. It was nice to leave my house and interact with others.

Even in my haste, I managed to get some birthday cake which was baked my our mutual friend. I had this for breakfast in bed the next day.

It felt good to leave the house, and the next week I was out of the house again for a fun weekend in Birmingham. I’m a real Popular Polly these days. Yay.

A Countervailing Theory

Countervailing: to offset the effect of (something) by countering it with something of equal force.

Long time no art.

For the first time this year, I went off to see some art. I hadn’t been in a museum/art gallery in a long time due to Rona and other tales so I was quite excited. A friend of mine was interested in seeing an exhibition at the Barbican which was great because I had never been to the Barbican even though I lived in the area for about a year.

Upon arriving at the Barbican, we realised that although the exhibition was free, we were required to book tickets with time slots for crowd control. So we hurriedly booked the next available time slot which was two hours away, but they let us in anyway so yay.

The exhibition was by Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih-Odutola and it was titled A Countervailing Theory.

The exhibition is set in Nigeria, Plateau state to be exact, and it depicts an imaginary prehistoric reality in which women are the rulers over docile men who are the labourers. Emotional and sexual relationship are forbidden between men and women, and only permitted within the same sex. This had me scratching my head because how….never mind.

My confusion only grew as I moved through the exhibition as I didn’t understand what I was looking at. It would have been helpful to have a booklet or at least little descriptions next to the paintings. I gave up on trying to understand the whole thing and just appreciated the art. At the time I found it dreary, and remarked how I liked my art with some colour. I was not familiar with the artist but we googled her and I liked some of her other work and wished we could see those instead. However since then I have fallen more in love with the exhibition, even more so when writing this post. Plus these articles helped me understand it a bit more.

I am so impressed by artists and the work they put into their work. It is so amazing to me that someone can come up with an idea, sit down with a canvas and then create art; and she did it forty times for this exhibition.

The best part of the paintings for me were the eyes; the artist did an excellent job of conveying the emotions in the eyes. All in all the exhibition was great and I look forward to seeing more from Toyin Ojih-Odutola.

My favourite piece of the exhibition is one I liked to call “Tired Man” aka “Mood Forever“. It was love at first sight for me and if I had a nice fancy house with loads of extra money I would definitely like to have this hanging in my house.

Enough words, here are the pictures.

My favourite painting in the exhibition. I want this in my house.

What is happening here? Forbidden lust?
The eyes Chico, they never lie
So beautiful. Look at the emotions on the faces. Again, the eyes!

Oh I love art in all its beauty and I cannot get enough.

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to

My birthdays are usually nerve wracking and depressing because I never truly feel celebrated which consequently makes me sad. I don’t care much for attention on most days but on my birthday I want to be feted by my friends and family, to drown in love the whole month day, to wear a beautiful dress and be the belle of the ball. I have this idea of what I want my birthday to be, and also what I think a birthday should be and then I stress myself out and feel sad when I am alone on my birthday.

Three years ago, my birthday fell on a weekday and I took the day off. Of course I made no plans, despite talking incessantly about all the things I wanted to to. I had no one to do anything with because well it was a weekday. I was sad and emotional over what a failure my day was. Eventually at about noon I got dressed, put on makeup (my bright red lipstick), wore my oversized fashion sunglasses, faux fur coat and just went outside. Immediately I got out I felt much better. Though it was chilly enough for a coat, it was also deliciously sunny. I got on a train and went to a nearby city, visited a couple of museums, had lunch by myself at a Caribbean restaurant and then ended the day with a play (where I lost the battle against sleep). It ended up being a good day which I would have wasted by moping around. Looking back I was rather childish. If I wanted to be celebrated by others, I could have planned a weekend event and invited them to it no?

Two years ago, the familiar dread that heralds my birthday started again. I had spent a weekend in Paris with my friend and even though I tried to tell myself that was my birthday gift to myself, the fact was that I was not in Paris on my actual birthday so of course I was worried about the day. Listen, I nearly drove myself into insanity. I thought I had to have an event and invite my colleagues to it but of course I was stressed because 1) I was not particularly close to most of them and did not care to hang with them 2) I was almost certain they would want to come or find it awkward seeing as we were not close 3) I could not figure out what event they would be interested in (karaoke? escape room?). I was stressed the fuck out. I would be having a good time thinking about nothing and then thoughts of my impending birthday would infiltrate my mind and hello stress. If I sound like a nutter it is because I am. Eventually my birthday came around and I got dolled up, stopped by Krispy Kreme and bought three packs of doughnuts and took it in. Everyone was delighted to have doughnuts and they regaled me with a rousing rendition of Happy birthday. Later that day I had a last minute dinner with a few friends which was lovely.  They bought me a cake and a party hat and I felt so loved and happy. The next day my dear friend got on the train with her daughter and came to spend the night with me. She brought a card and presents; we hung out and it was delightful. The birthday ended up being amazing.

Last year, I decided to save myself the stress and start planning my birthday from the moment the clock struck midnight ushering in the new year. It dawned on me that I am the only one responsible for making sure I have a good birthday. Of course I must have always known this, but still on some level I seem to have expected some magic to occur and for me to be surprised with a fantasy day. It is ridiculous to expect other people who have stressful lives of their own to be preoccupied with me and my birthday, especially as I am not preoccupied with them and their birthday.

Armed with this new understanding, I decided to put together a plan of everything I wanted to do and then make it happen. See I have this nasty habit of over analysing everything and trying to predict people’s reactions. There were things I wanted to do but I worried myself sick thinking about whether my friends would be willing to do it or whether they would be willing (or able) to spend a lot of money celebrating my birthday. Eventually one of my friends said “just let us know what you want to do” and I did. I wanted to have a sleepover with my friends, have a nice meal in this fancy restaurant, and do some fun activity after. I told them this much and they did not complain or object. Those who could make it did and they were willing to spend whatever amount.

The day before my birthday I went out for dinner and a movie with one of my friends. I went to one of my favourite restaurants and saw a movie which I had been looking forward to watching. I went home happy and ready to usher in my birthday.

On my actual birthday, I took the day off from work and treated myself to a nice brunch and spa session. I got my nails done a pretty pink colour and felt so beautiful. Then I packed my things and headed off to my friends place for a sleepover. She ordered me dinner and we watched a silly film on Netflix.

The next day was my actual celebration- I wore the most beautiful dress and headed off to Sketch London, a place I had always wanted to visit in part due to its glorious pink room and surreal toilets (yes toilets). The food was delicious and we took lots of pictures. We then roamed around Oxford Street, eating street crepes and window shopping until it was time for our other event. Then we headed off to Swingers for some indoor golf which was a riot. Finally we sat and had dinner before heading back home.

The next day I packed my things to head back home but before then my friend and her boyfriend treated me to a nice lunch in a Lebanese restaurant. It ended up being an absolutely fantastic weekend- I did everything I wanted to do. I bought the dress I wanted, looked how I wanted, ate what I wanted and I definitely felt loved and happy. That was the best birthday in a while and I felt spoiled the whole weekend. I got back home on cloud 9, happy as can be and pleased that I finally had the birthday of my dreams and I made it happen.

My birthday this year was in lockdown and it was quite alright. Of course the stress of doing something was eliminated, thankfully. I woke up early went out to get myself some flowers and ice cream, made myself some brownies and had a virtual party with my friends. It was lovely.

What have I learnt from this? There is no standard birthday template; think of what you want to do and invite people to join you (if you want). Also important to note is that you do not have to do something! You can stay home and read a book in silence if that is what makes you happy.

It is so easy to feel unloved and sorry for oneself when really all you have to do is reach out. Sure it would be nice for people to spoil you but your happiness remains your responsibility. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and make yourself happy!

In writing this, I have looked back on my life and realised that while I have had some doozies, I have also had some pretty great birthdays where people showed up for me. But of course it’s easier to remember the bad/dull times.

 

Let’s go to the theatre dah-ling!

“Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?”
Friedrich Nietzsche

It was only in the theatre that I lived.
-Oscar Wilde.

Most weekends I am in my room, on my bed, watching television and eating pastry. Some weekends, even Netflix is not enough to assuage the hellish boredom so I say sod it, and head into town to see a play.

As a socially awkward teetotal introvert who doesn’t live close to any of her five friends, finding fun things to do can be daunting. One thing I love to do is to go see a play in one of London’s many theatres. So occasionally I make plans with a friend to meet up in the West End for dinner and a play, and I am rarely happier than during these times. Just being in the West End, surrounded by all the theatres with signs screaming the various plays. I inhale deeply-even the air is different (you would feel the same way if you spend most of your time alone in a small room). Over the years I have seen quite a few plays in London-mostly musicals, but also some drama. Here are my top five plays:

Continue reading

Murder on the Jubilee Line

A week ago I witnessed an incident on the London underground; the southbound jubilee line to be precise. Commuting in London can be terrible at the best of times, but everyone will testify that the morning rush hour is especially hellish.  It is packed tighter than a sardine can and the slightest cough-or God forbid-sneeze could take down at least a hundred people.

Still the trips are uneventful-horrendous but uneventful; nothing to write a blogpost about. Until about a week ago when I witnessed the type of theatrics I usually only see on youtube.

Curtain opens.

The tube stops at Canada Water. As usual there is an orderly line of people waiting to get in. A young lady cuts the queue and hops on to the consternation of the woman who was in the line.

Cast
Young lady who hops on the train-Hereafter referred to as BW (Black Woman)
Miffed off woman standing in the line-Hereafter referred to as WW (White Woman)

WW: *soft whiny voice* Excuse me please, there is a queue. You can’t just cut the queue.
Me: *in my mind* Just squeeze yourself in and don’t make a big deal out of this.
BW: Silence.

*Five  Mississippis later*
BW: WHY ARE YOU FOOOKING TALKING TO ME? 
Me: *In my mind* alright sis just leave it alone there’s no need for all this.
BW: DO YOU WANT ME TO RAISE MY VOICE? WHY THE FOOK ARE YOU TALKING TO ME? ARE YOU GOING TO KICK ME OFF OR DO YOU WANT ME TO PUSH YOU OFF? WHO PUT YOU IN CHARGE OF THE LINE? ARE YOU PAID TO MAINTAIN THE QUEUE YOU DUMB BITCH?

Random people on the tube: *whimpering* Hey that’s not necessary.

Me: *Looks around for the exits.* Oh God I hope nothing happens. There is no place to run.

BW: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS WOMAN’S LIFE THAT SHE IS WORRIED ABOUT A FUCKING TRAIN? WHY IS THIS WOMAN’S LIFE SO DULL THAT SHE’S TALKING TO ME ABOUT A TRAIN?

Me: How long before she mentions White Privilege?

BW: …WITH YOUR FUCKING WHITE PRIVILEGE YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT A TRAIN?
Me: Bingo!
BW: YOU HAVE EVERYTHING AND YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT A TRAIN YOU STUPID ASS BITCH!
WW: Silence. Weak embarrassed smile.
BW: Silence.
Me: God get me to my destination safely.

*Two Mississippis later*
BW: STUPID ASS WHITE PRIVILEGE BITCH WORRIED ABOUT A FUCKING TRAIN
Me: *in my mind* Let it go you psycho!
Random people: Hey stop it…unnecessary…c’mon now
BW: ANYONE WHO TALKS TO ME IS GOING TO (get it? be yelled at? Feel my wrath? Cannot remember exact words)

Voice in the tube: This station is Canary Wharf. Change here for the…
Me: Praise Jeeeessuuuuus! *hops off and sprints away*

Curtains close.

The incident occupied my thoughts for the rest of the day and even now I still think about it from time to time. This may not be a memorable incident to some-just another day in the jungle of civilised society. To some, this may be positively banal: “You call that a incident? Why I once saw  a woman fight five men, bite off a cat’s head and give birth to her own grandchild on the Bakerloo line from Baker Street to Edgeware road.”

This is surely not the worst thing to happen on public transportation, but as a lifelong scaredy cat and avoider of confrontation this shook me up. Prior to this incident I had seen videos of people being verbally attacked on public transportation-usually a racist piece of shit telling someone else to go back to their country. When these videos are posted, people often ask why none of the witnesses did anything:
“Oh look at all of them sitting down and allowing this to go on”
“Even the few people who spoke up are still complicit because they did not do anything to stop it.” blah blah blabity blah.

I have never been one of those people sprouting these lines. I have always known in my heart that if I was to ever be in a situation like that, I would not be able to do anything. I knew even then that I would be one of the cowards who say nothing; one of the people who sit still and wait for the whole thing to pass quickly. Whenever I watched those videos I wondered what I would do if I was the one being attacked. Again I knew-as I have known for years-that I would not have the courage to defend myself. I would most likely stand there humiliated, attempting to mask the awkwardness with a week feeble smile like the WW. Maybe that’s why I could not get this incident out of my mind.

I wonder if I should have said anything, but what help would that have served? Surely a person who can snap at a stranger like that would not hesitate to let me have it. It is unlikely that my objections would have made her stop her attack: “You know what sis? I was going to berate this bitch for another 5 minutes but hearing your feeble voice has made me change my mind.” 

Excuses excuses. I’m not even going to deceive myself by saying I would have intervened if it was a more serious incident.

A friend of mine-much smaller than me- once saw a group of men sexually assaulting a drunk woman and managed to run the men off and get them arrested. My first reaction would probably be to find a safe place to hide and call the police from, or find other people and point them in the direction of the crime. I know if she had been on the tube, she would have said something.

It is a terrible thing to be weak and afraid.

 

The Wallace Collection.

I only first heard of the Wallace collection a little while back. I randomly came across pictures of it on the internet and immediately I was struck by how beautiful it looked. So when I got to go into London, there was just one thing on  my mind.

The Wallace Collection is a national museum containing works of art collected by the first four Marquesses of Hertford between 1760 and 1880. The 4th Marquess of Hertford, Richard Seymour-Conway, left it all to his son Richard Wallace, whose widow so bequeathed it to the nation on the condition no part of the collection should ever be removed from it not even as a loan to other exhibitions.  It is open to the public every day, completely free of charge- donations are of course welcome.

The Wallace Collection is just as beautiful as I expected. There is so much to see- armories, furniture, sculptures, miniatures, and my favourite- paintings. I spent almost three hours there and could not fully in take in every thing. I would enter a  new room and think wow there is still so much to see. The lighting is not the best and in some parts I could not take pictures at all, so I had to be content with mental images.

Art aside, the rooms themselves are so gorgeous. My absolute favourite room was the Great Gallery. Oh my. I took picture after picture and could not capture just how beautiful it is. I cannot say for sure what it is about it that took my breath away- the spaciousness, high ceilings, beautiful paintings adorning every inch-but I really liked it.

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The curtains and wallpaper (wall cloth?) are so regal. Each room was art. My camera (plus poor lighting) could not capture the rooms to my satisfaction but I remember walking into each room and just taking in and enjoying the beauty.

 

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The furniture was stunning as well. The mirrors and chandeliers were breathtaking.

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I smile every time I see this painting. The look on her face is precious.

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I was immediately drawn to this picture. The expression on her face is so captivating and sad. Strawberry girls were little “waitresses” who sold strawberries. Little children hawking or working to earn a living makes me sad.

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There were a lot of religious paintings, particularly of The Virgin and Child.

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Mary was truly done. “Not another picture!”

The whole thing was very ethereal and I am happy I went. There are literally thousands of things to see. The Wallace Collection is located at Hertford House Manchester Square Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN England.