Friday, December 29, 2006

Velasquez and clotted cream

Yes, the ideal combination. Lord H and I were up at the crack of dawn today in order to get to London on the 9.20 train. I factored in huge amounts of time to drive to Woking during the rush hour, but the rush hour appeared to be inoperative (hey, is nobody at all at work this week? What is the country coming to ...?) and we arrived at the station at 8.55. The car park was virtually empty too - and is now charging a massive £8.30 to park all day. Ye gods, for that price, I'd expect to own the bloody car park. And have it lined with Daniel Craig look-alikes too. Naked ones. Thank goodness the machine accepts credit cards and Lord H was feeling noble. Talking of noble, I lightheartedly waved my railcard at Lord H and said I'd pay for the train. Forgetting of course that the card doesn't work till after 10am, so I had to pay £40 for travel cards for the both of us. £40!! I ask you ... And people wonder why I won't work in London.

Lord H had decided to make the most of the train journey to package his theology essay & questionnaires into the appropriate envelopes (proofread and printed off late last night - Good Wife points all round ...) - so as soon as he sat down, he unbuttoned his coat, scrabbled at chest level inside his jumper and produced a paperclip. Then he did it again. And I'd been wondering what men's nipples were for. Now I know ... When I voiced this in my usual dulcet (not) tones, his response was that I should wait to see where he'd stored the rubber bands. At which point, the tannoy announcement asked us to let the train staff know if we saw anything suspicious and the family the other side of the aisle moved seats.

Which brings me to the National Gallery Velasquez exhibition. Wonderful. I can highly recommend it. Best of all, there are only four rooms so you don't have to have art (oh Lord, where's the chocolate, please give it to me now) overload syndrome. And there's a free micro-booklet which tells you just enough about each picture to keep your interest. Bliss. My favourites? - rather surprisingly, the portraits of men at court whom Velasquez knew. Very realistic and humane stuff. Moving too. Lord H's favourite? - the Rokeby Venus (the naked lady with her back to us and gazing in the mirror). Need you ask? However, Lord H did comment that her bottom was in sharp focus but the rest of her was very soft and almost impressionistic. He was right too - the photographer's eye, eh? Not, of course, the half-hour he spent staring at it and salivating ... So the good Velasquez is a bottom man. You heard it here first.

Post-art, we dropped into Fortnum & Mason to (a) check out the sales - rather like an art gallery but with food instead of paint - and (b) have a snack - which turned out to be tea & scones, replete with clotted cream buckets x2. Heaven. As always, and in true Essex Girl fashion, I'd saved a large teaspoon of cream and jam in the buckets to lap up sans scone at the end. But the moment I'd got rid of the bun, the waitress made a foolhardy attempt to whisk my plate away. I fought bravely to retain my clotted cream orgasm rights and, after a brief tussle, I won. Lord H said the look on my face as my plate was almost removed was Munch-like in its expression of raw terror. Hell, I got the cream though. Ha!

And so, home. Tonight, I need to make a token cleaning gesture and then slump in front of the TV again. Hey, it's good to have an exercise plan.

Today's nice things:

1. Velasquez
2. Clotted cream
3. An evening in.

Anne Brooke

No comments: