Saturday, 15 November 2014

Monday to Wednesday in the Big Smoke

After a few fun days in Bognor Regis with my friends and family, loaded with ebay parcels and birthday presents, I went up to London for three days. If I am honest it was this section of the trip to England that I was most anxious about. I hadn't been back to the city properly since August and the thought of being with all those people in such a small space after being in Spain filled me with horror. I was worried about how I'd cope with all in the information flooding in, all the adverts and noise and worst of all - the memories. It takes time for memories to change into happy ones. I pretty much loathed everyday I was at school and even several years after leaving it I hated going back. I always did wonder why elders described their days at school with such fondness and nostalgia because I really didn't feel like that, until round about now. In my 30th year, snippets of the funny times are slowly replacing the more painful experiences of my school years and I wonder if my four year spell in London is going to be a little bit like that. I have many happy memories of my time there, but because I left on such an odd note I feel that those memories have been clouded a little.

Still, I hopped off the train, checked into my B&B and then with grit determination hit the crowds. It was sublime. Firstly I nipped to the V&A, then the NHM, the BM and Wellcome Trust. I then got taken out for my 30th by a wonderful friend who is studying for her solicitor exams and was wined and dined. Tuesday – filming day at Chelsea followed by a business lunch with the producer and a quick visit to the Huntarian Museum which BLEW MY MIND (another blog post). Then a mad dash to meet another friend in Bank.

A glimpse of the Huntarian Museum (image Jackie Beans Studio)

Feet covered in blisters, exhausted and fuelled by several oversized Americanos, I then visited Tate Britain where I bumped into the Lady of Shallot, Ophelia and David Nash, who must have been having a weekend in London for his birthday. It was quite remarkable bumping into him after not seeing him for a couple of years since his show in Kew. Then a mad dash to The Globe for lunch with another friend who has just got engaged, a quick visit to Tate Modern and a brief telephone call from Plymouth University who seem to finally be doing something about their Muirhead Herbarium (I will do a blog post about this next), then another mad dash to Bedford Square to attend a PhD open evening. On the way there I bumped into another very old friend at Victoria tube station. After discussing my PhD application over some nibbles, I then suddenly felt wild and hopped on a tube Camden just for the sheer hell of it. It was magnificent.

Ophelia, Sir John Everett Millais, Tate ©

What a fantastic few days. I met so many wonderful people and was so very much looked after. I feel incredibly privileged to know so many kind hearts and to be able to experience the juxtaposition of Spanish and London life this intimately. Feeling pretty full from the experience, I am now back in Spain and rearing to get on with some work with a rather different perspective on London life and life in general. Being in the centre like that, the entire three days really made me think about what life is. It is about engagements, exams, travelling, dining and creativity.  I have been recently so concerned with the lightness and darkness of life that I forgot about all the little bits in between. Seeing all the specimens in the Huntarian Museum made me realise how magical it is that our flesh and bone can achieve so much, most of which is invisible, in the form of a simple gesture which time forgets.

David Nash at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew ©
So, on that note I leave you with this. It is a short video about Daredevil Dilys, an 82 year old who ceases life to the very core.  In my eyes, this video is all about the need to take risks, to face your fears and to do what you want to do regardless of what anyone thinks. 

Dilys epitomizes what people can achieve, especially those who feel that they are too old to live their dreams. 

Life is for living - be nice and embrace it.


  1. Beautiful post Jess, the video was great, Dilys is an inspiring woman.
    Love your approach and honesty about life and all the challenges - happy to hear you are able to reflect and see difficult times through new eyes.
    May the light outweigh the darkness so we can see that love is in the details.
    Life is a rollercoaster for sure, glad to be on the ride.

    1. Beautiful comment Vicki - life is superb isn't it?! I now certainly feel the light coming back in. I have developed this dreadful habit in Spain of not being able to sit indoors when the sun is out, which is pretty much all of the time. It's a wonder I get any work done! It just feels so good on my skin and I love looking at the way it dances on/off the leaves. There is a new rose shoot in the front garden here and I am enjoying watching it grow bigger and bigger and seeing the reds on the new leaves change to a green colour. They are so squeaky new and shiny it is rather beautiful the way they sunlight reflects off of them and through them.

      Dilys is amazing!!! God love her. So inspiring.