Friday, 17 June 2011

A Flying Visit To The Capital

We left home at around 1p.m yesterday and were back just after midnight. We went down to London to a summer reception being held by the people who manage our finances. It was held at The Foundling Museum near Russell Square and we had the opportunity to take a guided tour. The museum celebrates the charitable work carried out by retired seaman Thomas Coram who built a hospital for foundlings and illegitimate children and funded it by getting the most renowned artists and musicians of the time to donate artworks and arrange performances. The public flocked to the hospital which was Britain's first ever public art gallery. The most famous patrons were Handel (who performed an annual concert there) and Hogarth. The museum displays several of his works in a beautiful building built on the site of the original hospital. The room above, a reconstruction of one of the hospital's rooms, has ceiling, fireplace and panels from the original. Most touching for us were the trinkets left by mothers who abandoned their children as a means of identifying their offspring should they ever try to reclaim them (the children were all given new names). These included thimbles and small items of jewellery and, in one case, a metal bottle label bearing the word "BEER".

We had an hour or two to kill before the party and this flew by in St Pancras station (above and below).

We were commenting as we left Preston on how run down and dreary that station looked. St Pancras, in contrast, is bright and has almost as good a choice of shopping and places to eat and drink as we've got here in Southport. It was quite easy for us to sit outside one of the cafes and just watch the world go by. If we had stayed longer we could have watched a group perform as there is a live music festival being held on the concourse every day until mid July.

 We've just been planning next week's cinema visit. We're off to FACT again on Tuesday for a helping of French films with the thriller Point Blank at lunchtime followed by Potiche in the evening. To make it a French day all round we'll have to go for a bite to eat at Bistro Franc in between showings. We might try and see Bridesmaids on Wednesday as well, as the Twittersphere has been making positive noises about it and we're going to a wedding soon.

And talking of the Twittersphere, the news has been full of social media related stories this week from the woman juror who stupidly contacted a defendant on Facebook, to the Ministry of Defence and their security videos on YouTube with a soldier's mum taking tea with a terrorist and a couple of sailors checking into a nightclub on their phones. Here's a funny little film that will really make you think about what you're doing online.