Sunday, November 15, 2009

Things to do

Our busy weekend began on Friday night when M returned home with fish and chips, which we ate in front of the TV (recordings of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Breaking Bad). My working week had been particularly stressful due to having to work with a particularly controlling and obstructive colleague, so vegging out mindlessly felt so good.

Saturday began with hot croissants at home. An old friend of mine was meeting us for brunch at Carluccio's in the Brunswick Centre at Russell Square, but as it was raining so hard and Little Planet had ripped the only raincover we have for the buggy, M and Little Planet could not come out so I went alone to meet him. We both lectured together at university but whereas I moved career into advertising, he has remained in academia and is doing very well. He ordered scrambled eggs and I had a fruit salad and we caught up for an hour.

We separated at the British Museum where he went on to meet another friend and I took a cab to the White Cube in Hoxton to see Anselm Kiefer's The Fertile Crescent exhibition (photo above). Kiefer was inspired by a trip to India where he was taken by the sun-dried mud bricks of rural brick factories. The smell of thick, encrusted oil paint filled the gallery and was heady and earthy. It's been a few weeks since I've visited a gallery and I really needed this emotive hit of Kiefer - one of my favourite painters.

It was raining so hard that I cabbed it back into central London, to the Courtauld where they were exhibiting Frank Auerbach's abstract oil paintings of post-war London building sites (photo above). Like Kiefer, these weighty, gutsy paintings with thickly layered paint really got took my breath away.

It was still raining when I left the gallery but I decided to walk to Piccadilly where the second part of Anselm Kiefer's exhibition continued in the White Cube's Mason's Yard gallery - this time featuring monumental forest diptychs and triptychs enclosed in glass vitrines.

I tried to see Anish Kapoor's show at the Royal Academy Of Arts, but the queue was a mile long (despite, or perhaps because of, the rain) so I decided instead to search for a raincover for Little Planet's Bugaboo Bee buggy. I called Mothercare and Selfridges but they had sold out. I was fortunate in John Lewis - they too had sold out of the raincover but they graciously gave me a good-as-new display model for free. While I was there I also picked up some Neal's Yard baby balm which is so good for Little Planet's nappy rash whilst she's teething her big molars. Then down to Carnaby Street where I bought some Kiehl's products from Liberty and some candles from Muji.

Finally, I ate a late lunch (at 2.30pm) at Masala Zone, where I ate a vegetable thali and got talking to a nice elderly Indian couple from Barnes (south London) seated next to me about Anish Kapoor, iPhones and disabled parking in central London. I've eaten at a wide variety of Indian restaurants - from cheap to expensive - but Masala Zone and Rasa are still my favourites.

I came home in time for Little Planet's dinner time. M had spent a lovely day with our daughter - going to the park, playing and also doing loads of things around the house, including baking bread. Later on, M made homemade mayonnaise and crab cakes which he served with a salad dressed in homemade sesame seed dressing. It was delicious.

This Sunday morning, the weather was bright and sunny so M and I took Little Planet to the British Museum. We saw the The Power Of Dogu exhibition of small ceramic figures from ancient Japan (photo above) and the exhibition of Mexican Revolutionary Prints. At 10am, both exhibition rooms were virtually empty which was wonderful for the three of us as Little Planet was able to toddle around to her heart's content and M and I were also then able to really focus on the exhibits. Little Planet found alot to interest her in the exhibitions as we encouraged her to identify ears, eyes, noses, chins, mouths, hair, feet and hands on each of the Dogu statues and also on some of the people depicted in the Mexican prints. She really enjoyed this activity. Then we took her to the fountains in Russell Square.

The rest of the day was spent at home. All three of us napped after lunch for an hour then M planted Spring bulbs in the back garden whilst Little Planet played throwing and fetching balls on the lawn and I was upstairs sorting laundry. Little Planet watched Supernanny with me (!!) and then some CBeebies and then we all played before a family dinner of roast chicken, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn and broccoli.

This is the first time we've eaten dinner together. Because Little Planet goes to bed at 7pm she has her dinner at 5pm - this is too early for M and I but we thought for once we would give a shared family dinner at 5pm a try. It was too early for us and I didn't really enjoy the meal; also Little Planet does not eat well when she has an audience (such as people sitting at the table with her) so she hardly ate a thing. Oh well, at least we tried and we will try it again periodically.

Now she's in bed and because we've already eaten, we have a good four hours stretching ahead of us before our own bedtime. Such a long time not punctuated by meal preparation and eating! What shall we do with the time? I'm sure we'll think of loads of things.

Hope you all had a good weekend too.