A happy day

March 16, 2010

A little post to celebrate my happy mother’s day with my girls. We went to a Secret Film Screening which is so hush-hush and embargoed that I can’t even write about it until next Monday! Thanks, lovely EnglishMum, who kindly passed on the invite. Don’t tell the film people, but I’m really hoping I won’t have forgotten all about it by next week. Slipping into teenage speak for a second, next Monday is, like, 400 million, trillion years away. I’m finding increasingly that if I don’t do things RIGHT NOW, this very instant, then I blissfully blank them out completely. But it was a great film so I’m sure it won’t slip right out of my head the moment I stop thinking about it ……. And you’ll remind me, won’t you?

Next, after our special secret film, we decided to go to the Van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy. Or rather, Child One and I decided this. Child One is getting more artistic by the day and, much to my joy, she is now keen on museums and galleries! I wish I could put this down to my years of dragging her reluctant little form to all the latest must-sees, but I think it’s just the sudden flipping of a switch in her brain. Anyway, the switch in Child Two’s brain is, as yet, resolutely unflipped and I was anxious about how she would fare in the long queue.

Just then there was one of those magical London moments. As we walked towards Piccadilly, I noticed that there was no traffic. Then music started up, then floats appeared as if out of nowhere and suddenly we were in the middle of a fully fledged St Patrick’s Day parade. I was wearing a green scarf, by chance, so everyone gave us a special wave. How lovely – and, best of all, because Piccadilly was closed off, there was only a twenty-minute wait at the RA. A customer service lady came up and tried to sell us a ‘Friends of RA’ membership, for £70, which I was seriously contemplating as Child Two expressed her boredom and frustration in a variety of ways, but when we came to pay I used my Barclays debit card and, to my astonishment, the ticket lady said that meant we were entitled to two free tickets and I only had to pay £4 for Child Two. What an amazing bargain! I don’t know whether this has been a closely guarded secret or whether, as usual, I am just way behind the times but thank you, Barclays. I almost feel guilty for moaning on about your services and I almost feel like taking one of my two purloined Barclays biros back to a branch. But not quite.

irish parade

I’m not quite sure what I felt about the exhibition itself. Child One loved it and was very inspired, particularly by the south of France canvases and the still lives. I’m not a huge lover of Van Gogh, I really quite dislike the Potato Eaters and find his early Dutch landscapes quite depressing. The letters were a revelation, though. From his brother, Theo, telling him to cheer up his palette of colours (thank you, Theo!! God, it really made a difference) to the often gorgeous tiny sketches he made, they were a window into a quirky and, of course, tortured soul. I found Van Gogh’s obsessiveness quite terrifying – the detailing of which pencils he wants Theo to send, the exact type of paper he’s using, even, on a broader scale, his batty determination to teach himself to paint and then to become a great painter, in the face of constant discouragement, all evidence of an insane degree of focus.  I suppose it’s a sort of voyeurism but I would be very interested in an exhibition which only charted his descent into madness – I don’t know whether this has ever been done or whether others would simply consider it distasteful. But I think there’s something fascinating about madness sparking such creativity. According to the RA show, in the last 70 days of his life, Van Gogh produced more than 70 canvases.

Luckily, Child Two got bored and dragged us away before I could depress myself too much with worrying over Van Gogh – definitely a lost cause – and soon we found ourselves in the Haagen Dazs shop, looking at unfeasibly large quantities of chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate sprinkles and, in my case, an austere cup of tea. And, ahem, a spoon that delved often into other people’s goodies.

A lovely day.

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  • Laura Driver March 16, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Have you been to see what I think you’ve been to see?

    • Dulwich Divorcee March 17, 2010 at 10:37 am

      Erm, that would sort of depend on what it is you think I’ve seen ….and I’m not allowed to give out even the teeniest tiniest wiggly-tailed clue …

  • Lynda March 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I went to an exhibition in Canberra last week of paintings on loan from Musee d’Orsay and amongst them was “Starry Night on the Rhone” and “Bedroom at Arles”. I could have looked at them for hours.I knew very little about Van Gogh so spent a bit of time on the internet when we came home and was amazed at how many paintings he did and how single minded he was. I would like to see an exhibition of his paintings as he descended into madness so there are two of us at least who are a bit voyeuristic!

    • Dulwich Divorcee March 17, 2010 at 10:43 am

      Hi Lynda, lovely to ‘see’ you! That exhibition sounds fantastic, that must be where all the canvases that aren’t in Piccadilly are hanging out! Thank goodness there are two of us wanting that madness exhibition, they’ll have to give in to us …. 🙂

  • geekymummy March 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Oh that sounds like such a lovely day. I so look forward to my children having opinions about art!

    • Dulwich Divorcee March 17, 2010 at 10:44 am

      Well, Geeky, it is a double-edged sword …for years, their opinion about art has been a very firm ‘no thank you’ 😉

  • Crystal Jigsaw March 17, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Was it warm enough for ice cream!! Sounds like you had a lovely day together.

    CJ xx

    • Dulwich Divorcee March 17, 2010 at 10:46 am

      No, it wasn’t really warm enough for ice cream – when is it ever in London? – but that certainly didn’t stop us! xx

  • Metropolitan Mum March 17, 2010 at 8:41 am

    See. That’s why moving OUT of London is just not going to happen. xx D

    • Dulwich Divorcee March 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

      I so agree, MM – just when you’re getting cross with London, it’ll throw you a lovely treat like the parade xx

  • suburbia March 17, 2010 at 10:26 am

    The best bit about being a mum (well one of them)is being able to steel other peoples food legitimately!

    • Dulwich Divorcee March 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

      With you there, Suburbia – though not sure how legitimate the girls think it is!

  • Linda March 20, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I could sit and read what you write for hours on end, just love it. xx
    Hope you enjoyed the film, whatever it was…hope to put your Sweden post up ASAP. xxx

  • Alcoholic Daze (Addy) March 21, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Will be back to catch up on what I’ve missed recently. All my blog friends have been busy writing lots and lots, so it’s taking me longer to read though!

    • Dulwich Divorcee March 30, 2010 at 3:19 am

      Hi Addy, so sorry to hear your news, big hug xx

  • Sara at Ready for Ten March 22, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Galleries can make for a brilliant day out, and all the better when they offer crayons, paper and crafting supplies (I think the Tates and the National Gallery does this). I agree with Metropolitan Mum — London offers a lot in this department!

    • Dulwich Divorcee March 30, 2010 at 3:20 am

      Hi Sara, thanks for stopping by – yes, galleries are brilliant now, I’m quite jealous of all the arty supplies that are handed out to little ones, would like to have a go myself 🙂