Tag Archives: museum

Beyond the Brotherhood

So far 2020 has been chock full of culture for us, we’ve fitted in two museum visits and a movie trip and the month is not over yet.

First Saturday of January we took the train into the New Forest to see an exhibit at the St. Barbe Museum and Gallery in Lymington. The idea behind the exhibition was what would Romantic art look like today, and while it was a mixed bag there were artists and pieces I liked a great deal. Primarily we were there to see a big intricate piece by local Southampton artist Greg Gilbert, who we first found at the local museum here. We also had breakfast at Hoxton, visited every single charity shop (I found a Hario Jumping Leaf teapot), and had a lovely lunch at Lemana.

The next weekend John’s parents visited and was beer, Costco, and boardgames mostly. They kindly brought the things we hadn’t wanted to lug home after Xmas, so I now have a light box and a paper trimmer, amongst other things. Oh, and a hammer drill!

Finally las weekend we went to our local Southampton City Gallery for an exhibition called Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy, which is basically what it says on the tin. It had a wonderful range; the first section includes a wide range of pieces and types of art, from big familiar pieces to illustrations, sketches, and ceramics. I was delighted to see ‘Vanity’ by Frank Cadogan Cowper, which is just beautiful up close. The exhibitions then goes on to show the legacy in later art and illustration, up to and including recent and contemporary fantasy art, including Brian Froud and Alan Lee. It wraps up at the end of the month here but then moves on to the Russell-Cotes Gallery in Bournemouth, whose collection is the source of a lot of the major pieces in the exhibit.

All that, and we even made it to the movies for once, to see Jojo Rabbit, which I really loved. I expected the humour, but not the emotional depth necessarily, or not on that level. I basically cried nonstop the last ten minutes. Waititi is doing his own things, but there was a lot of Vonnegut in there, and not a little Dr. Strangelove… it also made me want to watch the original version of To Be or Not to Be. I’m going to be thinking about this one for a while.

Turkey and burritos

On the weekend of the 23rd, we had an early Thanksgiving with John’s parents, George and Kathryn. I had made two practice pumpkin pies with the Halloween jack-o-lantern and although the third attempt was with canned pumpkin I was pretty pleased with the results. John’s turkey was very good indeed, and John got to open some early birthday presents, so a good time was hopefully had by all.

On Thanksgiving itself we were on a flight to San Francisco. We lucked out and had a row to ourselves, we watched the first ten minutes of Hustle, which was disappointing, How to Train Your Dragon 3, which was okay, and The Lego Movie 2 with I enjoyed more than expected. I then watched the first half or so of Ma, which felt like a lost opportunity.

9pm on Thanksgiving is not the best time to find dinner, but luckily Taraval had several options. We had a truly reviving hot and sour soup, plus a substantial set menu at 8 Immortals, and then walked to Palle’s for good company, cat cuddles, and sleep.

Over the next week we did a bit of shopping to take advantage of the sales, some minimal touristing, but mainly tried to fit in as many visits with friends as possible; we started Friday in Berkeley and then headed down to San Jose for a few days with Bryan and Mette and their adorable new kittens Heyes and Curry. The weather was truly terrible but we did manage a trip into town for Christmas in the Park.

Monday was back up to the city for lunch with Garcia at Super Duper burger followed by beer and pizza in the evening with Jade, Erik, and Joe Price at Cellarmaker in the Mission. Tuesday was John’s actual birthday so we got chicken and waffles at Lois the Pie Queen in Oakland, with key lime pie for dessert. We walked over to Emeryville for a bit of shopping and to see Knives Out, which was really great. And for dinner we met up with Anthony for more pizza and beer at Drake’s in Oakland. We ended with ice cream at the Humphrey Slocum stand outside, and barring Deb’s absence due to work it was pretty much the perfect evening.

Wednesday was our quiet day, so we stayed in the Sunset. Still, that involved breakfast at the Tennessee Grill, a long walk to collect my Xmas present from John, followed by coffee at The Beanery on 9th and Irving, a long walk back to Parkside with a stop at The Sunset Reservoir Brewery which had a lovely cucumber Gose, and we tasted a really nice chilli liqueur. The quiet day ended with burritos from EBX and a rewatching of Hot Fuzz.

Thursday we spent the morning running separate errands, I stopped by Borderlands, which is still looking great, then headed to the Haight to see Steve. We had beers, comfort food at Orphan Andy’s, more beer at Noc Noc’s, and watched the Harry Styles episode of SNL. Then Joe Price picked us up a traditional nightime drive through the Bay’s beauty spots.

On the drive back along Park Presidio we had noticed a big stately white building. I looked it up and it turns out it’s the home of the Internet Archive, at they do tours on the first Friday of each month. So on Friday that was our first bit of proper touristing, it was pretty neat and inspiring. For the evening we went south for excellent Spanish food with Leigh Anne and Leo at Iberia in Belmont, followed by cat play time with their lovely, fluffy new kitten.

And then it was my last day, we had a big breakfast at the grill, quality cat time with Harold, then suffered a replacement bus due to flooding in the West Portal tunnel in order to hit Ghirardelli for a decadent ice cream lunch. Santacon stragglers, holiday lights, and shopping crowds made me feel nostalgic and it was a nice way to end my trip.

Treats, mostly

Hot damn, it’s almost Halloween! (Guess who forgot to post her draft!?)

Inktober got rudely shoved aside so I could get art ready for World Fantasy. John helpfully worked around me as I buckled down and spent most of the month working on that, and I’m reasonably happy with the results. Next up is Novacon, which I’ll do regular 2D pieces for, as much for the variety as for the feeling that November isn’t really folding fan season.

We managed to get some fun in before and after I disappeared into all-fans-all-the-time; firstly we went up to Bristol to visit John’s friend Tony for the weekend. It was a nice weekend, a bit rainy but not too bad, and we played some boardgames in between exploring the city. We started off strong with a  burger at Three Brothers Burgers and a wander through the market, then went up to the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, which has my second favourite version of La Belle Dame Sans Merci, by Frank Dicksee. There is a bunch of other cool stuff there, ranging from local history (lots of lovely glass) to an Ai Wei Wei piece. On the Sunday we had breakfast at a place called Boston Tea Party, which for some reason really reminded me of the places I used to get breakfast back in the nineties in Lower Haight. We did some more wandering and saw the statue to Cary Grant, a Banksy, and the waterfront.

The next two weeks are a fugue of course, but then I packed up the box to ship off and I was free! And just in time too, because it was Tobes visit weekend. His plane was delayed, but finally arrived late morning. We fed him some espresso and then started an epic beer crawl through Southampton. We aimed for Unity to start but it was raining and there are two pubs on the way, so we stopped at the South Western and the Junction Inn before braving the walk along the river to get to Unity. The last bit was a bit muddy but we managed it and rewarded ourselves with pork bao buns from the Demaine Artisan food truck outside, plus of course beer. Out next stop was across the Itchen for a half pint at Paddle and Peel, followed by one last drink at the Butcher’s Hook before going home to dry our socks, have a coffee, and catch the train to Woolston where we crammed into Olaf’s Tun and ordered pizzas from Spitfire up the street.  

All of which was a prelude to the Woolston Craft Beer Festival! We didn’t know what to expect, Woolston is not large and it was in the local hall. But it was well supplied and busy, and we had a lovely few hours happily trying out beers, plus Bark and Brisket were there serving food so we had a late dinner of pork baps.

Weekends!

The last few weekends we’ve stayed in Southampton, but managed to have nice mini-adventures regardless.

The last weekend in August Michael came over and we wandered across the bridge to Riverside Park and Trifest, a new crowdsourced neighbourhood festival. We arrived pretty late in the day, so we missed the food, and it was pretty small, but for a first year crowdsourced event it was solid, with musicians all day and some local arts and crafts, as well as a couple of local charitable organizations. I bought some upcycled jewellery from Sylvie Leost and some duck feed from a charity. Unity had a beer stand, so we had a half pint each and enjoyed talking to a friendly but confused drunk guy.

After the festival, we walked along the river down to the Unity Tap room to enjoy more beer and some very good food from Hibiscus Mexican Kitchen. Turns out the tap room now has a different food truck on site every Saturday! We walked back, hoping to feed some ducks on the way, but saw no waterfowl at all due to the low tide. The rest of the weekend was board games and chillin.

Then last weekend Anna and Hogg came down from London to visit for the weekend! We saw Criminal Ornamentation at the City Arts Gallery, which was excellent. I also finally had a chance to have a look at the Perseus Series by Burne-Jones, which had been on loan last time I was there.

We got breakfast at La Baronia and then walked into town for donuts and and coffee, and then walked back home along the river, this time there swans but I had no food for them. We spent the rest of the afternoon fighting unspeakable horrors in Arkham and eating delicious brownies cooked up by Anna. Then we ordered Nigerian delivery from Afritopia, the menu stumped us at first since most things were labeled as “soup”, but Anna helped puzzle some things out and we ended up with a really delicious meal.

On Sunday I made pancakes for breakfast and we played with the PSVR set that they had brought down with them, I had skipped my turn the night before because I am entirely useless at flying games, but this time it was Beat Saber, which is much more my speed. I enjoyed it immensely, though I don’t know if I’d want to spend that much money on the hardware. Though I do see No Man’s Sky is an option…. hmmm.

We finished off the visit with a massive lunch at 7bone (do they do any other kind?) and enjoyed the sunshine on the walk home. John popped into Argos for a sorely needed new wifi router, and once Anna and Hogg left for their train home he promptly went to work setting it up while I finished my chores for the weekend.

By evening we were still full from lunch, and too tired to do much more than veg, so we watched This Is Spinal Tap, enjoyed the speedy new wifi, and got to bed at a sensible hour for once.

After Worldcon

After Worldcon we’d booked a late flight, so we’d be able to relax and play tourist. We had optimistically gotten 10:30am tickets for the Book of Kells, thinking that would give us time for a little lie in and breakfast. Of course, we had stayed late at the Dead Dog, so we still had to pack, check out of the AirBnB, and find a place to store out luggage! We managed by choosing to consider donuts as out breakfast while walking over to Trinity College.

We’d been warned that The Book of Kells exhibit would be crowded, and it was. The layout cleverly funnels the crowd so that you get a good overview of the history and the art form before you get to the actual book. The best item by far though is a medieval poem about Pangur Bán the cat, I dearly wanted a copy but the gift shop sadly had none. The Book itself is displayed in two volumes (the original tome having been rebound into four volumes) one open to text and the other to illuminations. 

After the room with the book you are funnelled up some stairs, where there hangs a beautiful linen set by Greg Whelan.

And then you enter the Long Room, which is the Platonic ideal of library basically, famously not the inspiration for the Jedi Library according to Lucasfilm’s lawyers. It smelled exactly like a room full of ancient and important books should smell, and it even full of people it was wonderful. It must be practically a religious experience to be in there when it’s empty.

It was starting to drizzle when we got out, and we were starving, so we walked back for one last meal at Dollard’s. Even sober the pizza was great, and I got to try Pomegrante San Pellegrino which I hadn’t seen before. We then made our way to Christ Church Cathedral, mostly because it was nearby. We booked a tour, which allows you to go up the bell tower and ring the bell! The tour guide was a character and had a smooth patter peppered with atrocious puns, so it was worth it anyway, but I highly recommend ringing a church bell if you ever get a chance. The tour ended in the crypt, which is huge and contains the gift shop as well as some treasures, plus a display of costumes from The Tudors. The tour guide endeared himself to me by pointing out the costume worn by Peter O’Toole by declaring him the greatest actor Ireland ever produced. Damn straight tour guide, damn straight.

We stepped back out into rain, which typical of the time we were there looked torrential but was actually not too bad once you were under it. We’d arranged to meet up with Liz, whose flight was also in the evening and whose suitcase was stored at the same place. She was there getting her stuff when we walked in and we got to hang out on the ride to the airport and for a little while in the food court before it was time for her to head over to the other terminal.

The convention was now truly over, but we did manage to squeeze a hot chocolate as one final treat before leaving Dublin.