Saturday, November 19, 2005

My heart glazeth over

I was in London today to see the Samuel Palmer exhibition at the British Museum. (Notice the ".ac" extension. Nice). The exhibition was wonderful. There were some drawings of trees which competed for depth and silence with real trees. There was one of a willow which H said was the first she'd ever seen which succeeded in putting the tree into a stiff wind. And she was right. My favourite was a study of some cyprus in Italy which you could have put your hand straight into and out the other side into Narnia.

Dazed with the odd satiation that comes from spending time paying attention to beautiful things, we wandered out into the brilliant glare of Christmas-shopping season on Oxford Street. Of course, the right thing to say here was how dismally the garish displays of cheap tat paled against the noble beauty of the art of the soul. But nay, dear reader, I am as easily seduced by the wonders of the boutique section at Topshop! And oh, the wonders! Aladdin has nothing on this four-storeyed Cave of Cheap Couture. I coveted the tweed skirt with ruffled hem, the Victorian-style buttoned knee boots with stacked heel, and the obi-style tops with diamante detailing. And about eleventy-zillion other things. H and I had no desire to ruin our Topshop high by actually queueing up and buying anything, so we danced down the street to the fabulous solidity and Corinthian columns of Selfridges. Which, once you make it through the completely blinged-out handbag section milling with the kind of tourist who lives only for The Bag, is beyond the wildest cornucopial dreams of the modern girly consumer. So we consumed some Krispy Kreme from the food hall. Original glazed, ma bien sur.

I cannot go on. I have not even told you about the Arts and Crafts show on the top floor of Liberty, but I am becoming verklempt. Bless you, London, and all of your great gifts.

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