Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Years Eve's

We went to London for New years eve.
We stayed with an old friend of mine from Primary school, Prue, who rang me recently out of the blue & asked us down. Wowee kazowee it was amazing.
Prue works as a barrister in the middle of the most hallowed of Halls....the Inns of the Middle Temple.From Wikipedia...."The Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English bar as barristers. (The others are the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn.) "
'The Halls', where you have to dine seven times before you can become a barrister are so atmospheric. We were lucky to get in, Prue knew the man on the door, there was no one else there.
It is near the Royal Courts of Justice, within the City of London."The beautiful lantern that hangs in the hallway. The image of the lamb carrying the Knights standard was everywhere.
A "Parliament hinge". (Well Richard is a carpenter.)
Elizabeth the first.This was the headquarters of the Knights Templar in the 13th century. Here we are outside the ancient Temple Church...It was like being in the middle of a film. The Da vinci code or Harry Potter or Shakespeare in love, or Bridget Jones diary. Here's a photo of Richard & I coming out of the doors that Renee Zelweger & Hugh Grant come out of in the 2nd film, 'The edge of reason'.

After exploring Middle Temple we went off to see the Velazquez exhibition (on Heather's recommendation, thanks Heather) at the National gallery.It was sensational. I remembered that he had painted a lot of the Spanish court but I'd completely forgotten he'd painted the 'Rokeby Venus', one of the very few nudes surviving the Spanish inquisition & its censorship. So beautiful in real life. She has the most amazing figure and you can almost touch her skin.
After the exhibition, we were starving so Prue guided us to the oldest restaurant in London ...Rules I had no idea it was so famous..we had the seat under the portrait of Maggie Thatcher. Here's a photo from their website

I ate smoked salmon with soda bread, capers & finely chopped shallots & then golden treacle sponge pudding with warm vanilla custard, yum yum yum. Richard had some yummy lobstery thing & then sticky toffee pudding. It was so festive in there & sparkling with Christmas baubles & greenery. So nice on a cold winters afternoon.
The next day was New Years eve. We went for a huge walk along the Thames. Over the amazing Hammersmith bridge.

We went out to dinner at a fab French restaurant in Chelsea called the Brasserie. Great food but very loud. We were so full from our late lunch that I could hardly eat anything, what a terrible waste. We left early as it became unbearably noisy & went with Prue's delightful friend Richard back into the city to catch the fireworks at the embankment on the river. We just made it in time.
Four minutes to midnight with a view of Big Ben in the distance. At last the crowd quieted & we could hear the mighty bells doing their stuff. The crowd noise came in a huge wave on the end of the bells & rockets came shooting off The Eye as we stood & watched.
(Not my picture but one taken by James O Jenkins from this website)
I have never been so excited in all my life. Here we were watching one of the most amazing firework displays in the whole world. I was jumping up & down whooping with delight. Afterwards we went back into the hallowed Halls in the Middle temple where Richard lives & drank champagne as he played violin to us.
We caught the FREE tube home at 3.30 AM with a host of other happy revelers. Boy what a night.


Anonymous said...

Hey Jo,
Sally and Augusta here checking out your blog.
Hope you are well.

JoeyJoJo said...

Yay...Sally & Augusta. What a great and lovely surprise. xxxxxx.
Happy New Year.

kelly said...

Wow! I am so jealous. While I laid low in the house, you are out whooping it up! It all sounds so fun and delicious.

Happy New Year to yourself and the wonderful Ricardo.


cheekeemonkee said...

we did think about you a lot Kelly and just bye the bye I think Joey outdoes Venus. H N Y to you tooxxx

skips said...

Wow! Looks fantastic. I spent new years over your side of melbourne, at the Espy. So hot all night we had to stay out on the tiny cramped balcony.