… My parka is out. The Christmas tree is up. I declare Autumn over.
It’s been quite a busy time my household. Ramona is growing and I am growing as a parent. As a mother. I hope…
Here is my seasonal round-up.
S E P T E M B E R
September brought Open House weekend in London. Bravely, hubby and I decided to take a tour around the beloved Highpoint with our ‘enthusiastic’ toddler. The tour was given by a resident of the building who was extremely knowledgeable and who also looked as though she belonged in a Wes Anderson film.
The tour took us around Highpoint One and Two and included a look at two private apartments (one of them belonging to the aforementioned tour guide).
Ramona was occupied with climbing some expensive Eames furniture and trying to suck rainwater from a small hole in a drain (because obviously we only provide her with the clean, fresh water that she doesn’t like). And quite honestly, it was HELL. (It was in fact a buildup to a period of struggles with Ramona who had developed that special selective hearing ailment and the ability to scream “nooooo”, stamp her feet and throw a tantrum at everything I asked her to do/not do.)
For those of you who don’t know about Highpoint One and Two, they are Grade I listed apartment block, designed by the architect Lubetkin and built in 1935 and 1938 respectively. Highpoint is situated in Highgate, North London and is a work of modernist beauty. The private gardens, tennis courts and outdoor heated swimming pool will make you envious.
Here are some pictures from the day (out of respect for the residents, there are no pictures of the interiors of the apartments).
The tour took over an hour and for most of it I was chasing Ramona, trying my hardest to ensure she wasn’t ruining it for the other attendees and of course prepared to leave the group if she became too out of hand. The guide (and resident) was engaging and obviously a massive fan of her abode.
We deserved a massive pint of wine afterwards and nipped across the road for a swift one before heading home.
Between visiting Highpoint and awaiting Ben Wheatley’s new film High-Rise (based on the JG Ballard book of the same name), I felt the need to do a bit of rereading.
O C T O B E R
Ai Weiwei @ Royal Academy of Arts
We are now in the full-throws of toddler tantrum season but I had prearranged to meet a dear old school friend and her young daughter for the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the RA. We had hoped that going mid week at mid morning it wouldn’t be so busy, therefore making it less of an excruciating experience with the babes. Gah. It was rammed.
Despite not being completely blown away by the works on exhibit, I was glad/not so glad to see that Ramona wanted to interact with it. Upon entering the first room, within seconds she was attempting to climb the structures. Calls for calm and restraint were, of course, ignored. She was giving me the banana when I was trying to fold her back into her buggy. Eventually she took to just rolling around on the floor.
I should add that my friend’s child was extremely well behaved indeed!
For me, the most moving piece in the exhibition was this:
These metal rods were collected by Ai Weiwei. They are what remained of the buildings destroyed by the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. Each rod was straightened by the artist and a team of people. The board behind features the names of over 5000 children who were killed in the earthquake.
Here are some more photos from the exhibition:
After the exhibit, we grabbed some lunch and [stupidly] decided to take the kids to Hamleys. Ha. HA. HA. HA. That was fun. My 17 month old decided to scale the shelves in search of the perfect duck. And then empty the ball pool. And then wouldn’t get out – or let anybody in – the Lego phonebox.
After the ordeal was over we needed lady beer so searched the streets of Soho to find a venue that would accommodate us. Luckily we found a nice obliging bar. And by this point, Ramona had fallen asleep (wahoo!) AND it was happy hour (wahey!).
It was great catching up with Catherine and it was wonderful seeing her interact with her daughter, Violet. Having been diagnosed with postnatal depression, Catherine had been on a bit of a journey. Her and Violet appeared to be a tight-knit club and it was a joy to witness.
Catherine campaigns tirelessly, raising awareness for an organisation called PANDAS Foundation. They are a great charity who support families suffering from pre and postnatal depression.
Here’s a link to the PANDAS website and Facebook page if you’d like to know more about them and their work:
Sidenote: Catherine gets married this weekend and I wish her all the happiness in the world!
Part II of my seasonal round-up is coming soon.