The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

London, City of Art and Culture...

You may remember a recent post when I spoke of London?

I complained that there seemed to be a lack of traditional 'Britishness' such as missing red telephone boxes and traditional old pubs.

Well, I am here to eat a little humble pie and take some of that back!

I usually go to London twice a year - not through choice but for various boring calendar events blah, blah, blah... Anyway, on those occasions I am always in a hurry and travel with tunnel vision.

But last week, Paul took me to London on a two day trip as a sort of up and coming birthday treat. He booked a hotel right in the heart of Soho, which is not an area I had really explored before. We didn't have anything specific planned and decided instead to just follow our noses.

The first thing that struck me in Soho was the abundance of red telephone boxes. The second was the fact that there were traditional old pubs on just about every corner! Perfect for people watching and boy, there is an interesting variety of people in that part of London ;0) 

As we made our way through the streets of Soho on foot, we passed a high rise building which had scaffolding all the way up to its roof. There was a man on each level of the scaffold and we found ourselves quite amused as they shouted up and down to each other in their loud cockney accents. I felt a little like I was watching a West End musical and half expected them to break in to song at any moment!

Eventually we found ourselves in Chinatown. This is somewhere else I'd never been so we decided to stop for a Chinese lunch.

Next we made our way to the South Bank. We were planning to have a go on the Millennium Wheel but it was so busy that we decided we would do that another time.

Still, walking along the Thames was quite entertaining on its own.
There were so many people dressed up as various characters and doing strange things in exchange for coins.

At one point I got grabbed from behind by a man with a knife - thankfully a plastic one and he was just pretending.

It's a jolly good thing I don't have a heart condition though ;0) 

 Artists at work...

  ...This is the view he was painting


 ...Hmm... Artists? 
Those look suspiciously like builders to me!

I couldn't guess what this man was creating...


 And this is who we would turn to if we were in trouble, lol!

No need to explain what this building is...

This horse is made entirely of shredded and
woven beer cans...

 This is a legal graffiti park...


Some of the art was amazing!

Click the pillar for a bigger view...

During the ten miles that we walked that day, we came across no end of fascinating little streets and gallery's, which of course we had to explore :0)


 And here's Paul being dragged in to yet another art gallery...


 There were some fascinating treasures inside...


 With equally fascinating price tags!!!


                                ...Yes, it really does say £7,500.00!

I think this was inspired by Picasso :0)

 This banana sculpture is made of porcelain...

We also visited the Tate Modern, just for a giggle. There is a Damien Hirst exhibition there at the moment  and whilst I have no interest in his butchery, we did get to see his £20,000,000 diamond skull, which I believe is his latest and most expensive piece of work.

It was in a room so dark that we had to hold on to each other just so we didn't get lost! When we got inside, we found ourselves gazing at the skull just a few inches away inside a glass case beneath a spot light. It was blindingly bright! What a shame we weren't aloud to take a photograph :0(

After that, we had a little look around the rest of the Gallery.

We came across some Picasso paintings which I was really pleased to see, amongst some other exhibits which we didn't really understand at all.

You can imagine my husband. He spent most of the time scratching his head!


 ...And I think the words he spoke were, "What the???"

...Hmm.. Art? Or just plain cruelty?

Who actually likes to look at this stuff???

The following day, suitably full up with tea and a croissant, we made our way to Covent Garden where there was a huge food market going on in the street.

We were beckoned over to one of the stalls by two African ladies dressed in stunning orange outfits, who offered us a taster of the food that they were cooking. It was 'blow your head off' food, but extremely tasty!

As we thanked the ladies and wandered off, another lady chased after us and told us that she worked for Sky 1. She said that they had filmed Paul and I trying the food for a new show called 'Food to Market'. We hadn't even realised!
She asked us if we would mind signing something to say they could use the footage. Hmm.. okay I said, but I wished I had had my roots done first, lol!

The view over Covent Garden in the evening...

Anyway, during our trip we learned to appreciate London and all of it's culture.
But this is where I was when I would normally have been creating my own artwork!

I did think about taking my sketchbook, but as much as Paul wouldn't have minded, I find it much easier to sketch alone, so I don't have to think about time. 
But I hope you enjoyed sharing some of my London trip with me.

And if you do ever visit London yourself, Covent Garden, The South Bank and Soho are a must see experience!
Wow! What an unusually EPIC post!!!

Anyway, I promise I'll be back soon with some of my own artwork  :0)





  1. That looks like the funnest time! What a good guy you have to take you to all those great places. :) And i'm with Paul, scratching my head and saying, "What the???"

    SO glad you got to get away for this fun trip. :)

  2. P.S. did the cockney accent speaking people say "Guvnah?" I've always wanted to hear someone really say that!!

    1. Actually Crystal, believe it or not, yes one of them really did say that quite a few times, lol! And I'm not just saying that either :0)

  3. Lovely to see the pictures of your trip!

  4. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this walk with you Sandra. Thanks so much for sharing it .. It's a place that I have always wanted to visit.. Barbra Joan

    1. Well I really hope you do that one day Barbra! And I could meet you there :0))

  5. Blimey, Guvvna! Pity you didn't do the blooming revolving 'Apples & Pears' (Stairs - London Eye) whilst you were 'up the smoke' (London)! Fancy eating the African Ladies Ruby Murray (Curry) without a cuppa Rosey Lee (tea) to wash it down!! I love cockney Rhyming slang

    Totally brilliant post, Sandra!

    I come from this neck of the woods, I grew up on an Island in the Thames Estuary. Get me excited and the façade slips aside and I become quite cockney. Welsh cockney is a rare animal!

    We are going, "Darn the Smoke" (down to London) for my granddaughter's 21st birthday in 2 weeks time. We are going to see the stage shows, 'Phantom of the Opera" (again), and, "Shrek".

    I really enjoyed this post, Sandra ... you'te rather good at this travelogue stuff

    1. John, I giggled all the way through your comment! Welsh cockney? That must sound quite amusing!
      My brother in law moved down from London last year. He has really embraced the country life, but still has a strong cockney accent! He often uses cockney rhyming slang and words like Guvna! It's endearing really! I am sure there is a story behind how cockney rhyming slang came about, but I can't remember what it is. I think it was developed as a way of saying something without being understood by the wrong people? Well if anyone knows, I'm fairly sure that you will! Maybe you could remind me!
      Enjoy your own trip darn the smoke!! :0)

  6. The watercolour cocktail was awesome... great skills... and then this post was just bursting with wonderful... I would think everywhere would be awash with brit fever with the jubilee and olympics coming up, and I loved sharing in your trip with you... looks as though you had a great time...looking forward to seeing if it inspires you...xx

    1. Thank you Tracey :0)
      Hmm... London is probably not somewhere I would want to be while the Olympics are actually on! But the lead up to it is fabulous!

  7. J'ai passé un excellent moment en me promenant avec vous à travers vos photos et vos mots... une magnifique publication qui m'a replongée quelques années en arrière, à l'époque où je me rendais souvent à Londres. J'ai beaucoup aimé errer dans les quartiers que vous nous montrez...
    gros bisous à vous, j'ai hâte de voir vos prochaines peintures.

    1. Merci beaucoup. Je suis tellement heureux que vous ayez apprécié le voyage dans le passé!
      J'ai été une fois à Paris, mais j'étais très jeune. J'aimerais revenir en arrière et visiter un jour! : 0)

  8. I loved this post, Sandra!!! Thanks for the tour. I love the colors of these buildings..One was prettier than the next. Sounds like you had an amazing time. I found it funny when you said your hubby was dragged in to yet another Art Gallery.!! When I go away, my husband cringes when we pass a gallery since he knows I drag him in as well.!!

    1. Thank you Hilda. My husband is used to it now, lol! I'm beginning to think he actually enjoys looking at the art - not that he would admit it ;0)
      Those streets were so pretty and I never expected to find places like that :0)

  9. what a great post! i have to say that after a not enjoyable experience of living there when i was 21 i have never liked London and it isnt somewhere i would rush back to. however, the wonderful photos you took would make me reconsider! those wee streets abd alleyways look like some fabulous European city break destination rather than the London I have in my head. your trip looks like you took in exactly the kind of things i would like to see. how exciting that you're going to be on TV! when's it on?
    where they real birds with the artows through them? hmm, animal cruelty as art, i don't think so.
    thanks for sharing your trip with us!

    1. Like you Nicola, I usually hate London and all of the hustle and bustle that goes with it. I'm one of those people that needs space around me and lots of it! So, I avoid going at all costs usually. But when Paul booked this trip, we went to all the places we had never been and were so surprised at how quaint some of the areas were - not the London I know at all!
      Those birds were real, yes, though stuffed. I have never understood this sort of thing as art at all. In my view, if an Artist has to shock someone in order to get the attention of the crazy art world we are all a part of, then they must be lacking in other areas! Aside from that it's all just, well, absolute complete and utter b*****ks, isn't it?? :0)

  10. Great vacation!! I never see London, but I hope I'll visit this city a day...have a good day, Arianna!

    1. Thank you Arianna! I hope you do - but still, don't miss out on the countyside :0)

  11. Hi Sandra. London is a fabulous place, with lots to see and do besides the obvious sites. We have done many West End shows and usually stay overnight in the Kensington/Bayswater area, quite close to Hyde Park. We also so night trips to the O2 or Wembley for big name gigs, We always try to get to Covent Garden and we love to just walk along the South Bank. Chinatown is the best place to eat - if you like the food of course. Apparently Camden Market is the hip and happening place now for the youngsters, but I leave that for girly only trips - I'm not a great fan of shopping.
    Well done Paul for enduring the art. I saw some of Ms Emin's 'pieces' and worse still one of her pencil sketches in the Tate and my reaction was very similar, perhaps a little more Anglo Saxon! Super post, thanks for sharing - and the roots look fine :)

  12. lol, thank you Michael! I saw the pencil sketch you are refering to on my last visit before this one. I just couldn't believe it was on a Gallery wall! The gallery owner who has just signed me on was talking about her work to me the other day. He said that he's yet to see any evidence that she can actually draw! It seems that 'the un-made bed' was all it took to throw her in to the art world. Hmm, but don't we all produce one of those every night? It really is a head scratcher! It's probably not a good thing for me to air my views like this because each to their own. Its just not for me :0)

  13. I was thoroghly entertained by this post. I really could see London through your eyes. I really liked the cop. LOL..
    Thak you for this EPIC post. :)

    1. Thank you Prabal.
      I thought the police lady was really ammusing too. They stood there quite seriously as though she normally dressed like that whilst on duty! :0)

  14. Thanks for the photo tour of London as seen thru yours and Paul's eyes, especially the galleries! Awesome! I was there two years ago this month but did not get to see hardly any of these sights.

    1. Thanks so much Kay for dropping by! I wonder what bought you to London and what you saw? There are Galleries everywhere in London, so that was lovely for me! Sadly not many fishing tackle shops around for Paul though, lol!

  15. Well, that brought back some memories. I used to work on the South Bank, near Gabriel's Wharf. Our firm used to supply a coach each lunchtime to take us over to Covent Garden - I recognised some of Seven Dials in your pics :)
    Glad you enjoyed your time there.
    As for boundary pushing art, the politest thing to say is there seems to be to be a huge element of Emperor's new clothes about the whole shebang, with no-one prepared to shout "nekkid!"

    1. Pat you are SO right! What a great desicription of your own thoughts on the subject! Although I enjoyed my visit, I must admit that the idea of being there every day isn't appealing! Too crowded for me. Maybe that's why you live in the country nowadays? I'm glad my post brought back some memories :0)

  16. I can't thank you enough for this post Sandra. When my daughter was born 34 years ago she was rushed to Gt. Ormond Street Hospital. During her childhood and teenage years she was regularly back in London at one or other of the hospitals. Our memories and recollections of London have been badly tainted by those experiences and I used to think I'd be very happy if I never saw the place again. HOWEVER, this post has opened my eyes to the 'other' side of London and I think a trip there would be a nice thing to do now. Thank you. ;-)

    1. Hi John. Oh how awful that must have been for all of you. I hope that she is ok now. I can imagine that with all of those hospital visits that's the last place you want to be! My visits to London are usually very mundane and unpleasant (though can't possible compare to your own experiences). And so the idea of a trip for the sake of it was an odd one. But - I am glad we did because I never have the time to visit and enjoy these places. It was good that we hadn't planned anywhere specific too because we had all the time in the world to explore. There is a very 'British' feel to 'some' parts of London and there is an abundance of culture to be enjoyed. You just have to go there without the tunnel vision that we tend to develope!

  17. This was a nice and very enjoyable post, i love those pictures, i have never seen anything like this.

  18. Hello Sandra,
    excellent post. Beautiful pictures!
    A big hug

  19. ...sounds like you were spoilt with your b'day trip in london sandra .. i lived and worked in london before we moved to italy might like this very special red telephone box just opened ..happy painting and happy b'day

    1. Ooh, thank you Jane!I'm off to look right now :0)

  20. Oh, I love London. I've spent a week or two there every summer for the last 6 years, and so many of the places in your photographs are among my favourite spots there. I always stay in Russell Square area, I love it there (and there are red phone boxed too :)). I'll be going there again in 4 week's time, but I think I'll give the Damien Hirst exhibition a miss.

    1. Oh wow! So where are you from? One day perhaps our paths might even cross! You have a lovely stay and thanks for a lovely comment :0)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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