2011 here we go….

Here’s hoping 2011 is a great year for you all, for me and for London! I spent new year in Dartmouth, Devon which I highly recommend tho’ I was very jealous to read that the massive Thames fireworks were rated higher than the Sydney ones which are always considered the best NYE ones in the world – well done London!


So what’s been happening so far this year? Well… ballet, mass knitting (yes!), a brilliant new perspective on St Paul’s cathedral, and seeing Jean Cocteau in Leicester Square (yes! -again)

Let’s start with St Paul’s as there are some cracking photos. A new shopping centre has opened up just next to this great church called One New Change and they have a roof top viewing terrace as well as a glass lift. You can see St Paul’s from a whole lot of new angles and admire more of its beauty and grandeur. The glass lift rushes you up to the 6th floor and is not for those who quake at the thought of heights but the views on the way up (see photo) and when you get there are amazing. St Paul’s is one of London’s great iconic sights and it’s good to see if from a different angle. Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant Barbarcoa is ideally placed for views but it was so sunny this weekend that they had to pull the blinds down to save lunchers from the dazzle! One New Change is on Cheapside and Cheap was another word for market so I guess a shopping centre carries on that medieval tradition for the area and was designed by Jean Nouvel who created the 2010 Serpentine Gallery outdoor installation – busy man. You can also see one photo of the Shard – soon to be the tallest building in Europe I hear and it’s growing really fast now.



The ballet we were lucky enough to get tickets for was a sell out performance of Cinderella by Matthew Bourne at Sadler’s Wells. It was reset in the Second World War with contemporary dress, a Prokoviev score, which was itself written during the Second World War, and was performed by Sadler’s Wells own resident company New Adventures. The sets were evocative of the blitz and featured the bombed out Cafe de Paris for the famous ball (as in ‘you shall go to the ball Cinderella’). Here Cinderella wore the most sparkling dress and shoes possible and danced until midnight with her RAF pilot as the Prince. The haunting sound effects gave us sirens, bombs and songs evocative of the era. Some found that it was not involving enough but I loved the imagination and vision but agreed that some of the story lines were a bit confusing for example strange hospital scenes when the step mother tries to kill Cinderella – strange indeed..


So, what’s this about knitting? There is a group called Stitch London although they used to be called Stitch and Bitch – what a great name! Groups of people gather and knit and chat, which seems a cheery idea to me. The event I went to was their 5th birthday held in the Royal Festival Hall and as we wondered around looking for the group we suddenly saw a huge gang of people all chatting loudly while clicking away with the needles. We settled in and got knitting – well I didn’t as I hadn’t tried since about age 8 so was lucky that Laura had kindly agreed to show me how. Have a look at us both busily knitting, my piece being rather smaller than all the others! They have smaller events all the time all over London and there was a great friendly atmosphere between regulars but they were very welcoming to new comers too. More at http://www.stitchldn.com/

Lastly, what’s Jean Cocteau doing in Leicester Square? Well, in 1959 he spent 3 weeks making beautiful murals for the Notre Dame de France church in Leicester Place. The church was almost completely destroyed by a Second World War bomb (bit of a theme for this blogpost) and was rebuilt in the 1950s including a commission for a set of murals by Jean Cocteau which are simple and elegant. I don’t usually take pictures in churches so here’s a link instead: www.shadyoldlady.com/location.php?loc=123 (their own site http://www.notredamechurch.co.uk/ isn’t working right now) One sad sight was the number of people sleeping in the pews, the church being a warm dry place for those who sadly have to sleep rough, especially in this cold winter. At least Notre Dame lets them in.

Bye for now