Friday, 25 March 2022

In training

With just one month to go before my 90 mile long distance walk around Cornwall I am desperate to increase my stamina. Covid has put me way behind as well as other family commitments. The weather was absolutely beautiful today with blue skies and warm temperatures. since breaking my foot last summer I am reluctant to head off on my own into the countryside. I therefore decided to walk round a local nature reserve. It is a 2,5 mile circular walk and so I went round three times. At last I have done more than the 5 ml walks I've been doing so far.

It was beautiful and reasonable quiet with not too many dog walkers.
It took me 2hrs 15 min and the birdsong never stopped. I could hear the tap tapping of woodpeckers, the screeching of the parakeets and cooing of the wood pidgeons. Robins, blackbirds and blue tits were everywhere. There were numerous other woodland birds that I could hear but not recognise but it all added to a wonderful background of birdsong.

It was a fabulous walk. I just need to increase the mileage and do it every day! The furthest I will be walking in one day will be 15 miles so fingers crossed I will be fit enough by then. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Spring is here

We are enjoying warm and sunny weather at the moment and things have more or less returned to normal. The u3a (University of the 3rd Age) rambling group started its walks again last October. I have regularly led walks for them for a few years now through the Kent countryside. I decided that this year I would also lead some London walks based on my 'Above the Underground' posts. These are proving very popular and I am enjoying returning to some of my favourite walks from tube stations. 

Next month I will be going on a long distant walk. Some of you might remember my annual long distant walks with a group of five friends. Well our last one was in 2019 when we walked about 90 miles of the South West Coast path. A walk around Norfolk had to be cancelled in 2020 and again in 2021. With just four weeks to go it looks as though we should be able to embark upon our 2022 adventure following the coast of Norfolk. Three years on, none of us are as fit as we were in 2019. I am way behind with my training schedule as I picked up Covid a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't that bad but did prevent me from going out to do some long walks. I am back to normal now and need to do some daily long walks. 

Last month my daughter and myself went for a very special meal to celebrate her birthday. We went to Adam Handling's restaurant 'Frog' in Covent Garden. The meal was exceptional as well as being an incredible experience. We had booked the restaurant months in advance which was just as well as he was awarded a Michelin star just a couple of weeks before we visited and I hear it is very difficult to get a booking now. 
We were fortunate to be able to chat to Adam Handling after the meal.

We had the tasting menu which involved five courses. This was the first one and it was only afterwards that I wished I had kept the menu so I could remember the dishes. I forgot to take photos of all the courses but I will remember the meal for it being the best I have ever tasted. I'm not sure when we will have the opportunity of eating here again as it is expensive but for a very special occasion it was the perfect choice.
This was the first course 'the snacks' which was followed by a bread course with chicken butter and liver parfait. I know it doesn't sound great but believe me it was unbelievably delicious.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Van Gogh self portraits

 This week I went to the Courtauld Institute to see a small exhibition of self portraits by Van Gogh. The exhibition brought together half of the 35 known self portraits that he painted. All were done in the last four years of his life. I took some photos but am disappointed with the way they turned out and it wasn't until afterwards that I noticed I have a mark on the camera lens! Anyway I know some of my readers like to see a little something of the current art exhibitions in London, so I'll post them anyway. 


Eventhough I had seen many of these paintings before I enjoyed seeing them in the same room. It was a very interesting and enjoyable exhibition.

Friday, 4 March 2022

The Freud Museum


Sigmund Freud, his wife Martha and daughter Anna came to London as refugees from the Nazis. When the Nazi party came to power in 1933 in Germany, the works of Freud and other Jewish intellectuals were burnt in public. Austria was annexed by the Nazis in 1938 and later Sigmund Freud described his treatment: 'I saw the scientific society I had founded dissolved, our institutions destroyed, our printing press taken over by the invaders, the books I had published confiscated or reduced to pulp and my children expelled from their professions'.
The house in Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead,  was purchased by the Freuds' architect son Ernst in 1938. He made a number of alterations including knocking down a wall to create a combined library, study and consulting rooms downstairs.
Freud was an avid reader and transported over 1600 books to London, most of which are in this room.
When Sigmund Freud came here he was able to bring most of his belongings including his desk, couch, carpets, library, pictures and collection of antiquities. He recreated his unique working environment from Vienna to London. These rooms are still as they were when Freud lived and worked here. 

 Even the old bookshelves were re-assembled here. On arrival in England, despite his ill health, Freud continued to write and receive a few patients. It was here that he wrote his final books which were only published after his death. He died here on 23rd September 1939, three weeks after the Second World War had been declared.

This is the couch, possibly one of the most famous couches in the world. In his lifetime Freud treated over five hundred patients - most of them lay on this couch. Freud would sit in the green tub chair at the far end of the couch so that the patient could not see him.

The antiquities Sigmund Freud collected were integral to his work. To Freud, archaeology and psychoanalysis were closely connected. He explained his love for archaeology in that the psychoanalyst, like the archaeologist in his excavations, must uncover layer after layer of the patient's psyche to find the treasure.

Anna Freud (1895-1982) was a pioneer in child analysis and the study of child development. After leaving Vienna in 1938 she lived and worked in this house for over forty years. It was Anna's wish that the house should be become a museum devoted to the life and work of her father. The house opened as a museum in 1986.
This writing table was a present from Sigmund to his daughter Anna when she was 18 in an attempt to console her for being left out of her sister Sophie's wedding. Anna was away in Italy at the time and her father told her not to return for the wedding but to continue with her trip.

There are treasures and antiquities all over the house. I am amazed at how so many of Freud's
belongings were transported  to London just before the outbreak of World War 2 
Dali met with Freud in London and made some quick sketches but due to Freud's failing health Dali was unable to discuss his ideas about psychoanalysis with Freud.

Only Sigmund and Martha's daughter Anna and grandson W. Ernest pursued careers in psychoanalysis but many other descendants have made their mark on the world. Their grandson Lucien Freud was one of the 20th century's most famous artists. Clement Freud, another grandson, was a well known broadcaster and politician.