Hello everyone! I’ve been so busy enjoying my life recently that I just haven’t had time to tell you about it. But it’s August Bank Holiday Monday, the rain is pouring down, so just the opportunity I need to catch up a little…
I’ve been retired for over a year now, but still have to get used to the idea that I no longer have any real demands on my time. I know that’s not the same for everyone - you might have caring responsibilities or dependants, or share the care of grandchildren, or still need or want to work.
But I really can do anything I want to, whenever I want to do it, and I’m finding it quite a heady experience
My new discovery has been “days out”. Take my recent trip to London. I often attend book-related events - I have a book review blog, and just love attending anything and everything to do with books and authors. The only snag is that the events are often in London, and (living near Leeds) it’s a very long way to go for the couple of hours of an event.
Outside Goldsboro Books
So when I decided to attend an evening event called Crime At The Court, hosted by Goldsboro Books, I decided to make a day of it - it’s actually sometimes cheaper to travel on the train mid-morning than later in the day.
There are some excellent websites out there with which to plan such things - I simply googled “things to do in London”’, and it opened up a vast range of possibilities
I finally settled on an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum called Shoes - Pleasure and Pain, and was able to book a ticket and a suitable time slot on line.
I arrived in London just before lunchtime, and - although I travelled there often when I was working - I still get a little thrill walking out of Kings Cross and navigating the underground. The exhibition was really excellent. Although I’m rarely out of flatties these days, comfort having won the day, I’ve always been rather fascinated by the world of fashion.
All types of shoes!
It’s one of those experiences for all the senses - complete with bits of technical wizardry and video installations which the large museums do so well these days. Downstairs was all purple curtains and luxury, seductive music playing in the background, with shoes spotlighted in display cabinets - over 250 of them, from ancient Egypt to Lady Gaga, through all the iconic creations from the great designers.
Every single shoe has a fascinating story attached - my only complaint was that the stories were on small cards that made reading a tad difficult in the dim lighting if you forget to take your distance glasses
It was divided into three sections - Transformation, Status and Seduction - and was so much more than just a display of shoes. The first section looked at shoes in myth and legend, the second at the statement shoes make about the status of the person who wears them, and the third - well, it was called “Seduction”, and was quite fascinating!
Upstairs was a bit starker, looking at how shoes are created - it was fascinating to see the lasts used for the Queen and Princess Diana. It also included some borrowed shoe collections, imaginatively displayed. Part of Imelda Marcos’ collection was there - I loved her quote of “I did not have 3000 pairs of shoes - I had 1060”.
A welcome respite in the shade!
It was a steaming hot day, and I took a break in the courtyard in the centre of the V & A - something I really didn’t know was there - where there’s a very nice open air cafe and lots of seating around a central water feature. It was a lovely place for people watching, always one of my favourite activities!
I later travelled across to Covent Garden - I signed up on-line for an Oyster card which really makes getting around so much easier - and whiled away a couple of hours browsing the stalls and watching the street entertainers, before meeting friends for an early dinner.
The evening event was quite wonderful - on such a gorgeous warm night, it turned into a street party
Crime At The Court is now an annual event, and it was simply wonderful to mingle with so many well-known crime and thriller authors, chatting about books with glass of wine in hand. I didn’t attend by invitation, I bought a £5 ticket - if it sounds like your kind of thing, Goldsboro Books have an email newsletter which lets you know about their events.
I caught the 9.30 train back to Leeds, and was home by not too long after midnight - and really felt like I’d had a short holiday! I’m now hooked on days out - this one was back in June, and I now have several more to share…
Goldsboro Books is situated at Cecil Court near Charing Cross: their website is