Friday, May 13, 2011

at night they would go walking...

today was adventure-of-the-century day.  because our director decided not to take us to the play we were going to see tonight, we essentially had the day off.  

it began, as all great days do, with a little art.
10 am, the victoria and albert museum of art.

the chihuly chandelier in the grand entrance.  lots of magical days in the life of carolyn have included chihuly sculptures.  and by magical days, i mean that this boded well for our adventuring.

my favorite parts of our museuming today included:
this amazing dress!  i don't even know what's going on with it--mostly yards and yards of fabric, and the little cinderella poofs off the hips.  and the polka dots!  i'm making it big for the full effect.

today we saw the turner and constable paintings, both of whom i am always shocked by how much i love them.  but even COOLER than the landscape section was the flower section.  a bunch of field journals with very exact drawing of flowers.  i might be spending the rest of my summer at home cataloguing flowers.

and then the mini silhouettes.  this one was maybe two inches tall, and so detailed!  another must for summer projects once home.

and then, oh boy, get ready for this: we came across the theatre and performance section of the museum. they had a COSTUME CLOSET.  the best part: all the costumes were adult sized.  they knew.  they knew we'd be coming and would EAT. IT. UP.

this is my bird costume.  the shorts wouldn't fit over my hips (okay, so i've been eating too many crumpets), so they're wedged over my upper thighs.  awesome.  

and here we are.  the happy crew.  preston as prince charming (i mean, of COURSE.  the boy had to come pick us up from our apartment this morning because we may or may not have been 15 minutes late....ooops.  and by we i mean me.  i was washing dishes with amber.  andrea's name must be cleared.  she was ready.  secretly though i think he liked coming to get us).  *please note preston's extremely attractive pot-belly.  dang.  we all swooned when that one came out of the costume closet.  next is the lovely andrea as ...a clown?  possibly mr. toad?  or tweedledum?  aka: we have no idea.  but it was big and bright and she is (clearly) very happy to be wearing it.  then amber, a quizzical juliet.  her dress was probably three times too big for her little body.  somewhere there was once a very large juliet who post-performance donated her dress to the V&A.  thank you juliet.  we enjoyed.  and then me the bird.

once we'd gotten our fill of prancing, tweedledumming, balconying and flapping our wings, we packed it up and went home....

only to leave ten minutes later for the orangery.  this needs a bit of prefacing though.  

inside hyde park, you find kensington palace.  
beside kensington palace, you find the orangery.
it was originally a greenhouse.
(p.s. world: please give me a greenhouse for my birthday)

this is the garden outside the orangery.

{this is a picture from andrea, the other photo-crazy girl with me.  amazing huh!}

this is us enjoying it.

and this is us having tea in the orangery.
no big.
i'm just living in a fairy tale, that's all.

{tiffany, andrea, me, preston}

{kiersten, bre, addison, amber}

{also from andrea}

the menu was amazing--they had orange-blossom honeyed ham.  every word in that is beautiful.  (as is the word orangery...right?)  anyways, we'll definitely be returning to try the other teas and desserts.  today we ordered the orangery cake and english scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.  andrea and preston got the chamomile tea with sun-warmed apples, tiffany got the peppermint, and my tea of choice was rosehip and hibiscus.  look what a pretty color it is!  and there were rose petals in it.

we left the orangery with big smiles all.  best eight pounds i ever spent.

2:30.  return to flats to do homework.
translation: return to flats to take naps before embarking on...
okay i can't even begin to explain the magic that was tonight.

seeing as we were all hungry after waking up from our naps, we took the tube to hampstead (okay cute boy with the crazy hair on the tube who smiled at me like he was prince charming) and got crepes.  

a note on the crepes.  my grandma calls them german pancakes.  i grew up my whole life thinking crepes were german pancakes.  they are, in fact, two different things (as my roommate katherine with her buttermilk syrup taught me).  and on that note, i always thought of a crepe as a dessert food.  nutella, cinnamon & sugar, strawberries.  not here in hampstead, oh no.

they make SAVORY crepes.

the crepe crew were laughing and joking in french the whole time they were making the crepes.  that's how they get you.

and a note for any crepe parties i may throw someday:  1) get a little wooden mini-zen-garden rake to push the crepe batter around the pan.  2) once it's cooked through, fold it in half.  3) put a big slab of butter on a separate pan and let it melt and sizzle.  4) put the halved crepe on the butter.  5) cover in cheese, mushrooms, ham, and lots of garlic.  

these crepes were to-die-for.
proof: look at this face:

{he giggled like a girl over this crepe}

{and then the girls who can't stop giggling ever as of late.  over everything.  especially crepes.  at least the ones with garlic in them.}

{a little window.  this embodies hampstead.  everything about it is picturesque.}

{cheese, mushrooms, ham, parsley, pepper, garlic, butter butter butter}

and so we found a wall and ate our hearts out.

now lest you think today was all about eating (which, let's be honest, it kinda was), i will give you act four of the day's saga: the three hours in which we walked off everything we ate across a very very large heath that felt something like this:

let me 'splain.  as it's friday the 13th, we thought it'd be fitting to spend the evening in a cemetery.  preferably one with vampires.  as it so happens, the people at the bookstore we stopped into said that high gate cemetery ("just over the heath") has huge gothic tombstones that are overgrown and crumbling and perfectly horrifying...and that its on swains lane which is where the vampires live.  perrrrrfect.  and thus we embarked.

points to note:
1) in the bookstore, they made it seem like it was just around the corner.  so we left and started walking, trying to find a heath to cross.
2) none of us knew what a heath was.
3) we come across a large green hill and assume this must be a heath.  so we begin walking...

and walking...

and walking...

we stopped here and there to chat

and to look over bridges

and to find secret gardens to tell our secrets in

the hours we spent in search of this cemetery were some of my favorite of london thus far.  time spent with people i care about, getting to know them better, letting them get to know me.  in nature.  who could ask for a happier moment.

all told, we ended up asking 
a schoolboy, 
an american man with a dog, 
a backpacker, 
a park ranger, 
a woman sitting at a bus stop, 
two men with bags of groceries, 
and a bus driver 
how to get to the cemetery.  

every time, no matter where in the park we were or how long we'd be walking, the response was always, "oh, it's quite a ways from here.  at least 40 minutes."

and thus we wandered circles and loved every minute of it.

by this point it was long past dark.  also known as the best time for vampire sightings.

{please note the anxious sideways glances}

{the suspense is building as we near the cemetery......}

{and finally.  the gates to the cemetery.  from what we could see inside, this is not somewhere you want to be after dark.}

{and the barbed wire was enough to keep us out should we go against all forms of sanity and try to climb the fence.}

high gate cemetery, we shall return.  and we'll bring our garlic.

(*worth noting: i have been living the past two days to "he lives in you" from the lion king.  it won't go away.  more on that lata.)


  1. Carolyn I Hate reading your blog now.

    No offense, but your just making me miss my study abroad there SOOOO Much! Crepes, and clotted cream and flowery teas and the V and A!!! Plus I totally missed the costume closet section while going through there! :)

    Anyways, I'm super happy your having a wonderful time. Live it up while your there!!!!

  2. Ok.
    1)Great costume. Very I-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings-ish. Perhaps your cage would be the ill-fitting shorts...?
    2)Great glasses. Very stylin'
    3) OOOOKKKKAAAAYYYY. Crepes. Where to begin. Ok, Carolyn. Ok. I'm possibly hyperventilating. I fell in love with them in Japan. I craved them like none other when I came home. Don't worry about gaining weight. It's worth it.
    Also, Little One and I just found a magical place called luna berry in salt lake. They have frozen yogurt, boba drinks, and CREPES!!! Our favorite has chicken, cheese, spinach, and mango sauce. TO. DIE. FOR.
    Also, sorry this is a long post, but I demand an invitation to any crepe party you may have. And any other party too. Just sayin.

  3. They were sun-BAKED apples. Sun-baked! But what a grand adventure that day was. You are so great.

  4. Ah! That orangery was one of my favorite places. I'm dying! I love everything!