London: Day Three, Tues Aug 16
Oh what heaven, I got a full eight hours of sleep. I got out of bed at about 6:30am, put on my sandals and a hat (because my hair was a horror) and walked down to the café to get coffee for Richard, a chai latte for myself, a blueberry muffin for Richard, and a banana nut muffin for myself. Here’s a mirror selfie in the elevator:
Breakfast was the above plus strawberry yogurt, which we had bought at the Tesco Express (a local supermarket chain) the day before. We showered, got dressed, and made our way to the Tiffany London Brand Exhibition.
We created an exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery in London. It’s called *Vision and Virtuosity.* Here’s a blurb from the website: “Journey through 185 years of innovation, craftsmanship, and heritage at *Vision and Virtuosity* - our new exhibition. Don’t miss the remarkable jewels and rare objects.” The exhibition was running from June 10 to August 19, so we caught it right before it closed.
I told one of my coworkers about six weeks ago that I had booked us tickets for the show.
HER: Email me the date and time and I’ll have one of our people give you a tour.
ME: Wow, that would be great. Thank you. Isn’t that funny, it would never occur to me to do that.
HER: It needs to start occurring to you.
Point taken! My colleague Chiara was in town from Milan helping with the show. I’d emailed with her many times when my boss was planning a trip to Milan this spring but had never met her in person. What a treat. She handed us off to our colleague Siobhan, who was our tour guide. It said online that it takes 90 minutes to go through the show but Siobhan took nearly two hours. She explained to much and answered so many questions. She was a treasure. In these pictures Chiara is between me and Richard, Siobhan is on the left.
This is one of my favorite pieces from the show, a Jean Schlumberger necklace done in diamonds, red spinel, and turquoise. This piece raised a few eyebrows at the time because turquoise was seen as a cheap and tacky stone, something you'd buy at a roadside stand rather than at Tiffany & Co. But Schlumberger said that it's a beautiful stone and you have to admit that the color and texture work beautifully with the diamonds and spinels.
Also notice the genius use of lighting. I know the guy who did the lighting for the exhibit and wrote him a gushy email when I got back. The lighting brought a whole new appreciation to the design. I felt like I spent nearly as much time looking at the shadows as at the jewelry.
One of the rooms had lush blue lighting and some sort of arty paper situation hanging from the ceiling. And three big glass and steel circles with engagement rings set in them.
One more picture before we left! They had a photo op in the gift shop, where you sit in a Tiffany engagement ring box. Super cute. Richard was the central stone and Siobhan and I were the baguettes on the side.
We stayed local for lunch - - there was a place just down the block called Comptoir, specializing in Lebanese food. So delicious. Richard had a lemonade and a grilled chicken wrap with hummus and a little salad on the side. I had a lemonade with a touch of rose water and a sort of pizza with kalamata olives, feta cheese, red onion, and fresh tomato. Very good and a cute little place.
And the bathroom was spectacular!
We went back to the hotel, grabbed a chocolate shake on our way back. Took a little nap, got caught up on my travelogue, watched another episode of *Murder, She Wrote.* This one had the most astonishing cast list of stars of yesteryear: Orson Bean, Gloria De Haven, Kathryn Grayson, and would you believe Ruth Roman. At this stage she came off as a poor man’s Elizabeth Ashley.
We had dinner that night with Richard’s friend Anthony. Richard had lived in London for almost a year about twenty years ago and Anthony was his roommate for the last half of that. He’s a charming guy and hilarious. We met for dinner at Pizza Express in Notting Hill, about a twenty-minute walk from our hotel. Anthony lives north of the city so it was sweet of him to come into town to see us.
Pizza Express is a somewhat upscale pizza chain. How about a cocktail? Richard and Anthony had gin and tonics, which were served in a lovely big goblet, and I had a blush hard apple cider, crisp and delicious. We had some cheesy dough balls to start and we each had a pizza for our entrees - - Richard had a tomato, mozzarella, and arugula, Anthony had a pepperoni, I had a BBQ brisket, caramelized onion, and tomato. That was one fantastic pizza. It was a delight to catch up with Anthony and hear about everything that’s going on with him. He walked us back to our hotel, it was lovely to extend our time with him.
I’m sure we watched something stupid on the telly when we got back, but I can’t remember what.