Friday, September 4, 2009

Get On the Bus


Magnet # 28: Double Decker London Bus

Material: Plastic

Purchased By: Dad

Trust me, I want on that bus. Of all the countries that I haven't been to (and there are plenty), England tops the list of ones I want to go to. I just haven't had a chance yet.

So why England? Well, there are the obvious tourist spots - the Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, Stonehenge and so on. There's also the opportunity to hop on a train and head up to Scotland. But there are two reasons that really makes this country appeal to me.

First, there's the art. Victorian art is my all-time favorite period of art. Artists of the Pre-Raphealite and Olympian movements painted some of the most realistic, idealized works ever. They depicted heroes of Camelot, gods and goddesses of ancient Greek myths, and Oriental figures in the Middle East. Institutions like the Tate Gallery and the Victoria Albert Museum are filled with works by artists such as Waterhouse, Alma-Tadema, Poynter, Draper, and Rossetti. The thought of seeing these in person almost makes me giddy. But the place I absolutely want to visit most is the Leighton House Museum. Located in Holland Park, it was the home of Lord Frederick Leighton, one of the most celebrated and accoladed artists of Victorian England. He was the first artist to ever receive a peerage and he was President of the Royal Academy for eighteen years. His home is a testament to his love of Arabic art. It's filled with tiles he collected during his travels in the Middle East. There are also beautiful columns, carved lattice-work accents, and a fountain and domed ceiling. Of course, his amazing artwork is everywhere as well. Sounds like heaven to me! You can see more about this home at http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/LHLeightonHouse/VisitorInfo/default.asp. Hmm - looks like it's closed for renovations for the rest of this year. Guess I can safely put off a trip until 2010.

My second reason for wanting to go? The Brits love their needlework, just as I do. When I'm shopping for cross stitch magazines at Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble, the best ones always seem to be the ten dollar ones imported over from England. Good thing I only buy them at the holidays. From what I can tell, they have quite a few independently owned needlework shops where I could stock up on my cross stitch supplies. It's gotten progressively tougher over here - I can't even tell you the last time I saw ornament frames for sale at a craft shop. Of course, shopping might be difficult. The needlework money might cut into my magnet funds - or vice versa.

So there you have it, two reasons why I am dying to hop a plane across the pond. It might be motivations most folks never even considered. It'll happen someday, I know it. Until then, the Travel Channel and my English magnets will have to suffice.

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