SHAKESPEARE!! AND FOUNDLINGS!! AND QUENTIN BLAKE!! AND TIM AND HELEN!!

I had such a good sleep last night. SUCH a good sleep. I woke up this morning feeling much better and then we went and had an enormous English breakfast with eggs, bacon, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, hashbrowns, tea and toast all for 5 pounds. This is so awesome because it fills you up for the whole day and I didn’t eat again until dinner. Then we all split off to do our own thing. I went to the Foundling Museum. Along the way I saw the Great Ormond Street Hospital, which is famous partially because J.M Barrie bequeathed all the royalties of Peter Pan to the hospital. Peter Pan is just about my favourite thing ever, so this hospital feels special to me. Fittingly, it was right near Coram’s Fields and the Foundling Museum. The Foundling Museum was originally a hospital, set up for, you guessed it, foundlings. Foundling was a word for an abandoned child. Back in the dark old days, women were having a lot of babies they were unable to feed, or babies born out of wedlock which would bring shame to them. As a result, a lot of these babies were left to die. A truly wonderful man called Thomas Coram was appalled by this and set up a hospital where women could come to drop their babies if they couldn’t care for them. It was incredibly popular (too popular, they had to turn away a lot of babies because of lack of funding and too much interest) and the history of the hospital is well-documented and interesting. There is still an organisation today called ‘Coram’ that takes care of disadvantaged children, and the park next door is Coram’s Fields. No adult is allowed into Coram’s Fields unless they have a child with them. The museum also had today (and it runs til April) a wonderful, wonderful exhibition on works of Quentin Blake, who, of course, illustrated Roald Dahl’s work. There were four main parts to the exhibition and all were works created for hospitals.

1. ‘You’re only young twice’ – a series of works for elderly people. They feature much older citizens doing circus tricks. There are lots of colours and humour in these paintings.

2. ‘Welcome to Planet Zog’ – for children, a series of pictures of a friendly alien planet. Aliens and humans interact, and some aliens might have physical or depressive problems, and some doctors might be green with many arms, but everyone looks after one another.

3. ‘Mother and babies underwater’ – my favourite! These pics are put up in birthing suites and are basically pictures of mothers and babies swimming together. Google them. They are beautiful.

4. ‘Ordinary Life in Vincent Square’ – these paintings are for patients with eating disorders. Quentin Blake interviewed them to see what they wanted to see, and realised they wanted to see normal life. They are just scenes from everyday life. Some of them have food in them, and some touch lightly on self-image, but it is never forceful or prominent. They are very gentle pictures.

Amazing stuff! I then jumped back on the tube to book tix for a tour at the National Theatre tomorrow. It was raining, but I decided to walk along the river instead of get back on the tube and it was a beautiful walk. I ended up at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre!! There I met the others and we jumped on a tour. I did this tour 4 years ago and loved it, but this time it was extra special because actors were rehearsing A Midsummer Night’s Dream and we were allowed to watch!! That was a wonderful, once-in-a-blue-moon experience. Then we walked through the exhibition and salivated through the gift shop. I think I might come back at the end of our trip and buy up big. After this, the girls went off to have High Tea at the Ritz and Sean and I went to meet Tim and Helen for dinner. We had such a fun night! Tim and Helen took us to a great pizza place for dinner and a simply divine crepe place for dessert. It was awesome to chat to them about how they have found London so far, as living and working over here is something Sean and I are really interested in doing. Great conversation, great company, great food (and too much food, I’m extremely full), made for an awesome night and I am exhausted after blogging this all! Talk to you soon Australia! Miss you!

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