First job was to check the amount on the Oyster card at the local newsagent, then head to Boots Pharmacy on Tottenham Court Rd. I managed to get some caltrate and deep heat ointment to aid my stiff knees- but no Liticen (out of stock- try another store). Then to Barclays Bank to swap some £20 notes from my last UK visit - now out of circulation, but redeemable. It feels good to have a list ticked off before 10am!
I had done no research, but there were three exhibitions of immediate interest to me - a Treasures Exhibition, a Magna Carta Exhibition and a Magna Carta Embroidery.
Treasures of the National Library
This was my favourite of the three. It was extensive - covering music, books, printed and handwritten, religious and secular. I focused on a few favourites, beginning, of course, with Beowulf.
There were also beautiful examples of Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic manuscripts.
The very first time I visited Britain, in 1968, when I was a final year Dip Ed student, I went to see the Magna Carta and bought a facsimile copy which I still have ( I'd happily donate it to any school or teacher who wanted it!). It seemed fitting today to visit the 2015 Anniversary.
I didn't photograph much, but I found it thought-provoking. It cleverly presented, using documents, artefacts and graphics, the changes to the original charter over 800 years while the intention has been preserved, fought for and re-expressed. Much of the charter has been reshaped and expressed in laws and declarations - in England, France, the USA, the UN and of course, throughout the Commonwealth. It is a powerful story of the power of an idea, a conviction that there is a "right" - an extraordinary legacy. I find it moving and inspiring.
As an embroidery aside, these are the vestments -embroidered shoes, mitre and fabric fragments - belonging to Hubert Walter, King John's first Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor, found intact when his tomb was opened in 1890.
Magna Carta: an Embroidery
The embroidery is of the Wikapedia page on the Magna Carta, as it was on the day of it's 799 year anniversary, mostly, I think, in backstitch.
Both the text (including all footnotes) and illustrations have been embroidered. Cornelian Parker printed the pattern on fabric, cut it into 87 pieces and sent then around the country to be embroidered.
There is something mad about embroidering a Wikapedia page. It's certainly a new take on archiving! It is, of course, the inherent contradiction that makes it interesting.
All in all, I'm glad I caught that bus this morning!