Banned from Waitrose

I decided I fancied doing something special for lunch today. I have no problem with my usual salads (and I think they are varied a bit) but sometimes I just feel like going a bit mad and preparing lots of little dishes. This morning I bought a few things to compliment bits and pieces I already had in store. It took a while but I was very pleased with my tapas spread.

Mind you, I might have gone a bit overboard with quantities which means I’ll be having an interesting lunch of leftovers tomorrow. Along with the rest of the pork from this week’s roast pork with green butter.

While I was shopping there was a bit of a ruckus in Waitrose. A rather thuggish looking and acting chap wearing a Manchester United baseball cap was ‘politely’ escorted out of the shop and told to never to darken the doors again. The person who followed him out said he was banned. He wasn’t bothered. I know because he said so.

On the way home I saw him again. He was in the park, shirt off displaying his pale, pudgy flesh and asking directions. I think he was a bit lost, pointing up, down, left, right until his stupefied face lit up with the recognition of language. Hopefully he found his way back to the pit from which he’d emerged.

While this ghastly example of an inadequate education system was wandering the paths of the park, we were heading off for the Watt’s Gallery and the latest exhibition, Facing Fame. It featured the life and work of John Frederick Lewis (1804-1876). He was a very well travelled Orientalist and a dab hand at watercolour.

Mirinda admiring Lewis

He started young, depicting animals before moving on to wholesale interior scenes of Scottish hunting lodges. His earlier work was wonderful (some juvenalia was just extraordinary) but it took a back seat to his European work. We were particularly drawn to his pieces in and around the Alhambra. They brought back some lovely memories.

He then moved on to Egypt and Cairo where he sketched and painted the locals in their natural habitat. The exhibition featured some amazing depictions of the sights and scenes of everyday Cairo life. Mind you, one of Mirinda’s favourites was one of his wife, dressed in the Orient fashion but working in her Surrey garden (it’s the big one to the right of the above photo).

My favourite was a very fine portrait of a woman reclining though this could have been because a lot of his crowd scenes lack women (except for the harem) because the men of Cairo appear to have been frightened of them.

I also rather enjoyed the idea of the Carpet Seller which featured a chap sitting in front of his wares at the head of a souk. Lewis had used his own face for the seller. It is a very haunting image.

Taken from Cultures Crossed by Emily M Weeks

Overall, a marvellous exhibition (as usual) and conveniently small for the likes of Mirinda. We also popped down into the de Morgan exhibition which has had a change of artworks recently (yesterday). Here, among some extraordinary paintings by Evelyn de Morgan (1855-1919) which, quite frankly, I loved, were some amazing ceramics by her husband, William (1839-1917). Here is a small example of his work.

A Sphinx in a bowl

It was then off and away…well, as far as the shop anyway. There were things to buy (an amazing book on Lewis and one on Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)) before heading back home to two crazy puppies.

Another wonderful exhibition at our equally wonderful, local art gallery.

Watt’s Gallery
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