Hanging out with Hockney… and friends!

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Making time for friends is important, but working around everyone’s schedule can often be tricky. Some can’t meet up at night because of issues with babysitters, some can’t do weekends because they are away or working, and others don’t like to meet for dinner or drinks because of finances.

Organising the right event to get everyone together, and that accommodates everyone’s wishes, is a task that even the United Nations would think twice about negotiating!

That said, recently I managed to just about get it right. I decided that something relaxed, in the daytime and incorporating a little bit of culture would do the trick. So off we all set to go to Tate Britain to see a 60 year retrospective of the work of David Hockney.

For those of you who are not familiar with him: David Hockney, born 9 July 1937, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer. He was an important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s, and he is generally considered to be one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

I know, for some of you, this would not be your cup of tea, but I love wondering around art galleries and exhibitions. It is where I often meet friends of mine with children. Usually the museums and galleries we go to are free and indoors, so the weather isn’t an issue. You can wander for a good couple of hours if you so wish, and you get to learn something whilst doing it!

Believe it or not, there were lots of young children and babies at the exhibition which always makes me glad. It’s never too soon to introduce young minds to great art, in my opinion. I only wish when I was growing up, I had the opportunity to be exposed to art and culture in this way.

The exhibition was outstanding. To see some of Hockney’s (yes apparently in ‘arty’ circles you only refer to the artists by their surname!) most well-known works up close was really fascinating and exhilarating. I love a good painting, I always have done, so I was determined to enjoy it! I put on a pair of my Skechers especially – with their memory foam insoles – to ensure that my feet didn’t get tired! I love wearing them because not only are they comfy, they also look cool.

If you are in London and looking for something to do I would recommend popping along while the exhibition is still on, it runs until 29th May.

After the exhibition though, it was off to a really nice restaurant for lunch. We often tend to meet for lunch because many of the good restaurants will do a set lunch menu that allows you to enjoy the quality of there dishes they serve for dinner, but for a fraction of the price!

We went to Shepherds of Westminster and the lunch menu and service were outstanding!

Even better than that, because we booked for a late lunch and as they stay open all day, the restaurant was quiet. In a corner of the room the restaurant manager, the owner and the bar manager were trying out new wines. I watched as they took a sip or two from a glass, discussed that particular bottle and moved onto the next. What, I wondered, happens to those bottles of wine with only a few sips taken out of them? It didn’t take me long to find out.

Just as I was wondering whether or not we should order another glass of wine the restaurant manager, with whom we had exchanged a few pleasantries before, walked over and offered us a perfectly good (and inordinately expensive) bottle of wine that they had been tasting, for free!

Ah yes, this was a great day! Art, culture, friends, food and free wine – now that’s what I call the perfect day out! I have said it before and I will say it again, my life is blessed. For all those blessings, I am truly thankful… especially if they include free wine!

Until next time,

Miceal xxx

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