My doorbell rang at noon and who should be outside? None other than my dear Amy who has flown all the way from Seattle for a little vacation avec moi: a few days in London, followed by a few days in Paris, before a long weekend in Iceland (where we’re hoping to see some northern lights!).
After a brief settle and and a nap at the flat (during a which I finished my US taxes!), we set out for the Contemporary Ceramics Centre. Amy has taken up ceramics as a hobby and so was intrigued when I told her about all the fantastic ceramics on view at this gallery/shop. We spent quite a while appreciating the works, and I appreciated her technical insights into to the clays and glazes and throwing/building techniques.
From there it was only a matter of crossing the street to get to the British Museum, which apparently Amy had never been to (gasp). We remedied this, and at the same time elaborated in our theme, by wandering through the extensive collection of Greek, Islamic, and Western European ceramics.
I hadn’t spent much time in these rooms before, either, and they were fantastic. My favourite discovery were the wee ceramic baby bottles shaped like mice and fish from Ancient Greece.
But even cooler was the ivory chess set from the 1100s known as the Lewis Chessmen. Who knew chess was that old? Not me! The concepts of kings, knights, and bishops, which seem so abstract to us now, would have directly mapped onto feudal society at that time—perhaps similar to the game of Battleship in more recent decades. But pawns? The European version originally had no pawns; those were added by way of cross-pollination from the version of chess played in Muslims societies.
Before too long Amy started to fade—jet lag is a pushy demon. So we got a plate of noodles at a nearby Italian restaurant and made our way back to the flat. Amy went to bed straightaway, while I did some grocery shopping and enjoyed a quiet evening call with Justin and some blogging before turning in early myself.