I wasn’t sure that this trip was entirely feasible, I mean 48 hours in a place as beautiful and magical as Venice, how was it going to feel anything other than having your candy floss snatched at the fair just as you go to take your first bite? But it’s January, and we have plugged all our money into the house for so long that we’ve forgotten to take a holiday for a few years, so we decided to beat the January blues and impetuously booked a short city break to Venice. We packed the Wallpaper guide and not much else, letting our noses guide us down the winding roads. I had some vague plans, things I’d seen on the recent Nigella series, narrow passageways so beautifully evoked in classic novels and ghost stories, even the Brideshead trip to the Lido, but nothing prepared me for just how utterly seductive this city is. I should say that we married in Italy and have been on many holidays here but somehow never quite got to Venice, I’m so glad we finally did.In fact it turns out 48 hours is perfectly feasible, don’t get me wrong I could have stayed for months, but when you go out of season you have the city virtually to yourselves and I suspect you get a better feel of the place and it’s inhabitants now than you would over a week in the summer.
There is currently quite a cool exhibition running til 7 December at London’s Guildhall which celebrates the impact of Victoriana, curating the work of modern artists from Grayson Perry to the The Chapman Brothers and incorporating design houses like Timorous Beasties and trends such as steam-punk. On show are ceramics, taxidermy, print design, photography, graphic design and the most spectacular moths zoetrope by Mat Collishaw (find the video I took of which at the end of this post).Read More
Whitby is a beautiful coastal village on Yorkshires East Coast filled with junk shops, gothic splendour and a trade in oddities. From the ruins of Whitby Abbey which inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula to cafes named after Lewis Carroll’s wonderland poem The Walrus & Carpenter to the waterfront bar named after Somerset Maugham’s Moon & Sixpence, Whitby has a decidedly literary & nostalgic feel. It hosts an annual Gothic weekend, boasts a boutique guesthouse with literary themed rooms and contains a plethora of vintage junk shops. This is the town responsible for us arriving in Yorkshire with one overnight bag and going back on a packed Edinburgh festival train with three. Here is my final photo diary, decidedly less pastel-y, of what the mice saw on their field-trip, starting with what we bought:
In my penultimate instalment of seaside visits I give you Margate, a town which up until a few years ago may have been best summed up by the Morrissey lyric ‘The coastal town that they forgot to close down’. It has been in decline for decades, overlooked next to its experienced swisher sisters in Whitstable & Broadstairs, it has arcades, a dilapidated pleasure beach and not much else to recommend it to the passing train passenger. But with the opening of the Turner gallery in 2010 and a trickling influx of ex-Hackney-hipsters the town is beginning to show signs of a renaissance. There are shoots of gentrification in the form of retro tea rooms, boutiques and over-priced jumble sales. However there is still something very wistful and maudlin about Margate.
Bexhill is a lovely seaside town. It has all the usual Georgian & Victorian decay common to Sussex seaside towns complete with net-curtain-twitching-B&B’s, uniform beach huts and murky brown healing waters, but it also has something unexpected – Modernism. Bexhill is home to the De La Warr Pavilion which is the second ever modernist structure built in the UK. And just like famous childhood resident Eddie Izzard the pavilion is surprising, beautiful and unexpected, I give you my second photo diary of English Seaside towns:Read More