‘Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
to see a fine lady upon a white horse.’
When I recited that nursery rhyme as a child I didn’t realise that she was famous because of what she didn’t wear while riding that horse.
The English town of Banbury sits on the edge of the Cotswalds, surrounded by lush green farming countryside, quaint villages with cottage gardens and because of its rail connections, it’s an ideal place for a base out of London, only an hour away by train. It’s even more convenient for me because I have family living nearby.
When my sister and I flew to Birmingham from Paris on the 23rd May last year, we were picked up and driven to Dashwood Apartments in Banbury, where we had booked a very comfortable two bedroom apartment for a week. Typical for England in May, the rain was pouring down all the way. After checking in, we headed for the town centre, about a five minute walk away, to stock up on food at the local Marks and Spencers. They had so many delicious looking instant meals but we had to limit ourselves to what we could carry. It’s amazing how one longs for ordinary food at the end of a wonderful holiday in foreign countries, or on a cruise where everything is cooked for you. We really enjoyed the cottage pie and plain green vegies that night and after all the full breakfasts on the ship, my bowl of melons and berries the next day, tasted divine.
My son arrived around ten on the 24th, to give us our tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show the following day, as well as my annual membership for the Royal Horticultural Society (which is necessary in order to get to the show in the first two days.) We then went to his place for lunch and had fun wandering around the farm where he and his wife live.
I’m sure you’ve seen my blogs on the Chelsea Flower Show which was the first of our trips to London that week. With a day off to recover, we then visited the Victoria and Albert Museum and caught up with a
friend from Perth for lunch and a visit to the special underwear exhibition.
Some of the garments were exquisite, but the things I found most interesting although gruesome, were the x-rays showing how women’s bodies were sometimes deformed and their bones fractured by wearing extremely tight corsets. No wonder ladies so often fainted, with no room in their squashed lungs for air.
I’m not sure why these shoes were on display in this underwear exhibition, but can only guess that it’s simply another form of torture for women who want to be slaves to fashion and beauty.
While in London we also had to visit the National Gallery, but I’ll leave that for my next piece.