Trivial Pursuit

How do you develop culture? How do you become that all-rounded person that knows the correct facts, just at the right time, and just enough to show off a little bit? (Maybe that’s your intention? Well it’s mine too!)

I suppose the first question is, what’s the point of being cultured? Why bother?

I think that being cultured is important, because not only is it a part of today’s society, but it’s nice to be educated about the world and it’s languages.  Though I’m not a historian nor an artist, it’s worth being well read in some history, and sustaining an appreciation of the arts. I also think that being cultured generally makes you a more interesting person!

I did some research, and there are many ways to become a cultured person!

I find that taking trips is one way of improving my knowledge of culture. You may remember a previous post of my trip to the British Museum, one in which I relished the culture. Recently we took a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the UK’s leading open-air gallery. It was my first time driving on the motorway (a ’30-minute each-way experience’, one I was both excited and a little nervous about!). The weather was beautiful and there were many sheep in the car park! It was quite possibly the perfect way to spend a spring day out.

Having walked almost 7km across the park and through the forests, I was able to appreciate the sculptures on display and the nature surrounding it. Yes many of the fields were covered by sheep and cows (and their poo!), where we were literally entering some farms to get across places. But that didn’t matter to us, that just made the exploring all the more fun! I think what made it sweeter was that the farm animals were just carrying on with their grazing and snoozing, in the beautiful sunshine.

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I’d like to think that these two are a couple 🙂

This was a day I definitely appreciated the history, art and culture. We could view works from both British and International artists, such as Henry Moore and  Ai WeiWei respectively. There was so much I didn’t know about art, and so much more I can now appreciate. We ended the visit by heading to the gift shop. Standard. My boyfriend bought the book ‘What’s so great about the Eiffel Tower? 70 questions that will change the way you think about architecture’. I’m looking into ordering the somewhat unconventional book ‘Burn after Writing’, a collection of some gentle probing life questions. The bookshelf had a version for teenagers only. I unfortunately am no longer a teen!

Do you recognise any works from Ai Weiwei? Henry Moore?

The trip inspired me to keep on broadening my culture horizons. Since coming back to London for a few days, for example, I’ve been reading through some of my dad’s UK citizenship books. It looks at British history and culture… it even tests us about William Shakespeare and Harry Potter! I decided that I will continue to take a keen interest on culture, to maybe make me, that all rounded person.

Summer breeze makes me feel fine

What better way to spend the hottest day of the year, in a September since 1911, than taking a trip down to central London. Following my last blog post, I decided to take the first step of connecting to my primal part…by going to the British Museum.

In just over one hour (which includes a 20 minute walk to the nearest tube station from home), I arrived at the museum, and almost instantly it took my breath away. Not just because of its beautiful architecture, but because of its abundance in ancient history. I had only been there once before on a school trip, when I was 10, a lot of which I unfortunately don’t remember. Maybe I didn’t appreciate it so much back then. I do however recall one memory, which was when I realised that I didn’t have enough money, to buy a mummy tin pencil case!

Wearing my mother’s summer dress which she had never wore before at my age, I felt like an explorer in the museum,  searching for answers, like Evelyn from the Mummy. I must have read every single description of the Egyptian remains displayed in the museum, taking as many pictures as my phone could hold, of artefacts and texts I want to remember and refer to. After a quick spot of lunch in the museum cafe, I retreated to the gift shops. I bought a Collins Gem book on ancient Egypt which cost less than a fiver, an Egyptian key ring for my keys, a pharaoh fridge magnet for my parents (they love collecting magnets) and a book for my boyfriend on Marcus Aurelius called Meditations…a book on my reading  list also. I even found on display the book I had bought a few weeks ago on Egyptian Hieroglyphs (!). I have now taken this as a sign also, that I must start reading this book, I must learn the language.

Having spent the majority of my afternoon in the museum, I decided to make my way to St James Park, to enjoy the late afternoon/evening sun. I walked across the park to find the perfect spot, to sit on the grass, listen to my music and read my book. I took great pleasure in knowing that this time was my own time, nobody could take it away from me and I could do what I want with it. I didn’t have to think about anything else other than what I was doing at that time. I could enjoy the simple things such as reading a book in the park and sipping on the orange calippo I had in my hand, which made it all the more sweeter!

I don’t really know how long I sat in the park for, and sometimes it’s nice not knowing ‘how much time you have left’. You can just enjoy your surroundings and feel it all around you. As I made my way back across the bridge, I stopped to admire what I saw ahead of me…

In the time I took this photo, I was listening to the song “Only He” a beautiful song by Andrew Lloyd Webber which was playing on my iPod shuffle. Feeling the music, breathing in the clean air and looking out into the river, I realised that I may not get this moment ever again. So I relished it. I stood upon the bridge, looked all around me, smiled to myself and felt the summer breeze.