Step 1: Work out how often you want to go on adventures, and if it is more than about twice a year buy a Network Railcard .
Step 2: Buy or even better get as a birthday or Christmas gift a membership to the Tate Galleries .
Step 3: Go out for adventures on days when it is warm and dry but not too hot.
You now have the ingredients to have days like the one I did today.
Legged it to London with a oneday travel card, having claimed my third off (with Network card). Headed straight down to Westminster and wandered down the South Bank from Westminster to the Globe. This wander gives the opportunity to stop off at the second hand book tables outside the National and takes you past The Eye , the living statues, the street entertainers, the OXO gallery , the sand sculptures aswell as allowing ample opportunities for people watching and eating should you wish.
Headed into the Tate Modern and found the Turbine Hall was empty and accessible. It was amazing to go and just explore the vast emptiness and get a clearer understanding of the space. The membership gives 10% off in the shop, (book review of The Pirates Dilemma by Matt Mason is likely to follow at some point in the near future), and gets you into the exhibitions. Today I enjoyed the Street and Studio photography exhibition. It was varied moving in turns between being moving, entertaining and slightly disturbing. I was particularly struck by the gender differences in the photos. The photos of women were generally beautiful profiles which, through their sheer beauty had a slightly erotic edge whilst those of men were generally depicting work situations or had an element of the grotesque about them. My favourite pieces were: photos of Grace Kelly and Marilyn Munroe which were part of Phillipe Halsman’s Jump series, Cindy Sherman’s Bus Riders series and Chirs Killip’s Boy Sitting on a Wall, Tyneside. I was also facinated by Bruno Sernalongue’s series “Demonstrations by the Maison des Esembles Group of Immigrants who are denied proper legal recognition Place du Chatelet, Paris 2001 -3.
Finally for the Tate Modern it was up to the members room where I was singularly unimpressed. The sun loungers have been removed from the back terrace and have been replaced by Ikea style picnic tables. Additionally, they’ve ditched the reasonably priced Coca-Cola and replaced it not with ethcial stuff, but with designer beverages. It’s gone from being a central part of the Modern experience to being a nightmare of pretension.
Anyway, enough moaning. I got a bargain £5 ticket to the Globe after ignoring the sold out sign and asking about returns and so headed off to be a groundling. It was a brilliant performance of A Midsummers Night’s Dream , which got us roaring with laughter. Particular credit goes to Adam Burton who stepped up from playing Mustardseed to being Demitrius at 24 hours notice. As the announcement at the beginning said they can’t afford understudies, and so this guy had his script in his hand most of the way through, but rarely used it and his actual acting of the role was exquisite.
As for being a groundling, I enjoyed being in what is basically the mosh pit for the play. It gave a freedom to laugh louder and just enjoy that bit more. For comedy like that, on a day with good but not horrifically hot weather I’d def recommend it if you are feeling fit. However, I’d not take the chance of booking those tickets in advance and would choose the play carefullly.
So there you have it the Tractor Girl guide to living it large on a shoestring.