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Violating Sanctions

An American Woman’s Listening Tour Through the Axis of Evil

Archive for the London Category

The London Logs: Tate Britain & Lamberth Palace

August 28th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 1 Comment »

I added 2 more bridges to my list of River Thames crossings: Lamberth Bridge and Westminster Bridge. 100_0440.jpgAfter my disappointment with the Tate Modern, I was not expecting to like the Tate Britain. It turned out to be an eclectic collection of provoking modern art, tastefully and spaciously displayed. 100_0437.jpgI particularly was moved by this piece by Peter de Francia of the invasion of Tunisia in 1959.

There is also a dedicated wing of lots of works by Joseph Mallord William Turner, London’s favorite son. At 24, Turner was admitted to study at the Royal Academy of Arts, and displayed new work every year for years.

One thing that struck me here and in other museums: Art piece “studies” and sketchbooks were displayed as significant in their own right. I can not imagine the drafts of my book being “displayed” as interesting!

After delicious dhal soup in the museum café, I wandered across the Lamberth Bridge to the Lamberth Castle 100_0442.jpgand hung out at a riverside coffee stand with a delicious latte overlooking the Parliament. 100_0444.jpg

It really is an incredible city!
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Category: London

The London Logs: I’m a Little Teapot at the V&A

August 28th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

Another surprise is the Victoria & Albert Museum ( Several people, surprised I hadn’t already checked it out, insisted I visit. I’d seen several larger-than-life displays for the special exhibition of evening gowns – not my cup of tea.100_0463.jpg

However, it is raining today and I wanted a really good meal, so I headed to my favorite foodie section of town: South Kensington. It was here I had throat soothing Tom Kha Kai soup during my first week, and delectable Spanish tapas a couple of weeks ago. Today, I sought out Italian to match the weather and had one of my most memorable Italian meals ever: pasta in a saffron sauce with wilted spinach, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and shaved goat cheese. (£10.50, about $16 at Pierino at 37 Thurloe Place). Following my afternoon at the V&A, I’m noshing now on Polish potato pancakes with smoked salmon and sour cream at Gessler at Daquise, a restaurant at the end of the South Kensington courtyard with a view of the V&A dome. The chef came out himself and served my meal! (£9, about $14) Both restaurants are charming, comfortable for a single and allowed me to sit and write forever…100_0450.jpg

The V&A is an overwhelming romp through history and geography. (more…)

Category: London

The London Logs: My LoveLife Problems Are Solved!

August 27th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

I hear Prince Harry is back on the prowl.

Brushing up on my strip billiards…
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Category: London

The London Logs: Books, Mobs & Baby Bulls

August 26th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

I had been wanting to visit Hackney City Farm ( Located in the urban Hackney neighborhood, the farm is a charming back-to-earth opportunity for kids. It features a fabulous family-friendly cafe. I had delicious fresh scrambled eggs with salmon on homemade bread for £7 (about $11). Filling, fresh and wholesome!100_0436.jpg

The farm abuts Goldsmith Row, where there is a new weekly book market ( (London loves its street markets!) My new friend Elaine was there signing The Time for Freedom: Changing the Way We See Things Now ( and David was giving TuiNa tastes ( (See Aug 19 post.)

I went from urban rustic to urbane rowdiness at the Notting Hill Festival. What a low-life drunken crowd. It was Mardi Gras without the floats, music or color. Or pubs. The boutiques and bars were boarded up, but empty beer bottles littered every ledge. I’m sure the rest of the year, it’s a beautiful ‘hood! Hit a great Lebanese restaurant on Queensway, though.
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Category: London

The London Logs: The Disappointing Tate Modern

August 25th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

On this blustery day, I ventured to the Tate Modern art museum ( It was muggy and sunny when I left my Leytonstone flat, but clouds were rolling in fast. I grabbed my bolly* (**) and set off.tate-modern.jpg

(*I can’t believe it either that I’m using the British euphemism for umbrella! Photo taken on a sunnier day.)

(** Yikes! I’ve just been corrected: It’s brolly. One would think I’d have learned English by now!)

By the time I hit the River Thames, it was drizzling. By the time I hit the middle of the Millennium Bridge with no turning back, the downpour had soaked my jeans up to my own little personal brolly. Wet thighs chafing, I sauntered into the Tate like a girl just dismounted from a weeklong trail ride. (more…)

Category: London

The London Logs: The Imperial War Museum’s “Crimes Against Humanity”

August 24th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

At the beginning of the last century, 90% of WWI’s casualties were soldiers. At the end of the century, 90% of war casualties were civilians, a statistic recited in the Crimes Against Humanity exhibit at the Imperial War Museum by writer and historian Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff cites the desire to create new states though ethnic cleansing as a partial explanation. It occurred to me that there’s been a shift in warfare from controlling land to controlling people.100_0413.jpg

After describing genocides from the 1915 Armenian “cleansing” to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Yugoslavia and Rwanda, (more…)

Category: London

The London Logs: Merlin’s Gift

August 23rd, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

Today, Merlin conjured me up me in a little “gift”: A decapitated mouse. After much girl-squealing and screeching, I finally swept it into the garbage. Cute little guy (the cat, not the mouse!).
Here he is reading my essay in The Chalk Circle, one of five anthologies my work now appears in! Yep, that’s me on the cover. (No, not the old Chinese woman; I’m the one eating the ice cream offered by an Iraqi beggar.)

In spite of my exciting “to do” list, I stayed home today to write, edit, blog, read and nap. What a luxury!
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Category: London

The London Logs: Julius Caesar

August 22nd, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

“Cowards die a thousand deaths, the valiant taste of death but once.”
Sigh. I actually had tears streaming down my face when Marc Anthony grieved over Caesar’s mutilated body. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production at the Noel Coward Theatre was extraordinary: They “set” the play in an unnamed country in Africa with actors costumed in fatigues and musicians performing sultry-rhythmed reggae.

Ticket in balcony cost only £15 (about $23 US)! (I took the photos of the musical interlude before the performance began.)100_0407.jpg

After the show, I wandered around the several blocks of Chinatown. Love this city!
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The London Logs: Ros Redux

August 21st, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

One of the pitfalls of living an unstructured life is melting weekdays. Last week, I lived Monday twice and, consequently, missed meeting my friend Pauline’s dear friend Ros. This wonderful woman came all the way out to meet me at Liverpool Tube only to be stood up! Thankfully, she gave me another shot today.
She toured me through Bevis Marks (, England’s oldest synagogue with more than 300 years of continuous Jewish worship. 100_0395.jpgRos attended services here as a child and showed me the personal bench where her father was assigned to sit every week. (more…)

Category: London

The London Logs: Alfred Hitchcock & Epping Forest

August 20th, 2012 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 1 Comment »

Turns out, Alfred Hitchcock was born and raised around the corner from where I’m living this summer! To commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth, 17 mosaics depicting scenes in Hitchcock movies were installed at the Leytonstone Tube Station — the place I pass every day!100_0428.jpg
Tonight, I walked to the Alfred Hitchcock Hotel, which seems to have nothing to do with the director. …Traditional English pub overlooking Epping Forest with reasonably priced wine and fun black-and-white photos like this one of Hitchcock directing “Psycho.”

Epping Forest, now there’s a work of art! 100_0391.jpgAbout 10 minutes from “my” flat, this urban park features a gorgeous lake with swans, geese and boaters and miles of paths for off-leash dogs. 100_0389.jpgIt’s London’s largest natural open space, 6,000 acres! ( (more…)

Category: London
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