It's no secret that I'm a massive bookworm. So it's with a little reticence that I admit that my fascination with Arthur Conan Doyle's pipe-smoking detective sprung from not the novels but the recent BBC series. The slick design of the episodes, repackaged for a 21st century audience, paired with the Cumberbatch-Freeman bromance - it was love at first watch. I've since seen all the episodes multiple times and am slowly reading my way through the novels. So it made perfect sense to drag my equally Sherlock-smitten boyfriend along to the Museum of London for the eponymous exhibition. Where better to stage an exhibition about a 'man who never lived and will never die' than in the ancient centre of London, a city synonymous with Sherlock?
Photographs aren't allowed apart from at certain points in the exhibition, so I can only share a few pictures with you. But that's good because it means I can avoid spoiling the great Sherlock memorabilia on display!
Alex and I fell head over heels with whoever curated and designed the exhibition when we saw the entrance. Through a bookcase panel! Too amazing. It set the scene for the rest of the display, loosely resembling the interior of 221B Baker Street.
The viewer is immersed in Sherlock-themed visual material from the outset - from the original Sidney Paget illustrations to the posters of the panoply of TV and film adaptations spawned by the novels.
There's also a wealth of mid-to-late Victorian imagery of London - paintings by the likes of Whistler, old maps, sketches - and above, an incredibly detailed engraving of London seen from a hot air balloon towards the end of the 19th century. As you can see from the boy's face, he was particularly enamoured with this section.
My favourite section? A column of postcards set into glass that invited the visitor to play detective and search for a particular missive related to the Sherlock stories...
And then we had a little bit of dressing up. This seems to be a bit of a theme when we go to museums nowadays.
Ok, I clearly wasn't the height the curators had in mind for their target audience (and this is me on my tiptoes...) And I seem to have lost my hand. Curious. Definitely a case for the one in the deerstalker...
Alex was a much more sensible man-sized height.
The door to Sherlock's gaff.
And upon crossing the threshold of the door, we were greeted with cabinets upon cabinets of props. Everything from the dressing gown worn by Cumberbatch in the latest TV series to various violins played on by a range of Sherlock incarnations (and accompanying reedy audio clips), delicious-looking type writers, the different types of tobacco ash...and, of course, a cornucopia of makeup and wigs as utilised by Sherlock, master of disguise.
The dressing up didn't end with the exhibition, by the way. The Sherlock-themed offerings at the Museum of London giftshop allowed Alex to indulge in a little wearing of his favourite Victorian millinery. Yup... my boyfriend is a hat man.
The Sherlock exhibition is on at the Museum of London until April 2015 and entry is £11.45/£9.45 concession. You can have a mosey through the website here, and there seem to be a range of events on offer that I'm quite tempted by too - Sherlock-themed cocktail hunt, anyone?
Feeling peckish, we rounded off our evening by catching a tube into central London to hang out at a couple of places we've enjoyed frequenting since we started dating a few years ago. First up...
...Wong Kei! Famed for the rudest waiters in Chinatown - and the cheapest food. It's supposedly had a makeover but the décor looked just as 90s (think the kind of furniture and flooring they used to have in McDonalds) as it always has. And I like it that way.
I know my Chinese food (maybe I'll do a post on the best affordable Chinese dining in the capital at some point!) and Wong Kei's food is nowhere near the top of my list. But like I say, it's cheap and plentiful and ideal for a date when you're a bit broke like us. And I'll never say no to a plate of roast duck and crispy pork belly...
The best thing about scrimping on your dinner is...
...you can splash out on dessert!
Al and I love Gelupo. We shared a tub of coconut, pistachio, and chocolate, ricotta and black pepper. scoops. Yum. Gelupo also had all sorts of Halloween treats on offer (yup, that's how long my blogging backlog is...) and I thought they looked great.
These are the kinds of spiders I like. Quite different from the hairy creatures that struggle out of the plughole towards me when I'm trying to take a shower...