So we've reached 2pm and all I've eaten is a banana, the calories from which I more than burnt while out doing parkrun. Helen's had nothing. Accordingly we are both absolutely starving, so lack-of-picnic be damned, let's go to The Press Room and buy some pastel de nata plus an egg mayo with avocado bun.
There's other old(er) stuff around here too, like the 1st-3rd floors of Jack Wills, and a statue of some woman holding an urn.
Just up the way is the Clattern Bridge, and the place where Aethelstan was actually crowned. But we've no time to go see such important historical venues because Helen's still hungry, ending up with a ham and cheese baguette from Paul's.
One of our "rules" for The Boroughers is that we should do stuff neither of us have ever done before, and in Kingston I thought this would be tougher even than Merton. But Helen had found this place, the home of sculptor Dora Gordine and now a museum dedicated to her life and work.
No, I'd never heard of her either, but whatever. A smiley woman at an outdoor desk greets us into the grounds, asking if we're there to visit the gardens - it's also Open Garden Squares weekend across London, where many gardens are open to the public which otherwise tend not to be, like an outdoor version of Open House weekend. We knew about it in advance; what we didn't know, and what I still don't understand, is that this somehow made visiting the museum 20% cheaper than usual. Well, fine, take our £4s.
What the garden thing means in practice, here, is that we get a single page map listing 6 trees and a big Yatis. That's that thing above, with Helen scratching her head wondering "what the fuck is this?". It's a Yatis. Apparently. Neither Google nor DuckDuckGo will back me up on this but I'll persevere with the claim anyway. It's a big artistic thing made by the architectural department of Kingston college or uni, I can't recall. Didn't take much notice, did I? Apart from looking at it from numerous angles throughout our visit.
Loads of her sculptures are in the room where we watch the video. She was clearly prodigiously talented. Lots of these were made in this house, because she lived there from the 1930s or so until her death in 1991.
I think, maybe this is a good opportunity to use some of those iPhone X portrait modes that never seem to work. Accordingly, I get to make this bust of a woman look like she's from a Ready Brek advert.
It's called a museum but I would say it's more a gallery. Almost all the historical aspects were covered in the video, otherwise it's just a self-guided tour of her house which is littered with sculptures. It may have been like this when she was alive, because the flat she and her husband lived in was only the second floor.
This table centrepiece is a bit mental eh?
The living quarters are fantastic. There are Chinese "moon" sliding doors linking the rooms which everyone loves. The entire building was also designed by Gordine, who basically treated architecture just like a bigger form of sculpture, and it works really well. Except, as it happens, neither of us like the building from the outside.
Back down via a disconcerting visit to the loo; I assume Gordine didn't design "big mirror facing you when you sit down" in there. Bleurgh. Out and across the road, there's a sign that's been bothering me.
Now, a concrete fence is...a wall, isn't it? Not a fence? Unless you, like, make a fence out of concrete, but why would you want to do that? Anyway, whatever. Back on the 85 to cross the crest of Kingston Hill and we're popping into Londis for a Ribena before visiting another KAOS venue.
Stouts and porters and sours and ciders and IPAs and hoppy nonsense are sunk. The place never gets particularly crowded before we leave at around 9pm. Helen wants to take action shots of me talking to Wooj, some of which look like it's actually just two photos in entirely different places, stitched together. Also, Wooj looks fucked.
Once we've decided that between us Helen and I are too tired and too pissed to carry on, we say our goodbyes and jump in an Uber back home.
Because we started so late, had more to do, and anyway we fucking live here, plans had always been afoot to continue our Kingstonian odyssey on Sunday. Not least because we needed one more signature from a KAOS artist so that we can enter our pamphlet into a prize draw for £100 of art-buying power.
Unfortunately, I woke up on Sunday feeling wretched. Second time, that is. When I first woke up I was alright, but it was very early - one of the last things to occur on Saturday night was me taking the piss out of Helen for her extreme lie-in that morning, with her accusing me of being just like Maggie Thatcher because I sleep only 4-6 hours most nights. But, yes, second time around on Sunday morning I felt awful. Not hungover, just lethargic and headachey and full of woe and malaise.
Bleurgh. Well, whatever. A very nice breakfast helped, and our vague plan was shrunk to a single venue: we'd argued yesterday about the phrase "we need to visit the garden centre", my point being that both "we" and "need" we inaccurate, but I lost. At least the garden centre in question was also a KAOS venue and near the border. So, let's go get a 406 to Tolworth station. Shudder.
Tolworth station is the wrong place to get off. It's OK for the garden centre, but the welcome sign is about half or three quarters of a mile further along, just walking next to a very busy A240 with nothing else nice to see. It was hot and I was still feeling like shit, but hey, here's a welcome, I always like welcomes.