Jenny Eclair, our favourite Camberwell comedian, takes a trip to Venice and falls under the Queen of the Adriatic’s spell
There are some things in life that never let you down – a good, freshly laundered white shirt, a bacon sandwich and Venice are three that spring to mind. Obviously the most exotic of these is Venice, and thanks to a rare work-related freebie, I am recently returned from Italy where the Old Man and I had a day to mooch around the Queen of the Adriatic. She really is a knock out.
Venice is the architectural equivalent of Kate Moss – it’s impossible to take a bad photo of the place and while she might be up to her knees in floodwater, she whiffs not of damp but of expensive leather handbags with top notes of Grappa.
If you get the chance to visit, I suggest you avoid the crowds on the Rialto Bridge, hop on a vaporetto (water bus) and take a ride to one of the most beautiful small art galleries in the world, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which sits right on the brink of The Grand Canal.
Venice is the architectural equivalent of Kate Moss – it’s impossible to take a bad photo of the place
Everything about this place is special – the building, the location and the collection. Anyone with 15 minutes to spare can get up close and personal with some of the biggest names in 20th century art – here a Picasso, there a Pollock – and once you’ve had your fill of top-notch painting and sculpture (Hepworth, Giacometti, Kapoor), then you can jump a water bus back to St Mark’s Square, where Café Florian will charge you the cost of a small cosmetic procedure for a coffee and you won’t care because Venice is magical and has cast a spell on you (which must be the reason people are still buying those hideous Venetian masks!).
South Londoners can get a great art fix closer to home this month with Tracey Emin’s The Last Great Adventure is You at the White Cube in Bermondsey, running now until 16 November. Ok, so it may not be the Venice Guggenheim, but you can walk from Borough without getting your feet wet.
Back on dry land in London, I was troubled by a massively inflamed wasp sting under my left arm. A red patch of infection was visibly spreading before my very eyes, but it was 9am on a Saturday morning and I didn’t want to bother Kings. Fortunately, a GP neighbour was walking her dog past my house and I ran out in my bath towel, accosting her with my throbbing armpit.
She introduced me to SELDOC, a co-operative of south east London doctors who take it in turn to provide a free out-of-hours and weekend clinic in the area. Two hours later I was being checked out at Dulwich Community Hospital by a very efficient 12-year-old doctor (joking) and issued with antibiotics. This is a brilliant service, put their number in your phone – 020 8693 9066.