I love the work of LS Lowry. As someone who grew up in a bleak, industrial landscape in the Midlands and then who lived in the North West for three years, his paintings speak to me in a way that no other artist's do. I see a beauty in those belching chimneys, quarrelling crowds and satanic mills. They make me feel at home.
So when I heard about Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, the brand new exhibition at the Tate Britain, I had to go. Cue me and Samuel heading off for an adventure yesterday. The Tate's easy to get to from Crystal Palace - overground to Vauxhall, then a short dander over the river. It's super baby-friendly too. As soon as I got in the queue to pick up my tickets, someone came to help me, collected my tickets for me, directed me to the lifts and pointed out where the baby changing facilities were - and all without me asking.
We headed into the exhibition. It was its first day. It was extremely busy, and I had a buggy. It was extremely quiet, and I had a child who can go off like a fire alarm at any given moment. I was a little nervous. But I didn't need to be. I got lucky. Samuel conked out as soon as we got in there, leaving me to carefully weave the buggy through the crowds and happily take it all in. They really are stunning paintings, magnificently unsentimental and gloriously gloomy.
From what I read, the exhibition is trying to dispel some of the art world's snobbery towards Lowry. So it did make me laugh when I saw that the gift shop was selling flat caps. Perhaps not dispelling snobbery entirely, then.
Anyway, Samuel was still asleep when we left the exhibition, so I decided to use the opportunity to give some Turners a quick shufty.
Then I headed down to the cafe and managed to get a piece of cake in before my little masterpiece awoke from his slumber. Bliss.
And once he was up and at 'em, I gave him his lunch in a high chair, and he enjoyed a spot of people-watching. After a quick nappy change we were homeward bound, feeling very pleased about having gone on an arty adventure.
But while I may love Lowry, not everyone's a fan. When James got home he said, 'So Mummy took you to see some Northern stick men, did she, mate?'
Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life is on at Tate Britain until 20 October.