Let’s have a bit of culture, and have a Museum Tour. Our only aim is to find Things That are Pink. We’ll start off at the V&A in London: there’s a view of one of the entrances in the featured photo. In fact we won’t have time to go inside – there’s plenty of pink outside. Then we’ll catch a bus over to the Horniman, and see its Aquarium, its Butterfly House, and pop William into the changing colours of the lightbox which was there for a temporary exhibition on colour. Then it’s over to Dulwich Picture Gallery, just for a very quick look round. We’ll whiz down to Gloucestershire, to Slimbridge. It’s not a museum of course, but its purpose is collecting and educating. We’ll only stop long enough to find two pink flamingoes, because then we have to get straight over to Spain, to Cádiz and to El Museo del Titere – The Puppet Museum. If we hurry, we can be home in time for tea.
Diaphanous sugar-pink wraiths trailing long floating tendrils pulsated gently round their royal blue tank: hypnotic: mesmerising. They neither paused nor hurried. They simply oscillated, surged, ebbed, flowed. These ethereal creatures didn’t merit their prosaic name of Black Star Northern Sea Nettle. Who dreamed that one up?
When we finally left them to it, we discovered we hadn’t finished with pulsing creatures. Here was a Blue Spotted Ribbon-Tail Ray. He gently wove round the tank, his flat body slowly rippling to the rhythm of his inner pulse.
William helpfully points out the Blue-spotted Ribbon Tail Ray.
Then there were the frogs. Look at these two Amazon Milk Frogs. They had nothing to do but regard us without interest, as their chests swelled and deflated – pulse, pulse.
Two Amazon Milk Frogs, so called from the sticky white substance they secrete through their skin when threatened.
And we had to visit the new exhibition about colour, The Rainbow Revealed. Here’s William, sitting in the light tent, soothed by the calming green light that followed the vigorous energizing magenta.
Just before home time, we came upon this dinosaur. He lives out his days in the primaeval forest created in the Horniman Museum Gardens. The primaeval plants are currently protected from the winter storms by very unprimaeval plastic, which slightly spoils the effect.
A fine day.
Click on any image to see it full size. These are smart phone photos. Not so smart really.
Ten thirty on a damp Wednesday morning. The Horniman Museum was just opening its doors as William and I arrived, and we stomped downstairs to the aquarium.
We were the first arrivals. Here’s William, wholly absorbed in fish, frog and butterfly hunting. This peaceful moment didn’t last long. Within minutes one, two, then three parties of Reception age school children stormed noisily in. The fish continued their solitary swishing round their watery home.
The Horniman Farmers’ Market, glimpsed through the gloom.
It’s just over a year since I first blogged about the Horniman Museum. Last Saturday we were there again. It couldn’t have been more different, even though so much was still the same. William is no longer a cheerful little bundle to be toted about in the arms of a willing aunt or granny. He’s a running, jumping talking live-wire of curiosity, demanding to be taken to see the ‘dugong’ (yes, really), or the owls, insisting on commentating, as far as he can, on everything he spots.
That’s a dugong, that is.
An owl takes centre stage at the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition. William approves.
Last year, after our museum visit, we enjoyed strolling outside in crisp winter sunshine. This year there was heavy mist, obscuring the views of London. Instead of strolling round the gardens, or visiting the farmyard creatures, we settled for the small farmers’ market that’s there on Saturdays. There were stalls selling vegetables, and cheeses, or locally cured meats. There was street food. Tom and Sarah bought a goose for Christmas. We sampled spicy Iranian tit bits. And best of all, we had an early lunch. Look at this from the Smeltery. Tasty, chewy sourdough toast, topped off with melted raclette, bacon, chimichurri and some onion chutney, together with a handful of toasted walnuts. It’s perfect winter picnic fare.
A Smeltery sandwich in preparation…
… and on its way….
… here it is.
Buying winter vegetables.
But all the same, enough was enough. Next time, we’ll go when the sun is shining.