These impressively large butterflies come from Central and South America, and feed on the juices of fermenting fruit, as the feature photo shows.
Staying with the London Branch of the family – in this case in the role of Childminder Extraordinaire – has inevitably meant a visit to the Horniman Museum. And here we came across a small, but quirky exhibition: Cult Hair, which ‘celebrates hair unrestrained by modern beauty standards’. William, 7; Zoë, 4 and I each chose our favourite. Who chose which, do you think?
I’m posting from my phone, and it seems to be taking charge of my photos in a way I wouldn’t choose. This may not end well …
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.
The first three images are from the bright and glowing aquarium, and are therefore bright squares.
Pulse. Pulse. William and I were drawn towards this tank in the Horniman Museum’s Aquarium.
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.
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.
William began his day yesterday by lining up his extensive collection of dinosaurs (thank you, Ben and Alex). Please note the previously unrecorded vaccosaurus right in the middle there.
Then we went to the Horniman Museum, as we so often do.
We had to visit the Aquarium, as we so often do.
We had to visit the new Butterfly House, so William could show it to me.
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.
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.
This post responds to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Solitude
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.
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.
But all the same, enough was enough. Next time, we’ll go when the sun is shining.