London – Robot exhibition at the Science Museum

My back was still not right, but I managed a 6 mile local walk the day before so I thought I would go a bit further a field, but I was not up to the Ridgeway. Scanning the what’s on on London sites I was reminded of the robot special exhibition at the Science Museum, so I booked myself an 11:00 ticket, giving me plenty of flexibility on time. If things went to plan I would get the tube there then walk back through the London parks back to Euston on the return journey.

I was up early, and managed to get the 08:06, but no coffee as the station cafe is shut on a Sunday. I grabbed the Victoria line to Green park then the Piccadilly to South Kensington. I got out of the pedestrian tunnel early in favour of fresh air and as luck would have I exited right opposite a Le Pain Quotidian where I grabbed an excellent coffee and even better Raisin Danish, which was essentially a Pain Au Raisin but twisted not twirled. I was a bit early and there was just one person and child outside the entrance, I joined them and therefore started a queue, which by 10:00 was a few hundred yards long.

Being the second person in the place meant that I could have a few sections of the museum to my self. I headed straight down to the far end of the ground floor, where there was a section about machine learning. One machine took my photo then deduced I was happy (smiling) and estimated to be 50, I was happy to take that. Next I headed up to the top floor where there are some aircraft and a load of aircraft engines through history, something I was not aware of despite previous visits. I worked my way down to the first floor stopping off to look at some of the stuff, my favourite bits are the mechanical simulation machines, the economy, tides etc. The Robots special exhibition was good and not too crowded, it marked the history of the development of robots, from automata through to the latest ones made by Honda, Toyota etc. Some of them you could interact with.

I had planned to walk back to Euston via Foyles. In Hyde Park I chanced upon some american expats plying baseball in the corner of a field. I got chatting to an older guy who explained that they were not all from the embassy some were bankers and other business people. He asked if I played, I was able to explain that I had when I was young played in the little league. I had to turn down the offer of a game because of my back, which was a shame.

I headed to Buckingham palace via Wellington Arch and Constitution Hill, then down to The Mall, to Admiralty Arch when I took a couple of pictures of one of the Seven Noses of Soho , which are brasses noses on several buildings placed by an artist making a point about the prevalence of CCTV in the city. Next was Trafalgar square where I was starting to flag, my back was hurting. I was amused by a Chinese lady shouting at a group of Chinese children having their picture taken on the steps to the National Gallery. The children wee very polite and obedient I think the lady was just power crazy. I am not sure who they all were but the adults in the group had DSLR’s and a 4k professional video camera.

I jumped on a 29 bus for a couple of stops, and had a look around Foyles computing section, but was not in the mood for buying. It is a short walk to Tottenham Court station and grabbed to the Northern line to Euston. I grabbed a sandwich, then waited for the train to be given a platform. The train was delayed because they were waiting for the police to take a person who had assaulted the guard to be taken away.

 

The cosmonauts exhibition at the London science museum

The London Science museum main hall
The London Science museum main hall

We unexpectedly got a free Saturday when a visit from my brother cancelled because their cat was sick. We one idea we had thought of this as a trip to the London Science museum to take a look at the exhibition of Soviet space programme which up until now has been pretty much a secret.

We were up at a reasonable time and headed to Berkhamsted station, as luck would have we were there with a short wait for the 09:18, or so I thought. I dropped Helen off at the entrance to get the tickets whilst I parked the car. I parked a short walk to the ticket machine but when I got to it there was a sign apologising for it being out of order. The next machine up a flight of steps only took coins and I did not have sufficient coins to make up the £4.20. Back down the steps it was a 100 yard run, (I was running out of time) to the next machine, I popped in a card but the payment failed, then failed for all three cards that I had in my wallet. Helen turned up as I was starting to register to pay by phone, and between us we managed to find the change but the train station as due imminently. I did the 100 yard sprint to the far machine, followed by an eternity entering the handful of coins, then a 300 yard sprint to the car, and back to the platform. I arrived as the train doors opened, so a the effort got us on the fast train and spared us a 20 minute wait. Out of breath I found a seat and settled in the the 40 minute train journey.

Random Helicopter shot
Random Helicopter shot

Everyone seems to be on the underground go somewhere it was extremely at which Helen doesn’t like. Helen was taken out on the escalators when the lady in front of her who was towing one of those bags with handles wheels stopped as soon as he got off the escalator but left the wheeled luggage behind Helen had nowhere to go. A few stops on the Piccadilly line followed by a couple of Victoria line stop and followed by a third of a mile walk down the tunnel and the pops up white outside the science museum. On the escalators ascend from the underground we saw a man descending with a China plate with a slice of chocolate cake on it, we looked at him confused, he smiled back.

We already have tickets for the cosmonaut exhibition but we have noticed that there was also a Alec Soth photography exhibition going on at the same time as we were early we got tickets for the exhibition and have a look around and even had time for a coffee before we went to the main event.

The exhibition was very good although very popular. Apart from the engineering model, actual space craft, space suits and other equipment there was personal items and other stuff which I think makes all the difference to an exhibition. Helen insisted on a look at the shop before we exited. To spare Helen having to fight her way back to Euston I suggested a cab to the Welcome institute for lunch and possibly a look at the exhibition of coloured mist which had been in the papers. We had lunch and bought a few books from the Waterstone’s. The wait for the mist was 45 minutes so we gave it a miss, and headed across the road to Euston. We only had 5 minutes till the 13:24 departed.

We did battle with the car park at Waitrose and picked up some dinner. Then we went to a metal detector shop in Northchurch as Helen fancied buying one and last night had googled  and found to her surprise we had one locally. It turned out it was not a shop but someone’s house, we had to call to make sure we had the right place. We pulled up outside a big house call Northchurch House, which was quite big and old, it was on a sweeping bend between Northchurch and Ashridge. When we pulled up the owner was waiting and the front door and welcomed us into his house. We went through to the large lounge which was half occupied by unsold metal detectors and an impressive light diffuser for taking pictures of products. Helen explained that she wanted to have a go at metal detecting and wanted a mid-range metal detector. He explained what was available then went on to demonstrate a model in Helen price range, he did a really good job because Helen decide to invest.

A few pounds lighter we headed to Helen’s folks and to test the detector out and watch the rugby world cup semi-final between South Africa and New Zealand. We only had twenty minutes but Helen managed to get her first find and lump of rusty iron, she was really chuffed. I must say the features available since I had a go are amazing you can do all sorts of tweaking to target the types of metal you want to find.

New Zealand won the rugby in a match with a close score but NZ seemed to have the edge.

Hot and sweaty in the city

The Serpentine Hyde Park London
The Serpentine Hyde Park London

A few weeks back I noticed that there was a exhibition of photograph at the Royal Geographic Society. In fact it was the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition. Helen agreed that we should go and see the exhibition and after having mentioned it to A& C they said they’d like to join us so on Saturday they picked us up from the house at about 9:15am so we could get the 9:45 train from Berkhamsted.

We parked up at the usual spot near the back of the station then went to the ticket office and managed to bag ourselves a £7 discount on the usual £20 travelcard tickets. We could not find 4 seats together but by the time we got to Watford and after a couple of changes we ended up with a set of 4 around the table which was perfect. At Euston we got straight on the Underground and after one change got out at Kensington Tube station. We had to walk up Exhibition Road to get to the Royal Geographic Society but on the way we checked Google Maps to find the way there and I noticed that the place is closed on a Saturday.

Art in the Sackler Gallery Hyde Park
Art in the Sackler Gallery Hyde Park

We decided to go and have a look at the entrance anyway because that was the sole reason for going to London and when we got there much to our surprise the exhibition was open and so was the cafe in the Courtyard behind. Things were looking up. I had seen some of the photos in the Press in the previous few weeks but the exhibition of the whole I must say was excellent. I find it very interesting to see the settings and lenses that the people have used to take the photograph. It was very hot wandering around in the Courtyard which seem to be a sun trap. The hot temperatures were apparently caused by a Spanish plume whatever that is. We took the opportunity before we moved on elsewhere to sit down and have a cold drink in a sunken garden within the Courtyard, where the shade & slight breeze were refreshing after the strong bright sun and heat.

We weren’t sure what to do next so we decided to head off to Hyde Park to have a look around.  We wandered up to the Albert memorial that was sparkling in the sunlight.  There are a couple of art galleries in Hyde park which is something I was previously unaware of. We visited a couple (choosing the shadier paths to navigate the park) and found that the air conditioning was a very welcome relief from the oppressive temperatures outside which was in the low thirty’s.  The exhibitions were quite different; the first was oil character portraits which were well executed.  The second was rather more unusual. It was life size figures of people doing ordinary things, a chap on a sit on lawn mover, a lady seated reading, children playing.  Some were extremely realistic and Helen sidled past them suspiciously, half anticipating one of them to be a real person who suddenly moves as some sort of modern art interactive installation. They did’nt though.

Ferris Wheel Marble Arch
Ferris Wheel Marble Arch

We managed to mislay one of the party on the subway when she nipped onto a train but we didn’t get there quite in time. We weren’t sure what to do but decided that as we had all agreed to go to Liverpool Street we would get on the next train and hopefully meet up further down the line. The Underground carriages were extremely hot probably maybe 40 degrees so we were very glad to get off the train, where missing A was waiting for us stating for a moment she had felt like a lost child.

C got a little bit geographically challenged when we were wandering around back streets looking for Spitalfields market, but eventually we found the place and wandered in to have a look round. There were lots of street food sellers there, the falafel samples were great but we couldn’t find anywhere to sit so we ended up in a pub restaurant called Smiths and we had some great food. I had a fish finger sandwich in some brown bread which was lovely.  The halloumi and avocado salads were much appreciated by the others. Iced cider also went down too with some of the party.

Lverpool Street Station
Lverpool Street Station

Suitably refreshed we had a look around and had a meander through the market back towards Liverpool Street tube station. It was too hot for shopping which was felt to be a wasted opportunity by the rest of the party. There were lots of interesting shops and stalls which will be visited at a later, cooler date.   The rest of the journey home was pretty uneventful. Air conditioned tube (wonderful!) to Euston Square then we had a 20 min wait for a train back to Euston. All in all a good day out with friends despite the extreme temperatures and that we thought the RGS might be closed.

Tower of London Poppies

Poppies at the Tower of London
Poppies at the Tower of London

Helen and I have the day off so I thought I would treat Helen to a day in London. We got the 09:31 from Berkhamsted by the skin of our teeth due to the queue at the ticket office and our in ability to figure out how to use or travel card on the automatic machines. The train must have started from Tring as it was empty so we got good seats.

The plan was to go and look at the poppies at the tower of London, where I had a surprise for Helen, then the museum of London which neither of us had been to before, and then possibly the British museum if we had the stamina and the time. We had ofg peak tickets so had to avoid the rush hour.

Entrance to the Museum of London
Entrance to the Museum of London

We took the slow bus to the tower of London it seemed to stop for every traffic light. In the end we got off early and walked the short distance remaining. The poppies at the tower are very impressive and there was an army of people planeting the new ones. The surprise I has for Helen was that one of them was hers, you can buy them on line here, then when the installation is over with they pay out to you. Helen seemed really chuffed with the idea.

We stopped for a bite to eat at Eat whisly we consulted the maps to find the most interesting way to walk to the museum of London. It is close to the barbican and was probably built at the same time. On the way we stored at the guildhall to have a look at the Roman ruins that are displayed there but they were refurbishing so we had a look around the great hall which was quite interesting. The is also a church which inside is very bright and airy not quite enough though for a handheld panorama.

Moving on we passed through the banking district and on to the “roundabout” that the museum of London is on top of. The museum is free to look round and I would say worth a visit, you are taken from the earlier time to current time as you make your way through the exhibits, I found the more recent two centuries most interesting. Helen preferred the older stuff.

The journey back was for more straight forward we eventually found a tube station and got on the Northern line and popped out at Euston, “simple”. I got Helen a bit worried while we waited for the train to leave I jumped off the train to do a panorama of the platform, just 5 minutes before the train was due to depart. I got some wifely looks when I came back.

 

Steam trains Sewing machines an Eid

Steam train at Moorgate Tube station London
Steam train at Moorgate Tube station London

Being home alone while Helen is on a weekend coach trip /song a long I needed Ian Visits website to rescue me by pointing me in the direction of an event to take a look at. 2 things took my fancy a Seeing machine museum in Tooting and the Eid festival in Trafalgar square I had a plan.

I was up early and and checked the logistics as I had breakfast, it turns out the festival starts at 12 and the museum opens at 14:00 not ideal for me I wanted am early start. I umed a and ahed a bit then spotted that the last steam train event on the London underground would be this weekend as part of the 150 anniversary of the tube, I now had a revised plan.

I arrived at Berkhamsted station bought a ticket and the train was already pulled in when I got to the platform perfect timing, the plan was coming together.  The 08:31 train was quite busy but not at Berko so I easily got a seat by the window. It was a day train and skipped a few stations on the way in and arrived at  09:05.We passed through some reason on the way but nothing enough to dampen my enthusiasm.

Eid Festival Trafalgar Square London
Eid Festival Trafalgar Square London

I was running late the as I only had 15 minutes to get to Moorgate and it helps if you get the Bank line rather the the one that does not go through Moorgate, so I got off the treason that I just managed to catch and starved the journey back to Euston and got back on the Bank branch of the Northern line to Moorgate, once again jumping on just as the doors closed. At Moorgate I headed for the the Hammersmith and City line, the train was running late so I saw it since slowly into the station under steam. There were quite a few train enthusiasts there but not as many as I would have expected. Suitable pictures were taken and posted on Facebook. I had a chat to a policemen who was in my field of view, I had seen him worrying in his now pad and thought he might be a train spotter. My next stop would be Trafalgar square and I figured a trip round the circle line would be best as the trains depart from the next platform over from where I was stood.

After a pleasant journey with a seat I got off at embankment and walked up to Trafalgar Square where the festival was still in preparation. I had an hour to waste so o headed to the National Portrait Gallery I had a vague idea that the BP portrait award was on, I was not to be disappointed. If you are ever in London it is worth a look, it always amazes me how people can paint and it is only when you are within 6 inches of some of the detail that the brush strokes are evident. I have caught it a few times over the years and have always left in awe. I still had time for a coffee before 12 and it was welcome as the last one I had was for breakfast. The National Gallery cafe would be the venue which severed great coffee but tired looking Chelsea buns. The cafe has a queue up part and a table service with waiters in white shirts with aprons, something Helen would enjoy.

London Sewing Machine Museum
London Sewing Machine Museum

I hung around at the top of the square waiting with the masses for the festival to be opened. When it was my first mission was to find something to eat, there were plenty of stalls to chose from I had a Dahl rice and vegetable curry which I eat sat in a cordoned off arrears that the public seemed to think was out of bound but the security guards said otherwise so me and another couple had a whole table each with table cloth and an chiefly view of true stage. The cities were very nice work just the right amount of spice. Google provided me with a bus option to the sewing machine museum, number 88 followed by a 249 to Tooting Bec. The 88 was interesting as it went round the back of Westminster on small streets but past lots of Government offices such as the Home office. I changed at Clapham common, which I had never appreciated the size of it is a massive piece of green real estate. The locals were making the most of it some resting others playing sport tag rugby and volley ball the less common ones that I saw. I got off the bus at Tooting Bec about 20 minutes before it opens. It was not obvious where it was so I had to get my phone out and check the building number.

Shoes at the London Sewing Machine Museum
Shoes at the London Sewing Machine Museum

I went over to the building about 5 minutes early an Asian looking lady was there who asked me whether this was the museum. Then the owner of the museum arrived and said it would be another 5 minutes before it would open. The museum is owned by the the Wimbledon Sewing Machine Co. and is a real gem of a specialist museum. The ate literally hundreds  of old sewing machines from miniature ones to industrial table top ones on display in glass cabinets in two large rooms and a few side rooms. I spent so me time looking around an taking some pictures, it was surprising how specialised some of them were built for a single purposes such as joining carpets or stitching eyelets in leather. There were photos and letters on the wall from presidents of sewing machine manufacturers on the walls up the stair way the owner had and/or is a big player in the sewing machine market. The owner looked quite an old and I hate to think what might happen when he is not around to look after it. There should be some scheme like the listed building scheme to preserve the collections that are worthy of preservation. I picked up a copy of ISMACS News the official journal of the International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society to read on the journey home. By the way if you want to visit the museum is open from 14:00 to 17:00 every first Saturday of the month, its website is here.

ISMACS News
ISMACS News

I jumped on a bus but then decided that the tube would be quicker and jumped off the bus at South Clapham where the Northern line goes to Euston without the need to change lines. I got talking to a guy who was interested in photography and said I should take some pictures of the people to in the carriage, explained that I preferred landscape photography he seemed a bit out of it and it was hard to hear what he was saying over the noise of the train, so I was glad when he got off a few stops later. I spent the rest of the journey using the Virgin WiFi at each station to purchase a battery case on Ebay for my mobile phone as I regularly run down the batteries on a trip to London because I use the GPS a lot for navigation and use the screen a lot for writing this blog post.

I got the 15:34 from Euston which arrived on the platform at the same time that I did with a fresh coffee. I got a take away curry from Waitrose, yes my second of the day, and went home for an early night, tomorrow I am back in London to watch Mr T do a Triathlon at or around the Excel exhibition Centre.

Elvis Presleys false tooth and the WW2 Bunker

WW2 Paddock bunker in Neasden North London
WW2 Paddock bunker in Neasden North London

I have mentioned the Ian Visits website before on this blog, well today we attended two events we we spotted there. Both events are a bit unusual and completely different. First we visited a rarely open WW2 bunker, then we went to a dentist surgery to have a look at Elvis Presley’s false tooth. The day started with a bit of a panic, when I realised that although we had got up at 07:00 to get to Neasden in good time I thought we had to be there at 09:30 but when I checked the ticket it said 09:00. Any how we left the house at 07:45 and the Sat Nav was suggesting that we would be there by 08:55 plenty of time we thought!

RAF museum at Hendon
RAF museum at Hendon

The Sat Nav it turns out take account of traffic it knows about but that is not all traffic so after following it to detour the traffic it did know we ended up in queues that it had not anticipated. At 08:55 we called Katy the organiser to let them know we were running a few minutes late. We finally go there at 09:20 and they kindly allowed us to tag along with the school kids on the 09:30 tour. The tour started by obviously going down some steps quite a few in fact, the tour guide was very good and explained how far down we were and the little amount history of the place. The Bunker was only ever used twice during the war then was locked up to hardly ever be opened again so no one really was aware of it presence and those that were had signed the official secrets act and could not divulge anything. For example they had contact with a person that whose duty it was check the phones worked every week but she could not tell them much about the place as she was only permitted to descend the steps walk along the corridor check the phones then exit they way she had come,  blissfully unaware of the size of the complex.

Elvis and his false tooth
Elvis and his false tooth

The tour took about an hour and was very interesting, the place was very damp (because when they built some houses on top they breached the water proofing) dirty mouldy and there were stalactites on the ceiling. The Paddocks as the bunker is know is made available to be viewed by the public twice a year by the housing association that built the house on the research site which was above the bunker. This was a stipulation of the planning consent and although the stipulation as run out they sill keep the pumps going to get the water out and pay for the lighting.

Once the tour was finished I suggested we went to the RAF museum at Hendon for a cup of coffee at the cafe there. It turned out to be a popular idea and a cheap one at that the parking cost £3 but the entrance to the museum was free so we had a bit of a look around while we were there. I took the opportunity to take a few panorama sets of photos before we left for the highlight of the day Elvis Presley’s false tooth.

Again Ian Visits tipped me off that there was a once in a life time opportunity to see Elvis Presley’s false tooth (or crown as they say in dental clinics). I set the sat nav and after 30 minutes in London traffic we pulled up outside a house in an Victorian housing estate in Bounds Green which had been pebble dashed and converted into a dentist practice. There appeared to be nothing happening but on the door was a poster suggesting an Elvis tribute would be there between 1200 and 1400. On entering we entered into a strange situation, there was an Elvis impersonator singing songs whilst the practice staff milled about with fancy dress on. On the reception counter was a clear perspex box containing a tooth moulding and a bright white crown, the object of our mission.

Elvis and his false tooth
Elvis and his false tooth

There were a couple of press photographers taking photo’s, some Cancer Awareness representatives and Virgin Active sales people apart from that we seemed to be the only people there at that moment. A woman approached us and asked if we wanted a free mouth cancer check we said yes and filled out the forms. As we waited we made sure we got selfies with the tooth and were interviewed by the Mouth Cancer awareness people. We both declared clear so we left with our sugar coated cup cake!

We headed back via the super market and endured a very violent hail storm on the A41 and were back home to good time, after a bizarrely interesting day.

A testing time in London

Kirkaldy Museum Southwark LondonHelen was booked up for the day so I had a day to indulge myself. I have recently getting back into taking panorama photos and submitting them as photospheres to Google, so I was keen to go somewhere to indulge my current interest. There is no point in doing panoramas of streets as Google has already got that converted you need to find views where the Google car can’t get to. I checked out the Ian visits website, which covers all things unusual happening in London. A things jumped out as interesting the Kirkcaldy museum of material testing (would be closing to move soon) and Sikh festival in Trafalgar square, that would give me something to start and time to stop and take photos.

After dropping Helen off at church I headed to Wendover to catch the 09:13 to Marylebone which would not be my station or route of choice but there was engineering works at Watford junction which ruled out the Euston service. The station cafe was closed so I would have to wait for my coffee but the train left on time.

Crowds on London South BankI took the tube to Waterloo as I wanted to make sure that I was on the 11 o’clock tour as it happens the tour at eleven was more of a recommended time as there was I timetable just some enthusiastic people who were more than willing to tell pi all about the equipment. I tagged on top a part that was being show the exhibits by a volunteer who was probably an engineering student as she sounded like she knew what she was talking about.

All talks stopped when it was announced that the big machine was going to be demonstrated. The big machine was about the size of the steam engine in the science museum. The way the machine worked was that it used water to hydraulically stretch or compress the material that was being tested. In the demonstration they were stretching bars from the pavement grates outside the building which when they were replaced the museum salvaged them. The curators got everyone involved in the process pressing the button to switch it on and then winding the wheel to move the clamps in and out. The bar under test started to flake then eventually broke with a bang and the building shook a bit. After a look at the other demos I headed off towards Trafalgar Square.

Sikhi festival Trafalgar square LondonIt seemed everyone was out walking on the south bank of the Thames, but I noticed that the gates to the foreshore were open so I headed down to the beach and walked on the beach instead. there were only a few of us down there. Around the national theatre I headed up to the masses and found the reason for the crowds. There were lots of street food vendors one section for Malaysia and and another for Spain. I was tempted by the food but the queues put me off. I shot off a few panorama sets while I was there as I want to improve my handheld technique.

I crossed the foot bridge that has a railway bridge close by then walked through the station at the other side. I popped out near where Alpine sports used to be and went around the block to Trafalgar square. I had picked up a cheese sandwich at the station then realised my mistake the festival had food stalls and they were all vegetarian. I could not resist buying a samosa though. I had a look around and took a few pictures then headed north destination Foyles.

I thought I might be able to buy the BluRay for Untouchable a French film Helen and I want to see but on Love Film there are no sub-titles (OK for me but a bit tough for Helen). Strangely they only sell DVDs in Foyles so I grabbed a few travel writing books and headed towards Oxford Street to have a look there. My extra effort was wasted I could not find any shops that sold DVDs or BluRays, I guess they have all gone on-line or people just stream movies these days.

I jumped on the Tube back to Baker street and the walked to Marylebone Station. By that time I was glad of a sit down on the train I had been on my feet since 09:00.

 

Oxford on a sunny Spring day

Pitt Rivers musuem Oxford
Pitt Rivers musuem Oxford

Woke up to a sunny day which according to the weather man would be warm at 16 degrees C. A trip to Oxford was in order, a quick Google threw up a Cezanne exhibition at the Ashmolean and an exhibition about the Japan tsunami at the Pitt Rivers, then of course there is always a good browse around the great book shop called Blackwells.

After a leisurely breakfast we headed out to the Thornhill park and ride which is the best way to “do” Oxford from our side. A bus was waiting when we got there and we were soon treading the streets off the City Centre. We headed first to the Ashmolean as it was a paid for and timed entry, £20 lighter but having got some back from HMRC via gift aid we were viewing some rarely seen Cezanne’s. Helen would have liked more paintings , there were quire a few sketches, but was impressed by the Sisley river scape painting.

Natural History Museum Oxford
Natural History Museum Oxford

Next we headed towards the Natural History museum to seen the photo exhibition in the Pitt Rivers we stopped at an independent coffee shop and grabbed a falafel and humus sandwich coffee and cake which we ate on a bench outside the museum. Apart from being a great museum full of Natural history cabinets the building is very interesting. if you take a look from the outside the windows frames are all different, they have a similar overall design but some have more ornate edges than others. On the inside there are a series of columns that are part of the balcony that gives views over the ground floor, each one is made of a different UK rock variety.

Blackwells Oxford photo point
Blackwells Oxford photo point

Whilst there I took the opportunity to take a panorama of the main hall, which also has a very ornate steel roof with lots of glass panels in it. We then ventured in to the Pitt Rivers part where we had a look at a photographic exhibition of how a museum in Japan salvaged lots of museum pieces which were affected by the 2011 Tsunami. They really had their jobs cut out restoring photos and negatives which were water damaged.

In the Pitt Rivers main section with all its glass cabinets full of stuff, and the curators with wind up torches always ready to show you where the witch in a bottle is displayed, I got into a conversation with one regarding photography in such a dark place. I promised to post the photos on his Flickr group.

It was about 14:30 by the time we had finished, and we had had enough of walking around so we headed back to the bus stop via Blackwells the best book shop in Oxford followed by the covered market, and went home. All in all a lovely day out and the weather made all the difference.

Science and art all on the same day

LHC detector
LHC detector

I got Helen some theatre tickets to see Mojo at the Harold Pinter theatre for Christmas, to lessen the pain for me not a theatre lover Helen agreed to go to the LHC exhibition at the science museum. We also planned a visit to the The National Theatre to look round the free landscape  photographer of the year exhibition in the foyer. The day was all planned out.

We were booked on the LHC at 10:20 so had to be up relaunched early to get the train from Berkhamsted. We left the house at 08:40 with the hope of getting the 09:01. I had filled out a form for a rail card the night before so we could get one their of of the tickets, it works only take two trips to London to start to make savings something we would easily do in the year the card lays, the cost was £30.

Turns out I had filled out the wrong form we needed a child to qualify not something you can rustle up at the ticket office. The was an alternative so we got one of those instead same price same conditions just different form! The delay meant that we had to get the 09:15 which it turns out was an express so made little difference to our arrival time.

A bit of the LHC
A bit of the LHC

We jumped on the tube at Euston and were soon at the science museum which is a short walk from Kensington Station via the French style cafés. At the museum we headed straight to the  exhibition as we were a bit late for our 19:20 slot. The  show starts with a multimedia show on a curved wall with scientists explaining their excitement of working on such a big experiment involving 10,000  scientists, and how they don’t movie if they have found any thing until the unblinding of the results a method used to take the human bias out of the experiment results. I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and I think Helen did although she would never admit it. We had coffee and cake before leaving for our next destination the National Theatre for the landscape photographer of the year exhibition.

We granted a bus outside the V&A and changed at Haymarket to the 139 which dropped us of at Waterloo Bridge. The photographs wee very good but place was a bit b busy so it was sometimes difficult to get a good look at the pictures. You soon realise that it takes some effort to get a good picture when you realise that the photographers were at the top of a mountain to get the picture of the sunrise they must have walked up in the dark or camped out on the snow to get the perfect shot. If you’re in town it is with the effort and free.

Waterloo Bridge
Waterloo Bridge

Back on the 139 to Haymarket again for some lunch at Pizza Express, then it was over the road to the Harold Pinter theatre to see the play called Mojo, which had some famous actors in it. You may already know that I am not a fan of theatre the main reason is that I just don’t have the capacity to figures out what is going on. I have not problems with following films just state plays, I do enjoy the slapstick ones like “One man two governors” but it does not take much to follow the plot there. The important things is that Helen enjoyed it and I got a few brownie points for taking her.

It was dark when we left the theatre but eh journey back was simple despite there being a lot of people trying to leave central London at the same time as we did. We got the tube from Piccadilly Circus to kings cross then walked to Euston, and got the 17:54 express to Berkhamsted. Then it was share piazza from M&S a Netflix film and early to bed as it had been a long but very enjoyable day.