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

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.

Improbable research – The Ig Nobels London 2012

The Natural History Museum London

A welcome day off began with ticking off some chores. Neil had a haircut and Helen made a Herman. Neils birthday watch arrived and we booked tickets for Highclere castle for a family jaunt. Leaving a cinnamon scented house we headed towards Wendover station before realising we would miss the 12:43pm train so diverted to Amersham for the tube. We did see the main line train en route but it beat us. A very helpful LU employer helped us get tickets and then onto the Metropolitan line. An Independent and a Metro later (1hr 15) we arrived at Baker Street. We were hungry and luck would hjave it there was a Pizza Express just over the road, although despite complaining of hunger pains, a fag break was necessary. The service in Pizza Express was as usual swift and the pizzas up to the usual standard.

Chilean miners rescue capsule

Suitably refreshed we headed to the Natural History museum to have a wander round a temporary exhibition about Scott, of Antarctic fame. The exhibition cost £9 and I felt that it was well done and worth the money.

We had a coupe of hours to spare so we went to the Science museum. I can always fritter away time there as there are so many interesting and ever changing exhibits. My favourite bit on this occasion was the opportunity to have my head 3D scanned then being give the opportunity to view the results on a computer. We also saw the Chilean miners rescue capsule. I will try to post a video we took of it. We finished off the visit with a quick coffee and cake before heading over to Imperial college.

We arrived a good time and hung around the entrance to the hall. The doors were advertised as opening at 17:30 but did not open until about 17:50, by that time there was quite a crowd hanging about. We had manoeuvred ourselves to the front of the queue so when the doors opened we had the pick of the seats. The show started a few minutes after 6.

The Ig Nobel presentation show London 2012

Mark Abraham the founder of the Ig Nobels started proceedings by explaining what they were all about and introduced each of the winners before handing over to 5 presenters who one by one would deliver a speech about their work in less that 5 minutes. The whole things was very enjoyable. You can get more details here