Saturday, May 31, 2014

Protest Posters at the V&A

There was a great display of political posters in the Print and Drawings gallery at the Victoria & Albert Museum when we visited last week. Created to support controversial social movements in the 20th and 21st centuries, John and I found them fascinating and powerful. Here's a sampling of them.

American anti-draft poster during the protests against the Vietnamese war, 1960s.

British Women's votes, c 1918.

German Workers and Citizens, 1918

Mao Tse Tung promising a brighter future

Angela Davis Defence Committee, 1971

Women Free our Sisters, 1969.

Protesting the war Coalition against Iraq. 2003.

Save the Badgers!

Bill and I witnessed and applauded this "Save the Badger" protest march on Oxford Street today.

Protesters oppose the government's plans to continue culling badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a charity operating in England and Wales (Wikipedia), is also organizing opposition to the cull.

The RSPCA reports that experiments are going forward to gas the animals in the wild.

Power to the badgers!

Power to small woodland animals!



Friday, May 30, 2014

Natural History Museum

Bill and I visited London's Natural History Museum last week.

We went in through the Exhibition Road entrance.

When I saw that escalator I said we have to go up there.

It was fun passing through the molten core of the earth, but when we got there we were disappointed by the displays. They were all text and photographs -- nothing to take pictures of.

So let's skip all that and enter again from the Cromwell Road. Now that's a museum!

Here's the Central Hall from the other side. It's a stunner.

Then we found the hall of marine mammals.

Wow -- it was really crowded. Lovely. But hard to get a picture.

We quickly tired of the museum's attempts to teach us something every two steps.

Some of us just like to look.

So here are some birds. Yes, those are Dodos at the bottom. Even I know that.

Then we found the other mammals.

You can't take a bad picture of a mammal. Bill says this one was the assumed ancestor of our whales. He's still reading the labels.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Southwark Cathedral

Sitting right next door to the Borough Market is the beautiful 13th century Southwark cathedral.

It has long been a favourite destination for John and I when visiting Londontown.

We think the gorgeous Gothic interior is a wonder and not to be missed.

It is home to fascinating grave monuments of the rich and famous of the neighbourhood.

I love this thirteenth century oak figure of a knight in his mail.

Let's end at the monument to the memory of the most famous local celebrity, William Shakespeare who wrote plays for the original Globe Theatre, attended services here and whose own brother, an actor, is buried here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Splendours of the Borough Market

One of the highlights of our trip has been grocery shopping at London's Borough Market.

Find it on the south side of the Thames, beside Southwark Cathedral, in the shadow of The Shard, not far from the Millenium Bridge, the Tate Modern and the new Globe Theatre.

Last week we arranged to meet Elaine, an old friend of Bill's whom he hadn't seen for 40 years, who shops there regularly.
She told us it is one of London's oldest markets and was once outside the city itself, in a borough, hence the name. She took us on a tour of her favourite stalls and introduced us to some of the vendors.
This Turkish stall has some of her favourite olives. The pink ones are the most exquisite.
This is really a picture of the name-- Elephant Garlic Snapes. In this country you fall in love with the language all over again.
Expect fresh produce here, and lots of it.
Tomatoes to break your heart!
A fairy ring of mushrooms -- all different kinds.
More mushrooms...
Here's what the Pied Blue mushrooms look like close up.
Elaine suggested that Bill buy a little pot of nutmeg jelly from this lady. The jelly was delicious and delicate -- unlike anything we'd tasted before.
We gravitated to this fishmonger's stall.

At the Borough they like to do memorable displays.

Prosaic and evocative at the same time -- Manx Kippers. Elaine couldn't resist getting one.
Smoked eels
Elaine particularly wanted us to meet the proprietor of Spice Mountain.
Every kind of spice, including rare, imported salts. We bought packets of Himalayan and Persian Blue Salt.
Local cheeses are one of the strengths of this market. Can you read the label? "A raw goat's milk cheese made by Mr and Mrs Mellay in Cosne sur Loire, Centre".
The Ballad of Peckam Rye -- "A sourdough made with organic dark rye flour, white flour and sea salt at Brick house bakery, East Dulwich".
The highlight of our tour was this branch of Neal's Yard Dairy.
Samples can be had for the asking.
Like this Berkswell, a hard cheese, not unlike a Parmesan. "Made by the Fletcher family at Ram Hall, near Coventry, West Midlands".
Childwickbury (pronounce it "CHID-iks-brie") -- "Made by Oliver Hudson at Oakapple Farm in Bedfordshire". We bought ourselves a half of one and plan to buy a whole round when we visit again tomorrow. Scrumptious!
Meat pies -- wild boar, chicken and ham and wild game (venison, wild boar, guinea fowl and duck).
Wild boar duck Scotch Egg
Now to break the heart for another reason -- wild Lakeland hare.
Lakeland pheasants and wild woodland pigeons.
Sausages -- seche, chorizo and Jesus.
Like charcuterie?
Bill and I loaded up on these British strawberries. There is no better way to appreciate a country than by eating its produce. So say we!
Exhausted, we caught our breath at the Market Porter's pub and drank a toast to friendships old and new. Thank you, Elaine, for the unforgettable tour!