Monday, 11 July 2016


out again,

and looking at the sign, no prizes for guessing where we are going,

but first a bite to eat, we have just arrived at South Kensington Underground railway station, the stop for the Natural History and Science Museums amongst others, turning left we found this restaurant,

which was packed with food, 

a pasta dish for Diana,

a salmon roll for myself,

both dishes,

were huge and considering the area very reasonably priced,

our first stop,

the Natural History Museum,

the queue at the front was huge, a good 20 minutes or so to get inside, heres a tip, walk to the side of the building and look for this one in Exhibition Road, almost opposite it there is a second entrance to the Natural History Museum and you walk straight in no queues at all,

we were soon looking at dinosaurs,

and contemplating,

going up the escalator,

but we got sidetracked,

and went to the museum shop,

where all manner,

of natural goodies,

were on sale,

as well as natural minerals,

there was so much jewelry, 

made from them,

it was like a museum in a museum if you see what I mean,

we started our walk around, I can still remember this case from the late 1950s when I used to come here as a kid,

many of the galleries are completely different,

where exhibits once stood I guess due to the growing number of visitors they have been removed to make more space, 

but some cases remain,

as well as old favorites,

plus some newer exhibits like this Archaeopteryx,

but I do remember this gallery,

with Ichthyosaurs,

along the walls,

 Diana strikes the pose,

and I do remember this case with Mary Anning,

her picture is beside one of her finds,

the fossil as you can see from Diana was huge,

there were quite a few people here, all types of dinosaur and marine reptiles are popular,

as we were passing, 

we had a look in another museum shop,

we were going to buy a refrigerator magnet for our collection,

next stop the main hall,

where the diplodocus is on display,

smile please!

he or she is always popular with everyone,

I find this fascinating, a true living fossil, the coelacanth, the fish was thought to have become extinct some 66 million or so years ago, but one was discovered back in 1938 of the coast of Africa in the western Indian Ocean, 

I have a fascinating book on the subject, A Fish Caught In Time by Samantha Weinberg, it is a great read and of course factual,

a modern day lizard, the Komodo Dragon, I remember the first 'proper' book my parents bought for me when I was 7 years old, it was titled  Zoo Quest for a Dragon, based on the 6 part television series the year before when David Attenborough, (now Sir), went looking for one on the island of Komodo,  

second only in popularity after the dinosaur in the main hall, the monstrous blue whale steals the show,

the wonders of new technology,

as we were walking around, Diana was using her telephone,

to send live video of us,

to her family in the Philippines, amazing!

my Grandmother often took my father when he was a small boy to the museum, and always used to tell me of a man and a horse on display in the museum, when my Dad first saw it when he was a boy he shouted, 'look a man and a horse with no clothes on!', and they are still here today,

we were now nearing the moving Tyrannosaurus rex, dinosaur room,

and move he did,

frighteningly so,

for some of the younger members of the public,

as well as moving, he with the aid of lights changes color,

and rather unnervingly his eyes seemed to follow you around the room,

what a great display,

having said that I am sure there will be a few kids having the occasional nightmare over the display!

ah! baby ones,

I am not sure which of the dinosaurs the head above Diana belongs to, but I would not like to meet a real one,

it is the size of some of them that is so unbelievable, like this leg, just look how big it is compared to Diana,

I thought this display neat,

showing the drift,

with a time scale

to show,

continental drift,

one of the very rare fossils, a Edmontosaurus, what makes this one so rare is that you can still see the skin of the animal,

there was also a display of films featuring dinosaurs,

and a series of processes that go into the description, cleaning and classification of fossils,

a triceratops with a scale sized baby, they look fearsome even when they are small,

 this one is a Camarasaurus,

weighing in at 20 tons it was not a lightweight!

Diana found it all fascinating, well we both did,

we have already mentioned Mary Anning and her fossil hunting, there are of course many others who gathered fossils, here is just a few, firstly Richard Owen, he founded the Natural History Museum, taught Queen Victoria's children and gave us the word dinosaur,

and here are two that go together like fire and water Edward Drinker Cope,

and Othneil Charles Marsh, both men went into competition to find unknown dinosaur bones, The Bone Wars, also known as the Great Dinosaur Rush' refers to a period of intense fossil speculation and discovery marked by a heated rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope (of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia) and Othniel Charles Marsh (of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale), each of the two paleontologists used underhanded methods to try to outcompete the other in the field, resorting to bribery, theft, and destruction of bones, each scientist also attacked the other in scientific publications, seeking to ruin his credibility and have his funding cut off, from this you can see that it was not going to end well for either of them, both exhausted their funds and left both of them penniless at the time of their deaths,

lastly Roy Chapman Adams, credited with finding the first dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert and exploring hither to unknown places in the desert, it was also rumoured that he was the inspiration behind the character Indiana Jones,

guess what?

we found another gift shop,

Diana liked this one,


we then went to the new wing of the museum, the Cocoon, it is 8 floors high,

it is always the way the sign says 'do not touch', so you touch it, this one 'Don't look down',

so you do,

the sign says it all,

the introduction table,

our tour begins,

firstly some virtual books with the collections of specimens, pressed flowers and seeds,

plus drawings in these actual books,


and pressings like these,

the good news is that some have been made into virtual books, 

strangely enough we posted an article about seaweeds some time back titled, 'There was a time when seaweed seduced young ladies',

the cocoon was spacious,

and great fun to walk around, 

but time was pressing so we did not take many pictures, we left by the front entrance, there was still a short queue,

we decided to call into the butterfly shop, but did not buy anything,

but Diana did have a pose,

on to the science museum,

I was asking if any demonstrations of the machines would take place today, 

unfortunately not,

which was a bit of a shame,

it would have been so nice,

to see these,

in operation,

we had a look at the pendulum that shows the rotation of the earth,

then into the next hall,

with rockets,

and the object that started the space race in earnest, Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite, the Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957,

just 11 years later and this J2 engine was one of 6 used to launch the Apollo Saturn V rocket to the moon, 5 were then used on the rocket's second stage and 1 on its third stage,

back to basics,

the 1814 Puffing Billy, the oldest surviving steam train, used not for passengers but for pulling coal wagons,

and I just had to take a picture of Stephenson's Rocket,

I hate to say it but I do not know the name of this steam engine,

but I do know that this is a 1871 Aveling and Porter traction engine,

a stack of cars with an aircraft above,

the sailor's best friend the reflecting glass of a lighthouse,

Miss England 1929, powered by a Napier Lion engine Henry Seagrave won the Motor Boat Championship of the World in this very boat,

and the engine that saved Britain in the Second World War, the Merlin V 12 engine, a 27 litre, liquid cooled, single-stage supercharged engine, at the end of its production in 1951 when double superchargers were used, a total of 168,040 Merlin engines were produced including over 55,000 built under licence as the V-1650 by Packard in the USA, the most famous application being the North American P-51 Mustang which became one of the most successful fighter aircraft of WW2,

revolutionary for 1950 the Rover gas turbine car, it set a speed record for a jet car of 152 MPH, but the engine did not respond well to throttle controls and was very fuel inefficient,

it had a great number plate for it though, JET 1, I am not sure why it has been hidden in this picture though,

this is that actual capsule that in 1969 Tom Stafford, John Young and Gene Cernan travelled around the moon in,

we continued to the far end of the hall,

and were thinking of having a bite to eat,

but we decided to go to the moon instead in a 5D all action theater,

next a look at times past,

although not a clear picture my Grandfather or Garby as I used to call him had both the radiogram at the back and the 7" or 9" I am not sure which television at the front,

an early printing press, the company I apprenticed in had similar ones the this one,

more items from the past,

this I thought was nicer than what it was, a lock for sure but it looked more like a work more like a work of art, it was made by Robert S. Newell of New York in 1841 and was displayed by the Day and Newell company at the Great Exhibition in 1851, it is called a Parautoptic lock, parautoptic from the Greek means concealed from view,

we decided to make a move for home, so back through the space hall,

to the gift shop,

we were both thirsty,

so a quick drink,

at one of the nearby restaurants,

then back to Steve and Kai's home, a shower and a change and we were back to the station,

waiting for the Charing Cross train to take us to Waterloo East,

we were going to the cinema,

we had the platform to ourselves,

and here is our train,

and in no time at all we arrived at Waterloo East,

and this is where we are going, 

Steve and Kai had bought tickets at the London IMAX,

Diana said that she wanted to see Ben Hur, when it was released,

but for tonight we were going to see Independence Day Resurgence,

we were a tad early, so a drink,

some popcorn,

well lots of popcorn, it was a long film! we all thoroughly enjoyed it, the special effects stunning especially with the film being in 3D, we were ducking and diving all over the place,

film over we made Waterloo at just before 11.30, a train then a walk home, a nightcap and we were all off to bed.

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