Monday, April 15, 2013


Robin’s morning class on Tuesday meets at the LMA (London Metropolitan Archives). The LMA is the record office for Greater London (excluding the City) and for the counties and governmental authorities that preceded the present arrangements. It also houses the archives of many businesses, churches, charities, organizations, families and individuals from the London area from the 12th century onwards, and numerous maps, plans, drawings, and photographs. 

But you knew that. I’m going with her to check out that part of town while she’s in class.

Her afternoon class convenes at the Bishopsgate Institute where substantial material on the social and topographical history of London and unrivaled collections on the early labour movement, free thought and secularism, and the co-operative movement are archived.

I did not know that, but I’m still going with her to check out that part of town while she’s in class.

After Robin’s class we’ll work our way over to the Noel Coward Theatre (a West End theatre) in Leicester Square to see Peter and Alice, starring Judi Dench and Ben Wishaw (he was Ariel in the movie version of The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren; he was brilliant in Perfume; and, of course, the zenith of his career has to be the role of Q in the James Bond film Skyfall)

Several years ago we saw him play Hamlet at the Old Vic, the youngest actor ever to play Hamlet on that legendary stage. Which basically means the part is usually played by actors who are waaay too old for the part. So there.

Meanwhile, catching up on photos:

Robin prepares for class. Looks like a pretty big room until you realize the photo shows the entire width of the room. But it’s a tall room.

Robin and other Rosetta Stone admirers.

Great stuff in the British Museum.

This clock from about 1585 (the dial is at the base of the middle mast) was intended to announce banquets at court. The entertainment began with music from a miniature organ inside the hull. The ship would travel across the table. When it stopped, the front cannon (not visible) would fire, lighting a fuse that fired all the other guns. Too bad if you’re sitting in the line of fire. It’s still great fun for the rest of us.

A colossal scarab beetle from Egypt. 

Accurate time keeping devices are critical to determining longitude in seafaring navigation. Or they used to be until the 1980s when GPS technology replaced clocks. This clock was state-of-the-art in... wait for it... 1960. The Hamilton Company built 13,000 of them. I'll bet they were expensive. And they probably couldn’t make phone calls, play music or movies.

The hole in the chest may have been made by Napolean’s soldiers as they tried to bring down the colossal sculpture. 

Another view of the Lely Venus, from the 1500s.

The greatness of these unknown sculptors boggles my mind. 

Zounds! It’s as if they had a 3D printer.

The plaque says that the artist “sketched in the right foot on the other side of the horse.” This guy, whoever he was, draws better in marble than I do with charcoal and paper. Dang.

So many nude people at the British Museum today. Wait, that’s a statue!
They’re so realistic I can’t tell the real nude people from the marble ones anymore.

I know this is marble because she doesn't have a head. But I think she probably had to be real at some point.
I mean, come on!