Sunday, 15 November 2009

T is for Tegan & Sara (and N is for Natural History Museum)

We took a hiatus from alphabet weekending as we were going through a very busy patch at work, and knew we were going to Canada, so agreed that taking 6 weeks off was better than arranging half-hearted alphabet activities.

Tegan & Sara were playing this weekend at the Shepherd's Bush Empire and, in a stoke of genius, I nabbed this as my "T" activity for the re-launch of our weekend alphabeting shedule. They are actually Canadian and we'd checked out their tour list in the hope that they were playing in Toronto/Montreal whilst we were out there only to find that the week after we got back they were in London. It was a really good gig (although I thought that the crowd was a bit on the quiet side) and I absolutely loved hearing them sing "Where Does The Good Go" live as well as listening to some of their new material.

I'm reading the fascinating Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey at the moment and, as we were in London, it seemed like a good opportunity to fit in a visit to the newly opened Darwin Cocoon at the Natural History Museum. this area of the museum was built to house the museum's enormous collection of plant and animal specimens.

After an initial wobble when I realised that to enter the cocoon itself I'd have to cross a glass lined walkway on the 7th floor (I don't handle heights well!) I enjoyed the experience. Although visitor numbers are limited by the booking of timed slots, it was quite busy and as a high percentage of the displays are interactive it was sometimes hard to get a "go". You're issued with your own NaturePlus Card which you can scan at interesting points as you go around and then visit content online when you get home. The picture below (not by me) is of a section of a gorgeous display that gives a flavour of the variety of the plant and insect collections the museum holds and, as I read Dry Store Room No 1, my respect for the knowledge, dedication and passion that the scientists working here must have increases.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is also on at the NHM at the moment and, despite the museum being insanely busy, we managed to get tickets. It was a shame that there were so many people allowed into the room at once as it was hard to absorb the images properly whilst shuffling past people and whispering "excuse me" repeatedly but I would imagine that this is a huge earning opportunity for the otherwise free museum and they need to maximise their income from it. There are some stunning images in that exhibition and I would love to be talented (or patient) enough to take photos of that quality myself. I muttered something about my "need" for a good camera with zoom to Mr B and hope that he's bracing himself for the inevitable purchase next year when I have recovered from the cost of Canada/Christmas!


Jodie said...

Loved hearing about the Natural History museum. Don't you sometimes wish you were rich enough to get people to hold private viewings of places like this?

Peta said...

Belive me when I say that I wished I was rich enough yesterday! The museum was absolutely heaving and must have been packed to capacity as when we left around 2pm the queue to get in was enormous! We didn't really have a chance to look around as it was impossible to look at exhibits properly but I suppose it's a good thing that it's so popular and free!