Sunday, May 26, 2024

London's Clocks


You can find clocks all over London.  They sit at the top of towers, on the sides of buildings and adorn public spaces.

Of course, the most famous of those clocks is Big Ben, the one that sits atop the Elizabeth Tower near the Houses of Parliament.  I think it's fair to stay that almost everyone in the world has heard of Big Ben.

However, did you know there was a Little Ben?  Little Ben is a cast iron miniature clock tower that can be found near Victoria Station on Vauxhall Bridge Road.

Another well known clock in London is The Queen of Time located above the entrance to Selfridges Department Store on Oxford Street.  The Queen of Time was created by Gilbert Bayes. It has proudly "stood at the prow of the Ship of Commerce"since 1931.  Isn't she lovely?  I'm willing to bet that 90% of the shoppers entering Selfridges never look up to admire her.

Next week I'll show you more wonderful London clocks. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

The World's Most Famous Bed


There was a great article in the New York Times this last week called "How to Navigate London's Wondrous (and very big) V & A Museum".  I enjoyed the article because the author (Andrew Ferren) mentioned all the things I love seeing when I visit the museum.  He touched on the Cast Room which I posted about here and he mentioned the Medieval and Renaissance Gallery that I featured here.  He also mentioned the The Great Bed of Ware and that's when I remembered that I had a photo of that huge bed.

As you can see from the description above, this bed has been famous for a very, very long time.  It was even mentioned in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night": " many lies as will lie in thy sheet of paper, although the sheet were big enough for the bed of Ware." Reading that article inspired this post.

The article suggest that one should make a day of a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum and be sure to stop for a lunch break in the Refreshments Room which was the world's first museum cafe.  While you are resting your legs, take in the original 19th century decor.  It is well worth the stop.  

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Seeing the Moon Differently


On October 22, 2023, while I was spending a week in London, I went out for an evening walk when I noticed the moon looking very different than I was used to seeing it.  It looked like it was sliced straight in half.  I snapped this photo with my iPhone.

A few seconds later, I grabbed my Nikon camera and took another photo.  I was mesmerized by this moon in its first quarter phase because I couldn't recall ever seeing it with such a defined, straight up and down slice.  From where I live in Arizona, the first and last quarter moon is always at a slight angle.

So I braced my camera against a sign post, extended the telephoto lens to the max and snapped a few more photos.

I did some research and discovered that the same moon does look different depending on where it is observed on our planet.  

There is more information on moon phases here and here.

It's funny how something so common to all of us can look so different.  It inspired me to do some research.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

A Piece of Scotland in the Heart of London


On one of my walks around London, I was intrigued by this grand looking building and decided to take a closer look.  I found that it is a very elegant hotel.

I walked through an open entrance to discover a large courtyard and this ancient looking stone wall.  For a moment I thought it was an ancient structure being preserved but I learned that it was a temporary installation promoting The Macallan, a single malt whiskey made in Scotland and known around the globe.  The stone walls surrounded a Macallan Amber Meadow.  The stone is called Angus Sandstone, a material used around the world.

The temporary meadow was full of trees and ferns and lots of beautiful Scottish heather.  

It was a tiny bit of Scotland hidden in the heart of London.