Two all time favourites, and a wildcard.
After my Saturday morning run, and a quick bite to eat, I pimped my ride and headed to the Science Museum. There’s an exhibition on the Cosmonauts there, which a clever friend of ours of course knew about.
An aside: HOW does everyone know about these things? In fairness, she is a director of science documentaries, so perhaps it is professional knowledge. But I swear, I NEVER come to the table with hot info of the next play or exhibition coming to town. Is there like a newsletter that people who drink less wine than me get??
Anyway. I have friends who are better than me, and we went to see the Cosmonauts – wooo!
I recently read Chris Hadfield’s book: “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”. It describes his career as an astronaut, involving three missions, space walks, and culminating in a six-month stint as captain of the ISS. He is *something* of a high achiever (!), but the book was incredibly accessible and very interesting to read. To continue in my self-depricating vein, I only read this book because my Kindle broke in Japan, meaning I couldn’t read all the Reacher books I had lined up. True story. I am very grateful to my piece-of-shit Kindle though, as this is easily one of the best books I have ever read. I couldn’t put it down!
Anyway, space exploration has always been a fascination of mine. It’s so scary, the people who do it must be absolutely bonkers (which makes reading Chris Hadfield’s book so interesting; he’s absolutely not bonkers). Visiting the Air and Space Museum in DC was simply amazing. We saw things which had actually been into space! This really does it for me, so The Cosmonauts exhibition had my interest straight away. It was a collection of artifacts and testimonials from early space exploration, during the space race. I won’t regale you with every detail, but the exhibition is open until March 2016 so if you’re in town at all, I strongly recommend it.
After the exhibition, we had a quick refreshment break….
….and then we had a quick look around the museum, which was of course heaving. We went to see the Churchill science exhibit, which was really interesting.
It depicted various aspects of Churchill’s time in power and his involvement in and use of science; from nuclear weapons and radars, to the science of rationing. They did a lot more investigation into what human beings could and couldn’t live with nutritionally than I had realised.
Plus, there was some great propaganda, encouraging people to be sensible with food.
It’s a great museum for kids, which for me makes it a less amazing museum for adults. I’ve been to one of their “late night” openings, which was fantastic. THEY SERVED WINE! Plus you got to play with all the fun exhibits without having to push children out the way, which I know some people frown upon. Anyway, a rainy Saturday – at the start of half term – was never going to be a quiet day at the museum, but equally we weren’t there to look around loads.
Back down to terra firma, in every sense, we headed to a nearby pub for an early evening drink.
Some of London’s most famous museums (Science, Natural History etc.) are on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, which isn’t an area I know well – but is an old stomping ground for Matthew and Science Director friend who both studied at Imperial College nearby.
It’s a very smart affluent area of London – home to the Royal Albert Hall no less! – and there were lots of high end places dotted round. However, when we go to South Kensington, there is only one place on Matthew’s agenda: Oriental Canteen.
This is a a cheap and cheerful cafe which is much loved by local students – even 10 years after they graduated. Food is cheap, and comes quickly. It’s not a place for a leisurely meal, and probably not somewhere I would ever have gone. It makes Matthew exceptionally happy though, and it’s a nice walk down memory road for the Imperial College kids. He’s already considering when he can come back.
It is great spending a weekend in London, and even better in actual real proper London!