Monday, 27 June 2016

Music and masks

This is the Horniman museum in South East London.

It has an extensive collection of musical instruments from around the world. Although these instruments are in glass cases you can hear the sounds of a variety of instruments with interactive displays around the gallery.

This room contains musical instruments made from recycled materials which you can try. This is a paddle panpipe. Made from corrugated plastic tubing you hit the end with a rubber flip-flop.

Interactive displays are all well and good but most of us enjoy the experience of trying an instrument for ourselves. The Museum has an excellent education department and I have taken numerous classes here so that the children can touch and attempt to play lots of unusual instruments.

When Frederick Horniman started collecting as a hobby he had no intention of establishing a Museum. He amassed all kinds of specimens from around the world. Many of which he bought in Britain from auction houses, dealers, the military and other travellers. Eventually his home was so overcrowded that the family had to move and his former home, Surrey House, opened to the public as a Museum renamed Horniman museum. It had 24 exhibition rooms containing armoury, porcelain, glass, stuffed animals, butterflies,Egyptian Mummies and so much more. In 1898 Surrey House was demolished and a new purpose built Horniman Museum was built.

It also has a very interesting collection of masks. These are from Papua New Guinea

This is a Tatanua mask from New ireland, Papua New Guinea. The mask is worn by male dancers and is said to represent the most important of a person's three souls.

Ugly' Masks from the alpine border regions of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. They are worn during a masquerade to chase away the dark winter. These 'ugly' ones represented the Winter whilst the 'beautiful' ones represent Spring.(Acquired 1952)

Other masks worn during the masquerade.

Carnival masks from Venezuela (2000)

Indian caste heads bought by Frederick Horniman in 1894.

Wooden mask with feather headdress, Eastern Congo, Africa.

Friday, 24 June 2016

We're out!

It was only the third referendum we have ever had . Should we remain in the European union or leave? Lots of rubbish and scaremongering from the politicians but no-one really thought the vote would be to leave. Only time will tell if it was the right decision or not.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Gresham grasshopper

This is the golden grasshopper weather vane which can be seen in the City of London. If you would like to know where to find it Read more here

Monday, 20 June 2016

Joss Bay

Last week we had a family gathering in Broadstairs on the Kent coast. We stayed in this Lighthouse cottage which was ideal.

The lighthouse was surrounded by an acre of land. As it was  all fenced in and secure it was perfect for my 2yr old granddaughter to enjoy a sense of freedom.

Views of the sea and just a couple of minutes walk to the sandy beaches of Joss Bay.

With lots more to explore on the beach it was a wonderful few days away.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Quebec House

 Quebec House in Westerham in Kent was the childhood home of General James Wolfe. He lived here from his birth on 2nd Jan 1727 until 1738. The house was built in the 16th cent but much was rebuilt in the 18th and 20th cents.
Now owned by the National Trust, it has a beautiful small garden as well as a coach house which has videos and exhibitions about Wolfe's life. Wolfe is best known for the successful capture of Quebec leading British troops against the French during the Seven Years' War or French and Indian War in 1759.

The Coach-House

Inside the main house there are paintings and memorabilia connected to Wolfe.

 The view from the garden showing the village church.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Trooping of the Colour

I was away again this weekend, a belated birthday celebration with the family so I missed all the celebrations in London for the Queen's official birthday.

Knowing I would be away I went into London a week ago to watch the rehearsal for the Trooping of the colour. All the flags were out on The Mall.

Invited guests only on Horse Guards Parade.

I spotted the drivers of the carriages having a break and a cup of tea.

Met Tommy, a Chelsea Pensioner, who is a mere 95 yrs old. We were chatting for ages as we waited for the guards to return along the Mall.
The Guards were all inspected

The distance between each guard was carefully measured

Their uniforms had to be perfect.

The King's Guard were pulling the gun carriages

At Ease!

The carriages that would be carrying members of the Royal Family.

Then the military bands came marching passed

They looked wonderful in the ceremonial uniforms

All in perfect time with one another.