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England #1. Apples, Jetlag, V&A Hoard

I’ve been in England for two weeks with my wife, and along the way I visited my daughter and her family in Madison, Wisconsin, on the way. It was a nice break, and I didn’t do any writing at all. I took quite a few photos. I’m going to put up a series of posts with the images along with whatever relevant or irrelevant comments I happen to think of.

Views from the air are amazing, and almost all of them are good. Even if you’re shooting with a cellphone through a plastic double window. I like the stripes of alternating crops here, I think they call this contour farming.

My grandchildren caught a beautiful frog near the family garden patch. They let him/her go after awhile.

My grandson doesn’t have any guns, but he and I built some futuristic little models with his Legos. Bascially, all you need for a gun is a right angle. One of their neighbors had a yard sale which included some Legos, and the seller had perhaps ignorantly sorted the Legos by color. So I bagged a bucket of the black Legos. What the seller probably didn’t realize is that the black Legos are the quarks, the tau mesons, the Higgs particles of the Lego world—that is, all the weird special-purpose, triple-hinge, worm-gear, fantastically rare gear-axle kinds of Legos are black. Very useful for ray-guns.

We went apple picking and were initially wondering if it was okay of we ate some free extra apples off the trees, but the farmers said go ahead. The trees were way overloaded, with scores or hundreds of fallen apples beneath each tree. A big year for the crop.

I always like getting out in the countryside. Always fun when there’s a window framing a view of a landscape. A living hologram.

So then we made it to London. One of the first places we wanted to visit was the new Tate Modern Museum, housed in a retrofitted power plant by the Thames. They’re especially known for a vast “Turbine Room” that’s used for special giant ultramodern displays but, unfortunately that room was closed for a year-long upgrade of some kind. In any case the funky galleries have a rich hoard of modern art. The image above is from a Russian revolutionary poster and the caption is, naturally, “KAPITAL.” The Ur-Unca-Scrooge.

There’s a nice footbridge across the Thames near the Tate Modern, and we noticed some new buildings in the financial district of a London. They have special names for them—the Gherkin, the Shard, the Cheesegrater, the Walkie-talkie…only the last two are visible here. Much more on the Gherkin in a later post…

So I had jetlag the first couple of nights, snapping awake at 1 am and staying awake till about 4 am. I’ve learned just to go with the flow on jetlag. I get up and read something, or play with my computer. At this point I was reading Thomas Pynchon’s wonderful new novel Bleeding Edge as an ebook—my paper version seemed a bit fat to lug along. I’d go in the bathroom to read so Sylvia could keep sleeping.

On the second day, we hit the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington district of London, not far from our hotel. I’d never been here before, it’s an amazing place. Kind of like the Smithsonian in DC, or like the craft sections of the Met in NYC.

Like, the ceramics gallery has a mashed together collections of pots from all over the world and throughout history, all jammed into case after case of displays, sorted by style or by theme.

In a central area of the ceramics section they had some modern stuff like a dangling cascade of blown glass lamps, trailing down a couple of hundred feet into the lobby area.

Loved this porcelain white hot dog, tied sacrificially to a cutting stand. Wheenk!

Regarded from below and turned on its side, the dangling chandelier becomes a particle-beam tingler-ray.

A really vile-looking bagpipe. What is it about those things? Tools of the devil, morphed genitalia, squealing skugs. Squonk!

That’s it for today. Back in California, I have jetlag again, and I’ve been awake since about 4 am this morning. Time to go lie in the sun in my beloved patch-of-grass back yard. No place like home.

One Response to “England #1. Apples, Jetlag, V&A Hoard”

  1. Dianne Says:

    Hi Rudy, I absolutely love your sharing of your trip to England in photos. What a delight to read about your visit and the your thoughts of it! Thank you. Your blog is exceptional to say the least! Love it! 🙂

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