Monday, 17 March 2014

Fossils & Fashion - Natural History Museum and The V&A

London's free museums:
Natural History Museum
This creature was a smaller, lighter relative of the Tyrannosaurus. It had the same tiny two-fingered forelimbs, too short to reach its mouth. They may have been used to grasp prey, or as proper to help the heavy dinosaur rise from a resting position on the ground. This one was 6.5m long and lived during the Upper Cretaceous period.

Dromaeosaurus (Running lizard)
These tiny, agile meat eaters hunted in packs to overpower much larger prey. They had large slashing claws on their back feet, which could deliver fatal wounds. They grew to 1.8m long, and lived during the Upper Cretaceous period.

This plant eater was the first stegosaur found in China. The tall plates running along its back and two pairs of sharp tail spikes deter predators. This one was 6.67m long, and lived during the Upper Jurassic period.

Apparently the Natural History Museum is like most other natural history museums in other countries, but such museums don't exist in Singapore, and anyway I loved it. Dinosaurs!
P.S. If a T-rex tripped while running, the fall would probably have killed it. Because its hands aren't long enough to protect its head from hitting the ground first. Poor shorthanded fellas.


The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum (otherwise known as the V&A) is something like a British history museum. It just so happened that a free tour was starting when we wandered in, so we joined in and got to learn more about people like Oliver Cromwell, Elizabeth I, Charles I & II, Mary Queen of Scott's. They also had Raphael's tapestries on display, and an ongoing fashion exhibit of clothes from the 1700s to modern times.

The wide-hooped skirts of the mantua were already old fashioned in the 1750s, but women were required to wear this cumbersome style to royal assemblies and balls. It required skill to negotiate doorways and carriages while maintaining a graceful posture. 

Court dress was made from the most fashionable and expensive fabrics and trimmings. The silks were displayed to perfection on the mantua petticoat and train. Often woven and embroidered with gold thread, they sparkled in candlelight, with diamonds and expensive lace adding to the effect.

Thank goodness this fashion didn't last long (for obvious reasons).

Getting there: (Click on links for detailed directions)
Natural History Museum
Nearest tube: South Kensington (5min)

Victoria & Albert Museum
Nearest tube: South Kensington (5min)

Note: The Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Science Museum are all within walking distance of each other. It is possible to visit all 3 on the same day.

Photos taken with Sony RX100 ii

Monday, 3 March 2014

It's LeviOsa

We visited the Harry Potter Studio Tour on a terribly cold misty morning. People huddled each other as they walked down the street, breathing out in tiny water droplets. The bitter wind bit my eyes and chilled fingers to the bone. Pretty sure the blood temporarily froze at the tips of my reddened fingers when I took off my gloves to take photos. Cue jokes about the dreary icy fog being caused by dementors about the place.

The fog left a visibility of only a few meters and I seriously wondered how anyone drove in this (they cancelled quite a lot of flights going out of Heathrow airport), so I was rather worried along the bus ride there. And indeed, the guy kept driving into tree branches. Then again, those tree branches were so low that any double decker bus was bound to drive into them.

You can barely see the sign.

The queue inside took us by the Cupboard Under The Stairs, just like how we first met Harry in the books/movies. We then had a brief tour in the Great Hall, after which we were left to explore the rest of the studio on our own time.

This post was incredibly hard to draft because I went absolutely shutter happy inside the studio and took photos of literally everything. I was all, "Ok let's take an overview shot. Now let's take individual shots of every single tiny little prop."

Here's a selected photospam.