Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Imperial War Museum

Every time we've planned a trip to London S would suggest going to the Imperial War Museum and I would agree and say of course and I think we should also go here, here and here. Inevitably I would take over then get too ambitious and the trip to the IWM would be dropped till next time. So when we decided to go into London today I bit the bullet (ho ho - no pun intended) and off we went. All three of us.
We hopped off at Blackfriars (and there really is a black friar - he was probably white originally till the smog got him) and strolled down Lambeth Road. As we were waiting to cross the road I was distracted by a Range Rover with blue flashing lights on the front grille, completely failing to notice the motorbikes and the car that preceded it. For who was in the car but the Queen. The old cabbage and I missed her. S didn't and I know he wasn't making it up because he mentioned her hat. Bugger. Whenever I come to London I always seem to miss famous people. I just see people like Jason Donovan.
The Museum is quite a commanding building and was once used as an asylum (Bethlem or as it was more commonly know Bedlam). There are two large guns at the front but Cher impersonations are strictly forbidden. The foyer is very impressive with lots of different modes of military transport available for inspection.
S took great delight in reading all the labels and pointing out objects of interest (a Rolls Royce engine? really?) and Jack inspected all the wheel nuts on the jeeps and the treads on the tanks. It all seemed to be in order. Though there were some funny things going on with the naming of the vehicles. Must be something to do with testosterone or Freud or something. We saw the WWI and WWII exhibitions and were not surprised by the lack of Australians mentioned. just one small cabinet I think. There was an exhibit called the 'trench experience' where you walked through badly lit trenches but I think it lacked the authenticity of the real trenches. These trenches were rather sanitary. I think what was missing was the godawful stink and I think this could be quickly and easily remedied by a few well placed nappies from Jack that would exude a truly savage aroma. Talk about your weapons of mass destruction.There was also a 'Blitz experience' but we decided to give this a miss due to the length of the queue and a fear we would have to eat food made from wartime rations. I looked at a poster listing the rations and my first thought was that they weren't too bad then I looked again and realised we would probably use all ours in a day, except maybe for the suet. The weekly sweet ration was 2oz (57g), the equivalent of one small bar of chocolate or packet of sweets. I don't think that S would cope very well with that.
We wandered upstairs to an exhibition on the Victoria and George Cross and also the museum's art exhibitions and saw some great watercolours and oil paintings from the first and second world wars and then some more recent works from artists who were embedded with British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Then we had some cottage pie at the museum cafe, let Jack run around in the gardens (look out for the pigeons!) and caught the train back to the village.For people interested in the museum (hello Z) here is the web address

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