What I Learned In London Yesterday

1. The Science Museum is incredibly weird, like some mad old inventor’s giant random shed. The basement level, in particular, looks like a building site, to the extent that you’re really not sure you’re actually supposed to be in there.

2. They really knew how to design a Teasmade in the 1940s.

3. The life-size animatronic dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum are fantastic. The only way they could improve them would be if they were sound-activated and watched you as you walked around.

4. There are a lot of unusually eloquent 9-year-olds walking around with camera equipment worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

5. All the winning entries in the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year were accompanied by annotations like “Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II + Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM lens at 24mm; 1/160 sec at f2.8; ISO 640.”

I’m going to enter this year, purely in the hope that I can have one that reads “My phone camera, dunno, just pushed the button.”

6. If you buy a five-flavour Slushie from the little sweetshop on the ground floor of the Trocadero at 7.30pm, don’t expect to get to sleep before 3.40am. It’s worth it, though.

7. If you have a successful crunchy candy product called Lemonheads, then want to launch a new chewy variety which has five different flavours in the box, don’t call it LEMONHEAD (and friends)” and make the box look almost identical to normal Lemonheads, so that people completely fail to notice that it’s a new product and almost fail to buy any, despite them being fantastically delicious. (Fortunately WoSblog’s travelling companion was more observant.)

8. “Carbonated Candy” just seems to be a really, really expensive way of repackaging tiny little fizzy Refreshers for the premium “likes their sweets to come in a grown-up-looking fancy little metal tin” market.

9. “LYLB” stands for “Love You Later Bye”, according to the little folded-paper translation sheet attached to boxes of Txt Lingo Buzzy Beans, (“Feel the Buzz!”) which are not jelly beans, are not fizzy, do not appear to contain any kind of stimulant, and inexplicably come in a box which is also a (huge) keyring and a torch (not mentioned anywhere on the packaging) which comes on when you open the lid.

10. The Cartoon Museum is charmingly haphazard, but really small (occupying just the ground and first floors of the building in that picture). It’s cute, but if they have 1200 exhibits, about 1100 of them must be in a secret room somewhere. (Or possibly were located in the room which now occupies most of the first floor and is solely devoted to tables full of coloured pencils and blank paper for visitors to draw on.) You better be really quick if you want to catch the rather sweet Viz exhibition.

11. Flavours of Kit Kat available in Japan now include Baked Potato and Ginger Ale. The tiny Caramel Pudding variety actually does taste of creme caramel and is pretty tasty for a Kit Kat. Comedy trivia fact: Mike Gunn used to do a really good joke about KitKats.

12. Azuki bean is a really good flavour to make Pepsi out of, with a light and delicate fruity aftertaste.

13. Contrary to what you may have previously imagined, blue whales are REALLY BIG. Like, even bigger than a phonebox. I’m talking SERIOUSLY big.

14. Australian Cadbury’s have bottled out and started putting vegetable fat in their previously-worldbeating chocolate, which used to be all-dairy. It tastes like crap now, but still nowhere near as bad as this, which rivals Hershey for the title of Planet’s Most Disgusting Chocolate.

15. I mean, you might have thought you’d seen some big stuff before, but not THIS big. A blue whale is TOTALLY big. Really, really big.

16. Creme de Menthe pretty much just tastes like ordinary mint.

17. Someone somewhere actually does buy Anytime rail tickets. Sitting down on the train back to Bath from Paddington, WoSblog discovered this lying on the table:

…which raises a number of questions. Firstly, this person would seem to have gone through the ticket barrier, sat down, put their ticket on the table then got up within about 60 seconds (the approximate time that elapsed between the initial train-now-boarding announcement and WoSblog arriving at the seat) and disappeared. At no point, all the way to Chippenham and beyond, did anyone come back looking for the ticket. Where did they go?

Secondly, who in their right mind pays £133 to travel between London and Chippenham (a distance of just over 90 miles), but doesn’t feel the journey is important enough to keep hold of their ticket?

(If you are the owner of the ticket, which is still valid for a month, drop WoSblog a line quoting the full number, which you should find on the other coupons, and I’ll send it on. Non-Chippenham addresses will be viewed with suspicion.)

18. Museums being free to get into is way cool.

That’s probably enough things to learn in London for one day.


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3 Responses to “What I Learned In London Yesterday”

  1. Good stuff. I love the weirdness of the Science Museum.

    Your digital camera will most likely actually record the settings it used for each picture and store it as meta data in the jpg file, called Exif

  2. Another thing that’s fun to know about blue whales, but which I had never thought about: Lunge feeding is not the same as filter feeding. It’s strenuous, predatory work. http://darrennaish.blogspot.com/search?q=rorquals

  3. I’ve not been to the Science Museum in YEARS. Literally since before sixth form. Probably 1997. Do they still have computer exhibits in which you answer questions on touch screens linked to BBC B computers? Please say they do.

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