Hello! It is Monday, March 23, and it feels like we are living in a whole different world now. I went to work last Monday morning, the day after my last post, but left early since it really didn’t feel responsible to be there. I thought I’d try to work from home, just on web-based stuff, at least the rest of the week – something employees at my workplace have never had the opportunity to do. As I was leaving, staff were pretty much given access to do so. I’ve been given more access since then, and more responsibilities, so at this moment I am working about five or six hours a day, all from my home office. Nathaniel is also working from home, set up in the dining room. I haven’t left the house to do anything other than walk the dogs in a week. It’s been lovely out the past few days and our next-door neighbors have been working on their treehouse, so we’ve been able to see people and have some fun – from a distance.
So – London. On Wednesday, we took the train from Paris, and took the tube to South Kensington. Our Airbnb wasn’t ready yet, so we left our bags at a Stasher and Nathaniel and I went to the Natural History Museum while Nat’s parents went to the Victoria and Albert Museum across the street. We were only in the museum for about two hours, and for a lot of that I was in various restrooms throughout the building 🙈 We saw the Blue Zone – mammals and fish/amphibians/reptiles/marine invertebrates (we missed dinosaurs and human biology) – and the Green Zone – birds, some of the “creepy crawlies,” and treasures (missing fossils, minerals, and the vault). We didn’t get to venture into the Red Zone – earth’s treasury, human evolution, volcanoes and earthquakes, etc. – or the Orange Zone. I didn’t even see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition! It was a pretty frantic afternoon, knowing the museum was closing before 6 and we didn’t know if we’d have time to come back another day.
Anyway, the museum building itself is incredible. A lot of the exhibit areas are delightfully dated, which surprised me. The bird hall is amazing. The hummingbird cabinet is one of my favorite things I have ever seen in-person in a natural history museum. Also in that space are cases/specimens that survived wartime bombings. I can’t find the exact information now, but the Museum at Wartime page on the Natural History Museum’s website has some photos of shattered display cases; “As a result of the bombing raids that occurred throughout the war, almost every window and glass display case at the Museum was shattered. Due to glass shortages, it would take years for them all to be replaced. Even today, some of the mammalian specimens are rarely moved as the fur is still embedded with fine shards of glass.”
After that, we took the tube to our Airbnb in Earl’s Court. We got settled and then took the tube to Westminster to see Big Ben (under scaffolding) and Westminster Abbey, which we decided to pay to go in. I spent a lot of time in the cloisters restroom. Super fun! We took the tube back, did some grocery shopping by our place, and headed in for the night. The next day, we went to the zoo, and another natural history museum!