Monday, June 17, 2013

A Short Interlude And Now We Return

Before our extended weekend trip to London, we visited the Silk Museums here in Macclesfield.  The most interesting of the 3 museums was the Paradise Mill, which was an actual functioning mill up until 1981, using the original hand looms from when the mill was opened in the early 1900's.

What was most fascinating about seeing a 'working' mill was the pattern cards.  Originally designed by a frenchman, Jacquard looms work on the very same idea as computing, using 'punchcards'.  The punched holes allowed a hook to be raised, which in turn was attached to a series of thread harnesses. When the hook was lifted, the loom threads (warp) also raised allowing the shuttle with the weaving thread to pass under (weft).  I guess you just had to be there but I found it all very interesting.  Even down to the fact that it could take 2 days just to set up a loom before weaving of the cloth could even begin.  Makes me tempted to try my hand at weaving, I can hear the groan from Andrew already :)

So on to Friday, where we hopped onto the train to London.  I love visiting London, there is so much to see and do and getting around is so easy using the tube.

Our hotel across the River Thames - and the ferry

London Skyline
We went to the Natural History Museum this time but after an hour we both agreed that looking at masses of dead and stuffed animals was quite depressing.  It also did not help that it was Saturday morning, it felt like almost every child living in London was there with their parents.  Aaaaggghhhh...  Note to self, from now on visit London during the week not over a weekend!

Victorian Era - Hummingbird Taxidermy Display 

Close up of some of the hummingbirds
 These taxidermy displays were very common in the Victorian era.  Although the museum has obtained quite a few of these displays, they do note that they do not actively look to increase their collection.  it would seem that most of these displays have been donated.

Staircase in the Central Hall
So we took some timeout back in the hotel room before venturing out again at a time when most kids are getting ready for bed.  We went to see 'Relatively Speaking' and had a good laugh. We arrived at Leicester Square with quite a bit of time to spare before the theater, so we had a look around and discovered THE M&M's Shop.  Only an american company could take a rather nice bit of chocolate and turn it into a complete merchandising empire.  I had a great time looking around though, as all my family and friends on facebook can confirm by the number of pictures I posted on there. Surprisingly there were no purchase requests from the girls until AFTER Andrew suggested it.  Unfortunately we did not go back there but I will see what I can do the next time we go to London.  Even I would be daft enough to happily walk around in an M&M t-shirt, I just wish they were not so expensive :(

Sunday morning saw us checking out Camden Market.  Quite a place to see, with some good deals to be had but there were quite a few shops selling the same thing. I guess it allows you to bargain prices down quite a bit.

Some pics for our girls: - I think they would love it here :)  hint, hint

Naturally as it is also situated by the Regents Canal we drifted in that direction.  Playing the part of the gongoozler for a change we happened to spy a boat name we knew, or should I say Andrew did, his far sight is a hell of a lot better than mine.  Turned out he was right and Parisien Star and Winton's Folly were making their way down the Regents Canal to Battlebridge Basin.  We stopped for a quick chat while the lock was emptying and then Ellie & Mick (nb Parisien Star) and Carol & Barry (nb Winton's Folly) continued on.  This was also my queue to make tracks to my lunch date, the whole reason for going to London in the first place.

Parisien Star entering the lock

I had a high school reunion lunch and for once I was actually in a situation to be able to get to it.  I have to say that it was great to be able to catch up with quite a few old class mates.  It is quite interesting to hear what some people remember and basically how much I have forgotten. I really am a shocker for names, better at faces though.  There was much laughter though and reminiscing of days gone by.  I would have stayed longer if I had not felt bad about leaving Andrew to his own devices for the afternoon.  I need not have worried though as I think that he quite enjoyed a bit of 'me' time (or Andrew time), rather than being dragged around doing what I wanted.

Sunday evening waiting for the ferry

All in all a great time in London, which lead to discussions on living in London once more.  All that though will wait until I need to get some work to refill the coffers.

So now we are back in our space, even if it is currently moored in a marina. Done a whole lot of washing while plugged in to shore power but have now run out of space to dry it all.  A pity as I could quite happily do another few loads to get the linen done :(  Tomorrow we shall move on, a thousand miles from the city pace, into the peaceful rural canalside :)

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