Skeletons & More

What to do with a six and seven & a half year old, on a rainy day in Oxford? Go to the University Museum of course.

It’s such a fantastic small museum, housed in beautiful, neo-Gothic building. I love the way the bones of the dinosaurs mirror the ribs of the ceiling.

Lots of the skeletons were found in the local area.

Every time I visit I spot a new detail in the stonework.

The kids loved the dinosaurs (of course)…

…that you could touch lots of the exhibits…

…but the real hit were the luminous rocks.

Turkey 2008 – The Orient Express

The Orient Express doesn’t terminate in Istanbul any longer – but you can still find the restaurant…

…on platform 2b.

It was built in 1890 – on the cusp of Gothic becoming Art Nouveau, with an added splash of Ottoman sensibilities. It’s a fantastic space.

For some reason (even when he we told him we were English) our waiter spoke to us in French. We played along (spoke along?) and it became a running joke between us. The food was good (but you might as well eat in cheap places as posh ones in Istanbul, as the food tends to be the same but better) – and it was a really fun evening.

St Boltoph’s

When I was in Cambridge, I stumbled into St Boltoph’s – a church I’d never visited before. As a lover of Victorian Gothic, I was in seventh heaven.

Here is the roof detail.

I was very taken by Gabriel, annunciating to..

Mary. In religious art, the large gap between Mary and Gabriel in annunciation scenes is symbolic of the importance of the news. here they have the whole aisle between them!

And if that wasn’t enough – there’s this magnificent Laudian font.

Dinosaurs, Dodos and Sadie

My friend Sadie is down from Scotland for a college reunion – we took the opportunity to go to one of my favourite places, The University Museum of Natural History (OUM). If like me, you’re a great lover of Victorian Gothic, the building alone is worth a visit.

I absolutely ADORE the roof – Victorian engineering at it’s finest.

No trip to the OUM is complete without a dash into the Pitt Rivers to have a look at the shrunken heads. I didn’t take my camera with me, and snaps I took on my ‘phone haven’t come out all that well. We noticed that the museum is going to be closed from 7th July 2008 until Spring 2009.

The talk of refurbishment was a bit of a worry, as one of the joys of the Pitt Rivers is it’s untouched nature. However, it turns out that the plan is to dismantle the 1960s exhibition gallery – full details can be found at this URL : http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/hlf.html.