Saturday, 7 April 2012

Animals Inside Out *Updated*

I've been a bit up and down and all over the place recently, it hasn't been much fun, but luckily for me I have some great, great people in my life.  Hence, I was very tired this morning from a marathon three hour call last night with Mrs J. - thank goodness for skype!  We hadn't talked for a long time and it was long overdue and both of us have been feeling rubbish and hiding out inside our heads rather than talking to each other about it which is clearly what we should have done to start with, but hey, who said stress was rational?!

So, yesterday, I headed into London to see Mr. & Mrs.-is-Thinking with their friend JonBorg.  Mr. and Mrs. are pretty funny in themselves, but teamed up with Jon Borg they all had me in giggling in no time.  (It must be said that JonBorg uses words like cracking and spiffing and I don't think it's ironic.  I did ask him if he read lots of Enid Blyton.... he said something suitably scathing.)  We had tea in a little cafe near St. Pauls, called Tea, and sat outside cheekily ate lots of picnic type things that Mrs. Im had packed for us, like houmous and chilli sandwiches, much to the interest of all the passing tourists.

the view from the cafe, sans tourists

Then we headed off to the Natural History Museum to go and see the Animal Inside Out exhibition. It was so exciting!  Basically, they preserved animal bodies by embalming them and then taking out all the liquid and replacing it with a type of plastic, so all these animals are effectively laminated I suppose. ( Can I stress at that the museum have a really strong adherence to ethical standards and the animals in question were not under any stress or duress.)  So, effectively the exhibit was various animals with muscles and organs exposed so you could see relative sizes of various body parts and even things like blood vessels and capillaries and nervous systems. It was really extraordinary, I can't imagine how carefully work like that would have to be done, and it was genuinely fascinating.  I had no idea cat brains were so small or that gorillas had such a big intestine. Or that, in terms of their innards, sheep and goats are fairly much the same, only the size of their tail is different. Or that some chickens' bones are hollow.  They had a really wide variety of creatures: octopus and a bull, reindeer, sheep and goats, chicks, fish, cats, squid, horses and all sorts of others. We couldn't take photos in the exhibit, but there was a camel hanging out at the front, (near the big diplodocus skeleton):

It was the first day of the exhibit and also the Easter bank holiday, so naturally there were a lot of children. Many, many people, it was quite stifling.  We did manage to go into the shop though, which is usually one of my favourite bits of any museum visit, but we weren't in there for too long because the place was heaving with people.  This is the front cover of the book sold in the shop... That ostrich was massive! (Never mind the elephant and the giraffes...)

We headed out and sat on the benches and finished off our picnic lunch.  Mrs. Im had made some spicy rice that we shared around, and we had pringles and JonBorg shared round his fruit sticks while Im tucked into another couple of plums.  A plan was formulated to genetically engineer pigeons so they can eat plastic. Somehow, JonBorg ended up dubbing Im 'the plum eating monster' and a while was spent trying to find an appropriately monsterly noise for her, I mean what's a monster without a proper growl? I think it was a growl crossed with that 'myam' sound you make when you're slurping juicy plums.  Which, unsurprisingly, was what Im was doing at the time.  Anyway, the slurpy plum theme remained for the rest of the day fairly much. Then we strolled for a bit and looked at the outdoor photos that are up in the grounds of the museum.

This is a Katydid insect.  I love the fact this even exists.
JonBorg: 'If the Phantom of the Opera was
a bird, this would be him'.
As we were heading into the tube, there was a busker playing some swinging jazz, so Im and I and a few other passers-by had a little dance around while we were going down the tunnel, while the boys looked at us as though we were insane.  Then we jumped on the tube and headed to Studio 6, a little restaurant near Embankment, which is a traditional haunt of ours on jaunts to London.  Mrs. Im pulled out the paper and pencils and we had a good doodle, which is also a traditional activity for us in London.  This time we were collaborating for an art project in honour of the vicitms of the natural disaster in Fukushima, Japan so Im and I set about creating a collage, while the boys messed about with a more technological form of art involving grids and squares... but hey, if it got the boys involved in art it was good enough for us.

Caution! Art in Progress!
Stand back, the boys are Doing Art
The boys did hand over their work so that we could finish colouring in, partly because we like colouring things in, but mainly because it gave the boys a chance to make filthy innuendos involving us handling their pencils and using some short quick strokes to get the job done quicker, etc etc... the porn alarm was a-ringing, oh yes.  Actually, at one point, Im laughed so hard she cried and I did wonder if we'd broken her....  I'm sure you'll hear more about the art work we created in a post soon.

So all that was left of the day was for Im to stop Mr.-is-Thinking from going into Nando's on the way home.  He tried, he really did. In the end, we settled for going into Starbucks at the station before we all parted ways and I headed home.

Happy, happy days.  There are so many exhibitions on at the moment, I'm sure we'll be back in London doodling again soon.

*Update* I promised you a pic of the square we made, so here you go. The end result:

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