The view outside looks like a surrealist painting; there’s a swan just feet from the boat doing the waterbird equivalent of sulking. Wings half-raised, paddling the same three feet of water over and over while looking toward the goose nest on the bank provoking honks from its occupant. There’s a turf war every spring for those three feet of nesting real estate and this year, the swan lost.
Silhouetted in the window of the house on the bank is what I can only assume is an interpretive dance class while the full moon is glowing orange, lending light to the very high roofs on which are sitting about twenty ducks. There aren’t any foxes at the marina so who knows why they choose to sleep high up!?
Twilight- taken at the neighbouring marina.
It’s during times like this I don’t want to sit at my computer typing away but as the moon moves on, the moment is lost and the coffee is found, I can draw the curtains and show you something else… dinosaurs! Historically inaccurate ridiculous wonderful dinosaurs!
I took my new camera to Crystal Palace as I’d always wanted to see the famous sculptures. They were made in the 1800s and were the first attempt ever to create scale reproductions of dinosaurs (and other ancient non-dinosaurs). They’re endearingly inaccurate. Look at this right-angled wiggly plesiosaur! Look at Godzilla!
Godzilla is actually an iguanodon- discovered by Gideon Mantell who was sabotaged by his ‘friend’ Richard Owen and had an accident which left his spine twisted. After he died, Owen had part of the spine pickled and stored on a shelf at the Royal College of Surgeons. It was destroyed in 1969 due to lack of space.
The sculptor was Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, advised by Richard Owen. Palaeontologists of that age were continually feuding over discoveries, blowing up each others collections (with actual dynamite) and making fun of each other in newspapers. Like the time Othniel Charles Marsh put an Apatosaurus skeleton together in the wrong order and declared a new species called Brontosaurus*! His enemy Edward Drinker Cope never allowed him to live it down- he actually kept a journal of Marsh’s mistakes to use as ammunition… Still, Marsh ‘won’ what was called the Bone Wars- he found 80 new species while Cope found 56.
*Which is why there is no such thing as a Brontosaurus.
A dinner for scientific and literary gentlemen took place inside one of the iguanodon sculptures at the Crystal Palace, on New Years Eve, 1853. (They’re the Godzillas in the picture above.) Apparently, things got quite wild- there are rumours of these gentlemen composing drunken poems to the iguanodon, imitating dinosaur roars and fighting…
I love London, and REALLY love hearing about the semi-forgotten intrigues that have happened there. A lot of my steampunk series “The Ellison Clare Mysteries” take place in “The Dinium”, which is a slightly twisted-about version of London and I like to base little details (and big details) around things that actually happened. (For example, floriography- the art of arranging bouquets to send messages). A heated palaeontological battle of wits and vertebrae surrounded by giant dinosaur sculptures may have to find its way in there sometime… 😉
Speaking of stories… have you read Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman? You should. Especially if you have ever lived in England and travelled on the London Underground. When I have a long tube journey, I play the Neverwhere game- seeing how many stations on my line are mentioned in the book (and imagining what the ones that aren’t mentioned are like). If you have no idea what the hell I’m on about, read the book. And tell me what you think your station is like. 😉
Near Old Street, and St Pancras Hotel
I grabbed some selfies (god I hate that term!) and for the interested, I’m wearing Swear platform shoes, Cyberdog Subsonic leggings, about three layered vest tops from the high street, a hooded top from Punk Rave, Blaster 4.0 bag from Jungle Tribe and on my back is a former Cath-Kidston-ish monstrosity I got from a charity shop and customised.
Have some more dinosaurs! 🙂
Today, most scientists believe that birds evolved from a group of small carnivorous dinosaurs (including the velociraptor). I adore birds but often wonder how exactly ducks find their centre of gravity. I don’t think there is any bird as ridiculously shaped as a duck. (If you think there’s another, please show me!) I’m so sorry ducks- you drew the evolutionary short straw…
I’m in Ireland for half of the month and can’t decide between visiting Newgrange again or the Giants Causeway! The next Ellison Clare mystery I’m working on is partly based in Ireland so I’ll be collecting weird stories and visiting mysterious places…
For now, I’m at the Mothership for a few days working on my Wacken and Wasteland outfits. Now though- I have a date with Jax, Gemma, Tig, Chibz and Bobby…) 😛