12 October 2018
It was a wet Saturday after a brilliant run of weather, so a day to go inside. So I thought. So did others. I ambled off in light rain, through a packed tube, across wet roads, through a quiet Bloomsbury park, to the British Museum. Bad choice. I’d never seen it like this. It’s a place of incredible history and treasures collected through empire and wealth with at least some limited justification that it’s well preserved and free but everyone knows that and everyone was there that day. I managed a stroll and came across the Portland vase which has haunted me since my last visit. I am intrigued by technology that’s been unexpectedly around for yonks and that the modern world reinvents. One is the safety pin which the Etruscans and others had as the fibula but won a patent as the safety pin in the US in the C19th. This day I discovered another: the Romans had pocket (=small, folding) knives. See one pic here. It’s not surprising really. They were clever and that technology is easily within their capabilities. There’s lots of fabulous gold and metals and rock and ceramics, of course, because they last. But I am also intrigued by leather and clothing and the like that usually doesn’t. The Cairo museum has a loaf of bread! Sandals are not too common but intriguing. Again, a pic or two. So I caught a few stunning pieces but was glad to escape.
The British Museum is in London.