Archives for the month of: November, 2013

I’ve been spending some time at the Victoria & Albert Museum recently.  Unlike the British Museum, it doesn’t contain items as world famous as the Rosetta Stone or the Elgin Marbles but despite that the collection is huge and I find it equally absorbing.  I’ll show you just one piece of contemporary porcelain from Japan.  It’s by a woman called Keiko Masumoto who made it only last year, in 2012. It’s surprising to see it in a museum already, but she’s been a so-called Toshiba Ceramics Resident at the V&A and you can see some more of the work she’s made here.  This is a 30 x 45 x 26 cm rice-bale bottle, a traditional form with a 500-year history. You’ll see more of them if you look here.  I think they originate in Korea, but I should say that I know nothing about them except that the name is intended to mean ‘a bottle in the shape of a rice bale’. Oh, and this one has a beautiful blue-and-silver painted mackerel jumping out of it.

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This one below isn’t my photograph, I got it from the artist’s show in a London gallery here, but it’s interesting that it seems to to be able to be tipped to stand vertically – well, it would be able if it weren’t in a glass case in the V&A.08_mackerel_pot04If you click on my pictures, you’ll see more detail.

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Taking the bus to the station I’ve noticed that the London borough of Richmond, where my mother lives, has some odd signage.  Take “Weak Bridge”:

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In an ideal world, Richmond Bridge could bear the weight of an Atlas V rocket:

or two columns of Russian tanks blasting their way across the Thames,

but right now we’re all making do with the 18 metric tonne sign.  The weight limit is there for any lorry drivers to see, so to freak everyone out with the unnecessary commentary is just a public display of passive-aggressiveness (“Don’t blame us. We TOLD you it was weak.”) from some whiney person down at the council offices.

The warning of ducks crossing the road near Ham Common is more sensible. Though I’ve never seen a duck there myself it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

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But what about this crossing sign I snapped from a bus on the same stretch of road. I’ve never heard of the Humped Pelican and Google knows it only as a sign. Surely it’s a whimsical British Tourist Board prop to make the punters feel they’re getting their money’s worth of wacky Englishness.

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