The Horniman Musuem

After spending Monday at IKEA, Tuesday and Wednesday assembling furniture, and Thursday sitting around the house (in our pajamas) because of pouring rain, Friday morning we all woke up with serious cabin fever. 

The rain and cool temperatures and general gloominess were getting to me.  I was longing for a hot summer day in Boise, spent at Eagle Island or Ivywild, or boating and cooking s’mores.  I had a hard time getting out of bed, and facing another day with the kids.  There was just a cloud of melancholy hanging over me, and therefore the whole family.  I don’t know how to DO summer vacation here. I know there are endless possibilities and places to visit but I didn’t have the energy to look them up.  Our belongings haven’t arrived yet, which include the kids toys and a few books about London activities for children.  The rain also made an outing less appealing.   But someone from church had suggested Horniman museum, which is in our borough and only a bus ride away.   I couldn’t spend one more day cooped up in our pajamas so I decided to go check it out.  


Mim’s new wellies. She is so thrilled to be able to walk through puddles without getting a stern rebuke from me.


The Horniman Free Museum was founded by the owner of the worlds largest tea trading business in 1901. It is best known for its large stuffed animal collection and its musical instrument collection. (By stuffed animals I’m not referring to beanie babies.) The kids loved the animals until we got to the dogs, and then that hit a little too close to home for Eli so I told him they weren’t real. Eli, if you read this some day, I’m really sorry. Let’s chat.


I took this picture as we were leaving and the bus was coming so I was in a hurry. It’s a beautiful and large tile mosaic.

I took these pictures with my phone because I was all self-conscious about pulling about my camera to take pictures of photography.  There weren’t any signs that said “No Photography” or else I promise I wouldn’t have taken them. I’m law-abiding like that. 

Anyway, it was an exhibit of photographs of Siberian reindeer hunters over the last decade or so.   These two were a couple of my favorites.  The one on top is a man dumping BOILING water out of his mug, in -53 degrees Celsius.  (Which is -63.4 Farenheit!!)  Anyway, the water not only froze instantly, but made this awesome spectacle.  

The picture below is just an adorable little Siberian girl making friends with a reindeer.  The exhibit kind of blew my mind.  They live in tents made out of reindeer skin, and pack up and move all the time and it’s just SOOOOOOO cold.  No hot showers, no mattresses, no internet!? Wha?! 


The collection of musical instruments was really impressive. Some of them dated back to 800AD and they were from all over the world. They were all labeled with a number and a corresponding caption below that explained what they were, where they were from or anything else significant about them. I wanted to read them all! But the kids of course didn’t have quite the attention span. I could have spent a couple hours just in that one hall. I didn’t take many pictures because I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to and there was also bad lighting and a bad glare off the glass. But this is just a small part of the woodwinds. There were are also brass, more trumpets that you could ever imagine, drums, organs, pianos, harps, strings, everything!


It was a really foggy, misty day so you can’t see very clearly. But the really pointy building you can barely make out is called The Shard. There are all kinds of quirky names for buildings here. There is also the Gherkin, the Cheese Grater and the Razor. I did a little reading about why the silly names, and it seems to be the public’s response to the extreme designs that architects are using to try to out-do each other. More on that later- I’m sure. All of those buildings are fairly recent additions to the London skyline and so it’s probably just a fad.


Gardens are such an important part of everything. Castles, museums, estates… all boast of their gardens. The Horniman Museum has 16 acres of gardens, including this little musical park where Eli plays bells in his new wellies.


The kids at the bus stop. Riding the bus is always it’s own kind of adventure. It’s fun to see so many different kinds of people.


There are signs all over on public transportation about being kind, offering up your seat to disabled people or pregnant women, etc. I really liked this one- if you can’t see it the first guys says “I will not eat smelly food”. Because it’s awful when you’re on the tube and it’s hot and humid and you’re packed like sardines and feeling ill and someone pulls out their leftover fish from lunch. *Heave.*

On that note…

We stopped at a bakery on the way home for muffins and we were all feeling better.  An important lesson I’m learning in life is that feelings rarely come before action. I rarely FEEL like running before I get my shoes on, but I’m always glad I did.   That’s sort of how my week went.  I didn’t FEEL like doing anything but the enjoyment came once I showed up.  

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