Oh, the rocks, the rocks, they speak to me!

Yesterday I had a somewhat full to the brim day. Actually, if you could fill something beyond the brim, that’s pretty much what yesterday was like. An above the brim day.

In short, I three coat varnished the window sill in the stairwell, I put up the new hurdle fence to replace the one that I removed Wednesday, I had a Talking Newspaper and I spent some quality time with some limescale.

In the end, I didn’t eat dinner until 10pm and when it was time to go to bed, blogging was the last thing on mind…actually that’s not entirely true. I remember starting to think that I just wanted to go to sleep but didn’t actually get as far as ‘wanted’.

Today, however, it was back to work for a lovely rest. If you call research a rest. Like I do.

Anyway, for some reason, I had a lot of geologists today. I managed six object records and they included six geologists for me to find out about.

First there was Adam Sedgwick, the so-called father of geological education. An amazing man who managed to combine a belief in an Intelligent Creator and the understanding of rocks and strata. He, basically, was responsible for the Devonian and Cambrian periods…well, not for the periods themselves but, rather for the proposition that they existed. He took a very young Charles Darwin out for a few days rock chopping once, back in the early 19th century only to damn him to hell after The Origin of Species was published. OK, that’s a bit strong but he was very displeased with how wayward Mr Darwin had become in his advancing years.

Following Sedgwick (and don’t worry, I’m only going to give three of them and not all six!) was Henry de la Beche, an all round nice guy who everyone loved. He clearly wasn’t your typical argumentative type of geologist and, in fact, was a bit of a rough housing soldier type until the wars ran out and he had to try something else. Fortunately, his mum lived at Lyme Regis so he went back home to live. Here he met Mary Anning, the fossil woman from Lyme Regis and they became great chums. His views were somewhat at odds with Sedgwick when it came to the Cambrian and Devonian periods but, rather than get into an argument, Henry drew funny little cartoons.

But my all time favourite has to be Lyon Playfair. An amazingly amazing guy. Did everything that happened to happen along. A great name and a truly great guy. He eventually settled into chemistry and larked about with how gas related to geology and that sort of high falutin’ stuff. But the best thing was that he was made Postmaster General in 1873 because, as the biography I read states, he invented the postcard in 1870.

Now, I was going to leave it at that because it’s just really cool that a chemist should take a bit of time out of his busy schedule and Bunsen burners just to invent a small piece of cardboard with a picture on one side but, since getting home, I have discovered that the postcard was invented in Austria in 1869 by Dr. Emanuel Herrmann or by Theodore Hook in 1840 as a form of a joke at the expense of the postal workers or by a bunch of Medieval nuns locked away in some dark monastery somewhere. (Don’t you just LOVE the Internet with its infinite versions of history?)

Now the information I use at the Science Museum is generally pretty good but I think, what the bio meant was that Playfair INTRODUCED the idea of postcards, possibly after seeing the Austrian ones a year before. but that just doesn’t sound as funny.

Which reminds me…at the Talking Newspaper yesterday I read a piece about the strange things people take to the council’s Recycling Centre. One of the items listed was a two ton truck full of stamps. I guess some people just don’t know when to stop collecting.

Anyway, enough about geology (and stamps…and postcards)! At lunchtime I popped over to the V&A and went for a wander around my favourite part, the Medieval Renaissance gallery.

The Medieval Renaissance gallery, the V&A

It’s so light with such wonderful figures in it. Even the really awful things, like the martyrdom of St Margaret, are exquisite and excite such emotion. And here is Margaret, looking absolutely serene in the perfect belief that she’ll live on for eternity just because she refused to say she wasn’t a Christian. Crazy and misguided maybe but still, it’s a beautiful piece of art.

St Margaret being martyred

I was also quite taken by a couple of angels. Rather than being made from stone or wood or clay these two chaps were first cast in terracotta and then covered in tin. This might sound quite odd but they have an amazing glow which makes you wander back for a second (and third) look to make sure they are still there and haven’t been tricking you all along.

A lovely tin angel, waits by my grave

I had a lovely wander and went back via the Indian statues. I love the ancient stories and gods. Like Ganesh who was a bit of a party boy but who accidentally had his head cut off. Luckily, the guy who had the sword apologised and said he’d give him the head of the first animal that went by. Sadly it was an elephant and now he has a big trunk and floppy ears but…and I don’t say this lightly…at least it wasn’t a fly.

But I didn’t want to talk about Ganesh (though he’s such a Bacchanalian, I can’t help but love him) because today I found out about Durga. She is pretty amazing. She is actually the female energy of the god Shiva and has eight arms. In each of these arms, she holds a weapon so she can cut down the evil forces that beset the world. I’m not sure how a bit of female energy can have arms but then I don’t understand how the Holy Ghost works either. I just gloss over those things.

Now I’m a bit of a Wonder Woman fan but I reckon Durga could easily take her down. But don’t take my word for it. Here she is, killing Mahishasura just as he transforms out of his buffalo disguise. (This stuff is just brilliant.)

Druga the destroyer of evil and baddies in general

I reckon our new house just might need a little Durga of its own.

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1 Response to Oh, the rocks, the rocks, they speak to me!

  1. mum cook says:

    Oh how I wish I could go to V&A It is so interesting and you make it so as well. Don’t think I would like 8 arms but wonder woman sounds ok.
    love mum


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