Morecambe's iconic Jug of Tea stall now has its own Flickr group (photo above by pognophobia). Pictures of one thing over and over again from slightly different angles. I like that. This seems reminiscent of the last days of the New Piccadilly and lately Walthamstow Stadium which was all over Flickr after its closing night. Something so obviously out of place and time (now shown up by the shiny new Midland Hotel) attracts a devoted following, capturing it while they still can.

Jug of Tea

Eee, I remember when it only cost 99p. That's inflation for you.

Yes Museum

More London photos (almost done), this time from the The Museum of Brands and Packaging, Robert Opie's wonderful collection of familiar household items through the years. It's inconveniently situated in Notting Hill but as we'd had a long morning traipsing round big museums that were too busy to see anything in, it was nice to be in a wee museum where you could see everything. It's a jolly wee place, crammed full of stuff. There's no real commentary apart from the objects themselves, themed into date, subject or product order at various stages. I took about a million photos as there was something good in pretty much every case. Full selection here.

It's funny how the merest glimpse of a product can take you back decades. For me it was the sight of Mackintosh's Toffee Cup which I used to love. Seeing it through the glass I was instantly transported back to childhood, going to the paper shop to buy one, unwrapping the thin foil and biting into it. The toffee was really light and thin and would make giant toffee deathslides when you took a bite. It was more delicate than a Cadbury's Caramel so I used to kid myself that I was quite refined eating one, probably with a can of Top Deck to wash it down. Similarly the sight of Mackintosh's Week-End evoked a rollercoaster of emotion. The joy that someone had brought your mum chocolates, and the disappointment of them turning out to be Week-Ends. They were a strange assortment with too many non-chocolates - weird nougaty things and dodgy toffees. It's like they were booby-trapped.

Peek Freans pom-poms

Anyway, there's some really wonderful stuff in there, just ripe for ripping off.


Well worth a visit.

I'm going to stop talking about lions real soon, but not quite yet, as I've been given some good pointers.

Caesar the friendly lion

This is Caesar, a friendly lion from Able (via Grain Edit) - thanks Stevie.

Jonathan Adler lion

Here's an elegant ceramic lion by Jonathan Adler. Part of a wonderful menagerie (thanks Emily).

Look out for Hornsea lion mugs designed by John Clappison, who is clearly worthy of further study (here's an incomplete view) recommended by dick and katrina.

And finally, I've posted this before I'm sure but it's so lovely it deserves another look. The Candylion video from Gruff Rhys where he makes a wonderful paper lion while singing a charming lion ditty.

Satins, soor plooms and Berwick cockles

I've been in the country this weekend, far from modern inventions like television and the internet. To prepare for this deprivation I spent a long time in the Moffat Toffee Shop, probably the best sweet shop in the entire world. Moffat is only a small town but the toffee shop is huge and has more pick 'n' mix than you could possibly imagine, plus metres of mixed boilings and posh chocolates up the back.

Candy pebbles

I always end up buying something I've got no intention of eating, like Candy Pebbles, just because they look so nice. It's very handy for the M74 if anyone is whizzing up and down there over the holidays.

Lark's lion Clothkits

What did I say? Lions. Lovely, lovely lions. The ever-wonderful Lark are selling these smashing Clothkits (easy-to-make clothes for kids) based on 70s designs. This is exactly how I like my lions. Not too cheery, not too scary, just dignified, with a perfectly round head. King of the jungle!

Giant cans

Looking at this US map of who says pop v who says soda made me wonder what a British equivalent would look like. I'd call it juice and would have called it ginger in the past. I think juice is a bit posher than ginger and obviously I'm a lady now. What do you call it and where are you from?

[Picture from the Museum of Brands and Packaging, of which more later.]

Clifford Richards, he's good

I got some lovely badges at the Museum of Childhood, of a cat and a lion. I like lions. I hope they're going to take over from owls as this season's ubiquitous cartoon animal. Anyway, they're by Clifford Richards, who did a lot of lovely work in the late 60s/early 70s including some great stuff for Paperchase when it opened. His "slotties" (cardboard animals that slot together, like the panda above) really remind me of being a little kid in the 70s. I had a little cardboard sea lion who balanced a cardboard ball on his nose. It's funny how unexpected things can trigger such a vivid memory. I really remember the feel of the cardboard, and the way the paper was coming away at the edge of the ball. I used to love fitting it all together. So, Clifford Richards, lovely paper things available from his website and the V & A Shop; nifty robot mugs from The Big Tomato Company.

The Panorama of the City of New York

The Panorama of the City of New York, the amazingly-detailed model of New York City built for the 1964 World's Fair has its own Flickr photostream. The lovely people at Queens Museum of Art, where it lives are putting up some great photos, old and new. It would be great if every city had one of these. Seeing it on my first day in New York really helped me understand how the city was set out. I could have cheerfully gazed at it all day but there's so much to see in Flushing Meadows Park which surrounds it (The Unisphere, the ruined New York State pavilion, a Buckminster Fuller-designed aviary) that there's a good incentive to get out into the actual-sized world again.

As part of my London jaunt I tried to cram in as many classic caffs as I could. The results:

Gambardella's, Greenwich

Gambardella's, 47 Vanbrugh Park, SE3 7JQ

We took a long hike through Greenwich Park especially to check this out. It was worth it. Sizeable, with one big room, a back salon and a whole other (non-classic) cafe next door. Run by the same family since 1927 the decor is mostly original with some extra bits and pieces like the fab chairs added in the 50s. The family that run it were lovely and chatted to us for ages. The food was good - crispy chips hotter than the earth's core and ice cream that was out of this world.

The photo on the back wall (the Trevi fountain?) is a recent addition as Richard Curtis has been filming his new film in there. Something with Rhys Ifans apparently. The owners thought it looked the part so they're keeping it up. Other celebrity guests include Jools Holland, Danny Baker and George out of Men Behaving Badly who comes in for his breakfast every day. More photos here.

The Lorelei, Bateman St, Soho


[Photo by Tsingtao] I've long fancied a trip to The Lorelei after seeing pictures of that weird mural so dustysevens and I met up for a pizza and a chinwag. It's a very strange place, deathly quiet, sitting on a bustling Soho street. It feels like the world stops turning as soon as you step in the door. Good pizzas though and very cheap. Good to keep in mind if you ever need a seat in Soho.

Pelicci's, Bethnal Green

E. Pellicci

Friday, Craig and I met up (for the first time! exciting!) at the Olympic posters exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. He took lots of pictures of the posters so I didn't bother and has reported back in a fulsome manner. I was a bit early so went looking for Pelicci's, the UK's only listed cafe. Sadly it was shut for the holidays but even gazing on its locked door was a pleasure. Maybe next time.

Handy map of London

I took a photo of this map in a window in Fitzrovia, thinking it would be handy if more maps looked like this. Obviously you need to drill down into the detail at some point but generally, this sort of thing is great for quickly getting a grip on a city. Not sure what's in the grey bits though. The unimportant and the poor, I suspect. Anyway, a lively debate is breaking out in the Flickr comments about the titling of these circles with diamond geezer questioning the existence of London's Midtown and dusty7s pining for a mythical place called Tyburnia. Is there really a Noho? I didn't know(ho) that.


We made it to the Horniman Museum, a pleasant bus-ride from central London. It's as good as everyone says. Old-fashioned and wonderfully charming in parts, beautifully modern in others. Of course, my favourite bit was the natural world - full of weird skeletons...


odd stuffed (and oddly-stuffed) animals...


... and wonderful infographics ranging from beautifully elegant

Wheel of dogs

... to rather outre.

Apes coexisting with early hominids

And they don't dumb it down.

I was surprised how many Londoners I met who haven't been. It's free and set in a lovely big park with a great cafe. We'd been to the Natural History Museum the day before and couldn't get looking at anything because it was so busy. This was so much better. I took a lot more photos, none of which really do it justice.

Elizabeth Boxall

We visited Postman's Park yesterday. It's in the City of London, near St Paul's Cathedral. In a corner of the park there are lots of plaques like this one, created by the painter George Frederick Watts to commemorate people who died saving others.

William Donald

The language is so lugubrious, like Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies or Lemony Snicket. Every tile has something, a name or a place or a word that places it firmly in the past.

William Fisher

After the second wall (there are 4 in all) it becomes quite heartbreaking. I couldn't find out too much about it, just that Watts didn't like the upper classes much and wanted to celebrate ordinary lives. Lovely idea, beautifully done. More plaques in my Flickr set and the Postman's Park Flickr group.

What are you looking at?

Grand Buildings

This was our first day in London. We walked for miles and miles and saw what felt like everything there is to see - Oxford St, Regent's Park, Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and so it goes on. Even better than that, Tommy bumped into his idol, George Sampson who won Britain's Got Talent with his David Elsewhere-esque dance routine. I can't overstate the magnitude of that. Imagine being 7, going to London and meeting your hero on the first day. No matter what we do from now on, nothing's going to live up to that.

The Robot Building, Bangkok

A short piece on The Robot Building in Bangkok. One of the best buildings in the world. Ever.

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