Monday, 29 March 2021

One Year On

 The first National Lockdown here in England  was announced on 23rd March, 2020 and became mandatory on 26th, so we're now a year on, and we're still locked down, although there have been periods when it's been eased.

In the Before Times, this blog was mostly about the exhibitions and plays I was seeing, so material has been rather thin on the ground in the past twelve months.

I have seen some productions - via the wonders of the internet and TV: I've enjoyed the 'Culture in Quarantine' on the BBC, which included releases of several RSC productions such as the Christopher Eccleston / Niamh Cusack Macbeth, and the various NTLive shows which were streamed free (I particularly enjoyed being able to re-watch the Tom Hiddleston Coriolanus and the Mark Gatiss Madness of George III)  and have also seen a number of new, online productions - Michael Sheen in the Old Vic In Camera Faith Healer, and What A Carve Up  and, more recently Romeo & Juliet  (Which uses green screen filming to make it appear that actors are on stage together when they aren't) and the RSC's Dream  which uses motion capture and CGI, coupled with extracts 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' to present a vison of how the fairies might appear. 

There have, too, been lots of other events - online lectures and interviews with writers, actors and academics which to some extent replace the events I might otherwise have attended in person. And some of which I wouldn't have been able to see in person, as they were too far away. 

But I do miss live events. 

There are, of course , some advantages.  I was able to watch 'Faith Healer' in my pyjamas, with a large glass of wine in one hand and a kitten on my lap, which isn't normally practical in the theatre, and there's none of the irritation caused by people who won't stop talking, or who let their pones ring during performances, but on the whole,I'd rather live with those things, and be able to see performances live. I do hope, however, that as things return to normal we we keep some of these positives - so productions can be seen time and again, and are available to people who can't, for whatever reason, get to the theatre. 

I've missed eating out,too. Particularly the social element. I've tried various options - one of the pubs in the village, which normally offers fine dining, has reinvented itself to offer a fruit & veg shop (expanding to include fresh meat and fish, fresh bread, essentials such a loo roll and, in the early days of empty supermarket shelves, flour (decanted into brown paper bags from their huge 25kg sacks and to offer take away food such as fish and chips, pizzas and excellent burgers and fried chicken. I've also tried food from national delivery options - Lebanese street food from Borough Market, and a glorious (if expensive) meal from Mere to heat and plate at home

I have also been, on the whole, enjoying taking my #Permitted Exercise. I had, about a year before all this started, made a decision to try to get fitter and perhaps to lose some weight, so I had already been working (mainly successfully) on getting in at least 10,000 steps a day, but this was mostly through taking (repetitive) walks around the town during my lunch hour in the week, and aiming to do more on foot and make less use of public transport when out and about at weekends, while I had done some walks from home, most had been a bit further afield. 

One positive of being locked down has been getting to know that area immediately around my house much  better,  from watching the gradual seasonal changes, to learning where and when to see wildlife, from foxes, to deer, to badgers.

I see myself as being very lucky to live here, in the country, where I have this, literally on my doorstep, rather than being in a town 

I have been very fortunate that my close family have all stayed well. although I have friends who have not been so lucky, and of course there is the constant anxiety, for myself and others.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Devon - Walks and wildlife

I took a couple of days off in order to relax and to give myself a long weekend just after  my birthday, in mid-october

 I went to Devon, to visit my parents (Prior to the new lockdown starting, and we have formed a support bubble, so all allowed) 

The weather wasn't forecast to be great, but was pretty good when I arrived, so I suggested that we go out that afternoon and we went to the RHS Garden at Rosemoor, to look at all the autumn colours. There  are some formal gardens - the roses are past their best, but the new cool' ( water features, and plants in blues and purples and grey-greens) and 'hot' garden (reds, yellows and oranges) were looking good.

Photo shows a plant with bright oyellow/orange flowers (Yellow 'Red Hot Pokers'
'Red Hot Pokers'

And in addition there is parkland and woodland, and the beginnings of an arboretum.

So of course there are lots of trees and bushes with wonderful foliage.

photo of Red maple leaves on a partially bare branch, against a grey sky
Acer leaves 

There is a small lake, surrounded by trees.

And    a little lake, and there's a hill with woods. And quite a lot of birds, most of  the ones I saw were robins. We finished up with the kitchen garden, full of ornamental cabbages, and herbs, 

We had a pleasant, if slightly grey and chilly walk.

Then the following day we went out again, this time to Heddon Valley / Heddonmouth, where we walked through the woods and dow to the sea, and saw a seal!

 We spent most of  Sunday indoors cooking stuff  and then eating them, then on Monday, when the weather was starting to deteriorate a bit, we went to Morte Pointe and went for a very windy, bracing walk along the cliffs, 

There were clear views across to Lundy, and we saw 4 or 5 seals; one out on the rocks, and the others swimming and hanging out in the sea nearby. Apparently they're there a lot.

They seem so much more exciting and strange, than seeing 'normal' wildlife like deer and foxes! 

It was wonderful to be able to spend a few days just relaxing, and spending time with family.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Autumn is here

My regular walks have petered out a little, the arrival of a new kitten is very distracting, and makes staying in the house in the evenings much more attractive, and in addition, the nights are drawing in,and there has been a lot of rain, both of which also reduce the opportunities for pleasant walks! 

photo of a grass field with trees and bushes to both sides and in the distance, all under a blue sky with a few small clouds

However, when I get the chance I am still going out. During the week, when it doesn't rain I often take the opportunity to go for a short walk near the office,


photo shows a sun-lit path under green trees. The path is pale coloured sand or gravel, with dappled sunlight and shadows from the trees

There is a community park, which has some scrubland and open space, and various footpaths, so I can take half an hour of my lunch break and get some fresh air, and sometimes sunshine.

photo shows a small toadstool with a white stem, and a red cap with white spots (Fly Agaraic) against a background of bright green moss

I have been spotting different types of mushroom and toadstool, some more dramatic looking than others, and have come across some unexpected sculptures, too (unexcepted not least as this one is off the path and not visible from it, I only found it because I turned up a little muddy gap between trees to get off the path as there were some other people coming and it isn't very wide. Perhaps it is more visible from the path in winter, when the foliage dies back.

Monochrome photo of a  sculpture of a man riding a bicycle. The sculpture is flat, cut from sheet metal, and stands in front of trees and bushes

This Saturday morning, I woke up rather earlier than I consider reasonable for a weekend, and found that there was a rather nice sunrise and a beautiful bright, crisp morning, and contemplated going out for an early(ish) morning walk. However, by the time I had washed my face and cleaned my teeth the sun had gone in, so I went back to bed with a book and a couple of cats for a bit, then went for the walk after breakfast instead.

It was still a nice day. For the first half of my walk the sky remained grey and overcast, and it was definitely chilly,  but enjoyable - there was still heavy dew on the grass, and lots of mud.

photo shows a single brown oak leaf, lying on grass. There are several large drops of water on the leaf

There were also some lovely autumn colours - yellow gorse flowers, and bright red hipsand haws.

photo shows gorse bush with bright yellow flowers, againt a background of bramble bushes with dark green leaves

As I continued, the sun came out, so the second half of my walk was made in bright sunshine, under a brilliant blue sky. 

It wasn't the right time of day for foxes or badgers or deer, but I did see lots of birds, and several cheeky squirrels.

And the sun was still out when I got back home, so I was able to put some washing on the line, and to let Vashti explore the garden a bit. 

Photo shows two black and white cats on a paved path. The larger cat, on the left, is walking away from the photographer, the smaller cat is facing away but slightly turned, so her left side can be seen.

Loki came out too, whether for company, or in a purely supervisory capacity,I am unsure. I don't think Vashti approves of wet grass, although she does enjoy visiting the Outdoors, at least for short periods. I weighed her today and she is now 2.1kg so she should be able to have her op soon - the vets will put her microchip in at the same time, and I shall then be able to start teaching her the Way of The Cat-Flap. 

Two balck and white carts, smaller on the left, facing each other. The smaller cat is on a paved path, the larger standing on grass

The afternoon turned pretty grey, but it was a beautiful morning. 

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Faith Healer - Old Vic in Camera

 For obvious reasons, I have not been to the theatre much this year - and not at all since March. I have been watching many of the productions available online and on TV - I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the NTLive productions, such as Coriolanus, again, and watching some of the RSC shows available on the BBC's 'Culture in Quarantine' stream, but I have been missing live theatre a lot. 

photo shows an open laptop, the screen is balck with the words "Faith Healer" in large white capital letters, below which in smaller type reads 'a play by Brian Friel' To the right of the laptop a black and white kitten is sitting on a blue chaor , the kitten is looking at the laptop screen and it's head obscures one corner of the screen

So, the Old Vic has been doing a short run  'Old Vic In Camera'  of plays performed live on stage to an empty theatre and a bunch of cameras.

I booked a ticket, and duly got my 'Zoom' link to watch live.  It was an interesting experience - I mean, a kitten blocking my view is not something which normally happens at the theatre, but on the other hand, the seating was much more comfortable than most theatres, and the refreshments cheaper! 

The play itself is interesting - it consists of 4 monologues, by Francis Hardy, the titular Faith Healer (played by Michael Sheen) his wife, Grace (played by Indira Varna) and his manager, Teddy, (played by David Threlfall),and then Hardy again,  as they reminisce about events in their life on the road, and we the audience get to gradually  unpick the contradictory stories they tell, and to get drawn into their love and grief and loss.

The intimacy created by the filming, and the power of the actors, made it a very intense, gripping play, and while there were a few issues with the format - some distracting super close-up, zoomed in so you could not see the whole of the actor's face, for instance, and one or two moments when there was interference with clothing brushing against mikes, but over all it worked well, and I did like the feel of watching live rather than a recorded or edited performance. 

I shall keep an eye out for others.

I admit, I would not be willing to pay as much as for a 'real' theatre ticket, but was happy to pay at the lower end of the available range. I would be happy of theatres were to consider similar options even when we are once again able to return to 'normal' live events - there are ,I suspect, a lot of plays productions I wouldn't travel to London and pa £40+ for a ticket for, but would be happy to pay £10-£15 to watch live on the small screen, and no doubt there are a lot of others who can't get to the theatre who would do the same. Perhaps a fixed camera, 'sitting' in the centre of the Royal Circle or equivalent during a live performance,  could become the norm, to widen the range of options for those of us who love live theatre!

I am slow writing up this post - I watched on 19th Sept, and the run was only for  4 days, They will be ding 'A Christmas Carol' at Christmas, however, and while tickets aren't yet on sale, you can register to be updated when they are, and, of course, as the event is online, you can watch from anywhere in the world, although as it's live, your timezone may dictate whether or not it is at a suitable time of the da y or night! (Details on the Old Vic website )

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Autumn, kittens, deer and a hedgehog

 I have been a bit remiss with blogging, because there isn't a great deal happening - although I am getting a lot of entertainment from Vashti's adventures.

photo of small black and white kitten climbing up a glass panelled interior door, kitten is clinging to the second frame up

She and Loki are getting along better - mostly because Loki is tolerating Vashti's bounciness and adopting a policy of mostly ignoring her until she bounces too close or too often, at which point he will hiss and (usually) move away, and occasionally growl and/or cuff her around the ears if she doesn't take the hint.

                               balack and white kitten in left foreground looking startled, with arched back, looking towards large black and white cat sitting and ignoring it.

Vashti is  not noticeable daunted by any of it, but will generally cower a bit to show willing, before bouncing at home again as soon as he turns away!

Two black and whte cats, one small (on left) and one large (on right) sharing a footstool, cats are touching noses

I have been going out for walks as much as possible, although with the nights starting to draw in, and the distractions caused by a kitten at home I have been out less frequently!

I haven't seen the badgers for a while - I suspect that now the ground isn't so dry, it's easier for them to find food so they are perhaps not ranging quite so far, and pf course th young ones will be getting older and more wary. 

I have, however, continued to see deer quite regularly.

photo of Roe deer standing in field of stubble. Deer is side on to camera and facing rightis f

The deer continue to be spectacularly bouncy, 'pronking' vigourously.

I've also seen a hedgehog - I went out to put the bins out rather late, and heard a lot of rustling, in the hedge, which I assumed was Loki, so went to greet him, and found it was in fact a hedgehog, so I gave it some cat biscuits and wished it well. I haven't seen it again, but it makes me happy to know that there are hedgehogs (or a hedgehog) visiting the garden.

It is starting to look and feel quite autumnal - it's definitely chilly in the mornings, and I may have to consider putting the heating on soon, although I am hoping to wait until October!

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Foxes and Badgers and Kittens, Oh My!

I have continued, despite the bad examples set by our politicians and their advisers. to stick to all of the guidance and lockdown rules, and have been remaining at home except for my daily walk, and occasional forays to the office when it hasn't been possible to work from home. 

I have been doing a certain amount of gardening - I now have containers with tomato plants, pea plants and  courgette and carrots and a plant which I thought was going to be patty-pan squash but which I have now determined (on the basis that it has produced several small cucumbers) is in fact a cucumber plant. I had planted both, but clearly somewhere along the line, what with thinning and planting out seedlings,my labelling obviously went awry. 

Since my last post, things have moved on. I continued to see the fox cubs for a while, until they got bigger (as did the nettles and brambles near their den) and harder to spot - the last few times I saw them they were some distance from the den and getting much more cautious.

I have also been seeing badgers quite a bit - I was fairly sure that there were some living in the woods as I had seen what I thought was the entrance to a sett, but didn't expect  to see the badgers themselves,until I went for a walk later in the evening than usual and saw one out in a field digging for earthworms. 

Then after that I saw them quite a lot - they are surprisingly hard to spot, unless they are looking straight at you, as their grey fur is excellent camouflage, but if you are walking quietly on your own they make quite alot of noise digging and crunching roots and things. 

And from time to time, if they are young and playful, making loud squeaky noises, as caught on video one evening in June!
Squeaky Badger

I then also found a second sett in a different area, and struck lucky one evening and saw about 5 or 6 badgers within about 15 minutes, including one who was industriously clearing out the entrance to the sett.

photo of a (european) badger standing in long grass
Of course, with no consideration for passing humans wanting to take pictures, they had built their sett in a ditch surrounded by lots of dense foliage, and had then emerged at twilight, so I couldn't take any very good photographs...

As lockdown here has eased, I am no longer working from home, but am now mainly in the office, where we have gallons of hand-sanitiser, lots of rules about keeping at least 2 metres apart, boxes of masks and restrictions on the number of people allowed in at any time. Fortunately we have older buildings - so most of us have individual rooms, or rooms large enough to stay distanced, and no aircon, so we can avoid major risks.

I have become used to attending court by phone or video instead of in person.

Meanwhile, a new member of my household has arrived.

You know how these things go. You casually mention in passing to one person that you are considering whether getting a second cat would be a good idea, and the next thing you know, a co-worker shows you a photo of a kitten they just happen to have going spare, and then a new furry overlord arrives in your home.

This one Vashti, She is, as of today, 10 weeks old and weighs just under 2lbs.

Loki is not yet convinced that this is a good idea, and there has been a good deal of hissing, but we are slowly making progress. I m ensuring that Loki gets lots of attention, extra treats and some kitten-free time with me, and am cautiously optimistic!

I have also, finally, after a long delay, had the guttering on my house replaced. It was very old and would leak and overflow badly in several places, but I had difficulty finding someone to do the work, then when I did, Covid happened and everything got put on hold.
Of course, sine the new gutters went up last week we haven't had any heavy rain so I have not yet seen them in action, but knowing they are up is a huge weight off my mind, as water pouring down the walls and not into the drains is not a good thing.

I am still going out for walks on a daily basis, kitten or no, but am seeing less wildlife at present - I think perhaps the young and incautious are growing up, and there is more food available so they don't have to forage as far! 

All in all, and considering that we are still dealing with a global pandemic, things are OK. Mercifully, my family remain well. Running a business in these circumstances has its challenges, and I am sure that, like many businesses, it will not be a great year, but compared to what many are coping with, I am doing alright. 

Friday, 8 May 2020

A Global Pandemic, Social Distancing and spending more time with nature

I have not been blogging recently - partly, of course, because my usual subject matter of theatre trips and exhibitions hasn't been available, (although there are a couple of shows I saw just before all this started, which I had not got around to blogging about), partly because I haven't had the mental energy;   and partly as I have been working from home and spending 7 hours a day staring at a laptop screen, so doing more of it for leisure hasn't really appealed. 

 It's a very strange time to be living through. I am angry and ashamed at how poorly our government has dealt with the pandemic, the failures in providing adequate PPE, the lack of testing and tracing, and so much more, and,in common, I suspect with most people, I am worried for y family and friends. (My close family are all currently well,mercifully, but knowing how many work in front line medical roles, or have pre-exisiting conditions or vulnerabilities is  a source of constant, underlying anxiety. And sadly, I have friends who have not been so fortunate.)

And of course, it's a situation which adds all sorts of new stresses and problems to being a business owner - I admit to having felt a certain amount of envy of those who are furloughed and have a steady income, at least for the present!

I am primarily working from home - we have furloughed some of our staff, and those of us who are working are, where possible, working from home, while means that when it isn't possible, the office is empty enough that it's possible to maintain appropriate distancing. When I have needed to go in, I've mostly done son during the evening or at weekends, when it is quieter or even empty. After 3 days f working from my dining table, I cleared off my old desk (bought for me by my parents, when I was around 12 or 13) in order to be able to separate my work space from my living space, and a few days after that I manhandled my office chair into my car to bring it home, as sitting at a dining chair for hours a day is...not good. I's much harder work, and less efficient, than being able to work normally from the office, but it's the best I can do right now.

However, it is not all gloom and doom. As well as the stress and anxiety there are positives. I am deeply grateful that I live where I do, in a rural area, with a house large enough that I don't feel too confined, and with the luxury of a garden. I would have found lockdown in my previous house, which was smaller, and where several of the neighbours lived loud and at times volatile lives, and their children had nowhere much to play except the street, much harder. 

I already had a good relationship with both sets of immediate neighbours before this started,  which has been a boon - we've checked in on each other,  shared  relevant information about services available in the village, and each time we have a grocery delivery or click-and-collect have checked in to see if the others need anything adding. 

My right hand neighbours have even been delivering a paper to me, on Saturdays, (I had mentioned, in passing, that  it was the non-essential purchase I was missing, and as they normally do a run to the village shop for essentials on a Saturday morning,they've been buying a paper and putting it through my door, which is lovely.

Photo of a bare chestnut tree against a blue sky
I also feel very lucky that I am am able to go out every day for my one,  government endorsed, Permitted Exercise each day, and that I have such lovely countryside in which to walk. It's rural enough that most days, I either don't see anyone, or just see  one or two people walking or walking dogs, and there is plenty of space to stay over 2m apart.

There are lots of public footpaths, so I can vary my route, and I've enjoyed watching the fields, woods and hedgerows change as Spring advances, from bare branches and frosty mornings, when lockdown started, through the blooming of primroses,  blackthorn and hawthorn, then wild violets, bluebells and wild garlic, and the trees coming into leaf, and now, flower. 

Photo of a large chestnut tree in full leaf

I have also enjoyed seeing more wildlife - initially, it was mostly rabbits, in all the fields, and commoner types of bird, such as robins, blackbirds, bluetits  and sparrows.

Chaffinch perched on a bare hedge (photo)

I have also spotted wrens several times,which gives me great pleasure. I love wrens, they are so tiny, and so very bolshy and territorial despite their size. (also uncooperative - I haven't managed to get a picture of any of them, yet) 
Photo of a Great Tit on a conifer branch, against a blue sky
Great Tit

However, as Spring has advanced, and I have explored more and found less frequented paths, I have also seen deer - I've been getting better at walking softly and appearing unthreatening, so I can get closer without causing them to flee.

Photo of a roe deer buck, with bluebells and wild garlic flowers
Roe Deer bucj

There have been foxes, gorgeous, bright red ones, and smaller, leaner ones.

And, in the past week, I even found a den where there are a family of fox cubs
photo of a small fox cub looking out from a hole under the roots of a beech tree

I am not yet quite sure how many there are. I am absolutely certain there are 3, as I have seen three of them at the same time. 
Photo of a red fox cub, sitting and looking to the right, in front of tree root

I am nearly sure that there are four, and there might be as many as five. 

Two fox cubs in front of tree roots, stinging nettles in foreground (photo)

They are adorable - just like puppies, when they relax and start playing they yip and bark and make little squeaky noises, and while they are wary enough to disappear back into their earth if I move to fast or get too close, if I am patient, they will often re-emerge 

I saw a rather thin and harassed looking fox in the same field, which I assumed was their mother, but I have since seen another, much larger and redder and sleeker one, too, and have read up and learned that foxes cooperate to raise their cubs, and there will often be a group of 4 or 5 foxes (male and females) cooperating to raise one litter of cubs.

They sometimes have more than one vixen who has a litter, and raise them together, co-parenting fox style, but generally just the most important vixen will have cubs. (Nature being what it is, the strongest cubs get most food and attention,and develop faster - I am hoping that all of 'mine' survive - the smallest of them is (seen in my first photo) is extremely cute, and I really he hope that s/he makes it, as well as the bigger ones.

I have a bigger selection of wildlife pictures on flickr.

My neighbours tell me that they've seen a hedgehog in their garden - I hope it visits mine, too, although I haven't seen it so far, and I am hoping I might manage to see a badger at some stage. 

I must go now - my neighbours have just arrived to deliver some scones and cake they have been baking, (from a socially approved distance, of course! )

How is everyone else's lock down treating them?

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Tutankhamun - Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

I wasn't around for the visit made by Tutankhamun's death mask and other artifacts to the British Museum, in 1972, although I did see the 2007 exhibition at the O2 - so I wanted to see this new exhibition, especially as it is being touted as the last time that the artifacts will leave Egypt.

I booked some time off work in order to be able to travel the evening before, and booked the earliest slot for the exhibition, in the hope that the exhibition might be a little quieter at that time. (which also meant I ended up having a pleasant walk to the gallery in the morning ) 

I was very impressed with the exhibition - it is well thought out, with explanations of the ancient Egyptian's beliefs about death and the afterlife, including quotations from the book of the dead, and explanations of the significance of many of the items on display. 

The artifacts were also very well displayed, with many in free-standing cases so you could see them from all angles, and with multiple copies of the labels which helped reduce congestion as people moved through. (something some other exhibitions I have visited recently could learn from!)  

photo of faded embroidered glove
Embroidered Gloves

On to the exhibits themselves! In the first room, there were food containers, modelled in the shape of the food they had contained (apparently they have been able to analyse some of the contents, and found that things were not always correctly packed, so the wrong foods were stored in some containers!) 

There was then lots of the Pharaoh's luggage - wooden boxes of various sizes and shapes , inlaid with ebony and ivory, and decorated with gold paint and Tutankhamun's cartouche, and this rather nice little calcite box (which held hair believed to be that of Tutankhamun and his wife Ankhesenamun, and a pomegranate, which may have symbolised their marriage contract) 

Photos of white (calcite) box with painted decoration of lilies and lotus flowers
Painted Calcite Box
There were other items - I liked a little pen case - made in the shape of a column, inlaid with ivory and coloured glass. It made me wonder - was it for the use of a scribe, or could the Pharaoh himself perhaps write? 

Pen case
Next, there were two model boats - one with a two-storey cabin painted with chequered patterns, and the other with a throne on board, there were gilded figures of Tutankhamun - one of them showed him on a skiff, with a harpoon - it was explained that he was hunting Hippo, but the hippo itself wasn't included, as it was believed that everything put, in model form, into the tomb would exist in reality in the afterlife, and hippopotami are too dangerous to risk including them! 

Horus with solar disk

I loved this beautiful statue of a hawk / Horus, carrying the sun disk (and looking, I feel, a little disgruntled about it) It was part of the decorative fixtures for one of the chariots in the tomb.
Lion head end to bow case

There were two shields, one showing Tutankhamun as a Sphinx, crushing his enemies, and the other showing him hunting lions , and a beautiful bow-case, decorated with hunting scenes, and with two lovely lions heads on the ends.

There was furniture - a beautiful gilded bed (the woven base still almost intact, after 3,000 years). I was interested to read that the board was actually a foot-board, not a head board!

Another of the pieces of furniture on display was a child-sized chair. Tutankhamun was only nine when he became Pharaoh, and suitably sized furniture and other items (bows, sears etc) were made for him, and some of them were buried with him (he was around 19 when he died)

One of the most impressive exhibits, for me, was a life-sized, black and gold statue f the King as Guardian. It apparently symbolises his re-birth as night turns to dawn

head and shoulders photo of statue of  Tutankhamun in black wood with gold headdress

It's stunning,and it looks as though it is a portrait of a real person, the face is very human, relateable. It's stunning. 


This might look like the famous death-mask, but it isn't, it is a miniature version, a coffinette, to hold one of the King's internal organs. This one was, I think, for the liver, and there were apparently others. 

It's about 12 inches tall, and is exquisite, with incredibly delicate decoration, and  hieroglyphs engraved on the inside.

Bust of Tutankhamun - stopper for Canopic jar

Displayed with it was a bust of Tutankhamun, which I think was the stopper for a canopic jar. Like the statue, this seemed to be a real portrait of a real person (and did look a lot like the *same* person! 
'straps' and pectoral

There was then a  model of the inner sarcophagus, on which were displayed gold 'straps' and items such as gold-plates sandals, finger- and toe-stalls (basically, gold-plated false fingers and toes!) as well as golden hands holding the crook and flail.

Pectoral in the shape of a vulture

There were also lots of items of jewelry - pectorals n the shapes of vultures, hawks, scarabs and boats, as well as smaller items.

The exhibit also included information about the excavation and some of those involved.

Alabaster 'Loving cup'

There was an alabaster cup, then, finally,in  the last room,  a stone statue of the King, standing alone. It was originally one of two, and after his death, Tutankhamun's cartouche was removed and replaced with that of his successor

Statue of Tutankhamun

A projection on the rear wall explains that the ancient Egyptians believed that the dead would live on, as long as their names are remembered, and of course, Tutankhamun is now the best known of all the pharaohs.

It is a very good exhibition and I am glad that I got to see it. My Flickr album with more pictures is  here.

Edited to add: The gallery now has a virtual tour available -

The astute will have realised that I visited before we were all advised against travel, and the museums were closed, due to Covid-19.  It was originally due to stay open in London until 3rd May, and  then moving on to Boston and then Sydney. There are also more hotos on the Saatchi Gallery website.