Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A Bit of Culture

I think that living in the UK, and particularly living so close to London, we are very spoiled, as we have access to some the finest culture in the world, be it literature, theatre, music, art or museums.

I no idea how many museums there are in London, but sometimes it seems that every time you turn a corner, there's a signpost for another one. And the beauty of so many of these establishments is that they are free to enter.

And so it was that on Sunday, m'Julie and I headed off by train to the Capital and made or way to the British Museum, which is in the Bloomsbury part of London.
Even though I lived in London for so many years and have lived so close to London for about the same length of time, it was the first time that I'd been to this museum since I was taken there by my mother when I was about 10 or 11 during which time there had been a lot of changes.

Our reason for going was actually down to m'Julie, as she has a real interest in ancient Egypt, and there was a special exhibition on the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.
The Book of the Dead is not as morbid as it sounds. The Ancient Egyptians believed that once a person had died and was buried, then their spirit, or ba, was free to come and go during the day, returning to the body at the end of the day. However, to achieve this, the ba had to go through various trials, and to prepare it for these, the ba was supplied with prayers and "spells" to enable it to do so.

The exhibition was designed as a journey from preparation for the afterlife, through burial, judgement and the preparation of the book. Sadly, and much to m'Julie's chagrin, there was no photography allowed in the exhibition itself, but trust me, it was fabulous. It was sometimes difficult to believe that I was within inches of a papyrus that had been written 4,000 years ago, the same age and a lot more fragile than, Stonehenge.

It is also a shame that we did not have more time, because once we had been through the exhibition, there is so much more to be seen at the museum. At least we now have no excuse not to return and see the rest of the museum, although I suspect that it will take several trips.

I also heard from Alec on Monday. He's on exercise for the remainder of the week just fifteen miles from home. Apparently, having got up at 0500, he was travelling via Tunbridge Wells to get there. I did offer to stand at the side of the road and wave as he went past, but for some reason, he declined the offer.....

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