#13 – Whale of a Time

We had our first official flat guests two weeks ago, and with my new ‘nifty 50’ in hand, we decided to be proper London tourists and head to the Natural History museum.

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I’m weeks behind on this blog. I’m chasing my tail and I won’t catch it before Hannah and I jet off on holiday this weekend. The madness of moving house, celebrating an 80th birthday and then trying to entertain guests has been too much to keep on top of my writing.

Anyway, I have a new 50mm lens.

The 50 is the go-to, must-have lens, or so I’ve heard. And from my first few days playing around with it, I’m inclined to agree.

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The prime lens is one I’ve been after for a few months now, and ahead of holidaying in Sri Lanka, I figured now was the best time to fill my camera bag. This weekend was the perfect field test.

With my sister and her boyfriend coming to stay with us in our new flat, we managed to do something every Londoner secretly wants to do – be a tourist for a weekend.

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See, Londoners pretend hate tourists; they walk too slow, they stop in the street to take photos at the most inconvenient locations, and they change tubes too often for unnecessary reasons.

But, secretly, they wish they were one.

For Londoners, the novelty of walking under the Shard, or down the Mall has worn off, but actually, the number of people who haven’t experienced London for living in it is unusually high. So, when we get the chance, they(we) – I can’t believe I call myself a Londoner now – love to entertain, show off our city, and do all the things that we hate others doing during the week, at the weekend.

There aren’t many better places to be a tourist at than at the Natural History Museum.

You can spend all day there and you probably won’t see everything, and you certainly won’t get bored. It’s free to get in too, but be prepared to spend a good while in a queue that stretches at least 100m most days of the week. That is, unless you know a little trick of ours. For £12 (give or take) you can get tickets to an exhibition and, more importantly, queue jump.

We did just that this time.

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Dippy has gone; the resident Sauropod from the entrance hallway has been dismantled and is now touring the country. Dippy was a personal favourite, for it was the dinosaurs that drew me to the museum when was knee high to a raptor, and I would spend hours poring over pictures and reading about where they lived and what they ate. But now, Dippy has been replaced by, Bluey? I think that’s what they call the great blue whale skeleton, suspended in the atrium, it’s spine arched as if propelling itself through the ocean and she is just as magnificent.

To welcome her and raise her to stardom, the museum has put on quite a show. The whale exhibition is intriguing and amazing. How these creatures roam areas of the planet as large as continents and deeper than mountains, live longer than centuries and grow too big to be bothered by anything other than aircraft carriers simply bogles the mind.

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The thing about dinosaurs is that they always piqued my attention because of just how big they were, but the fact that the biggest creature of them all, the biggest ever to grace planet Earth is the blue whale, and lives today – well that is amazing.

So, with my ‘nifty 50’ fixed on the 80, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to test it out. Low-light, close-up, plenty of bouquet, the 50mm excelled. I hope I captured the theme and the atmosphere, for the thing about whales is, they put you in perspective. I like to think that the 50mm lens mirrored that perspective just so.

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