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In the beginning there were dinosaurs ... - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
qatsi
qatsi
In the beginning there were dinosaurs ...
Yesterday kharin and I ventured to darkest SE22. In fact, kharin had suggested a trip to see the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park a few years ago, but I had looked at the maps and considered it unfeasible. When I received an invitation to a party from an old school friend now resident in Dulwich, I examined the transport options more thoroughly and concluded that I was wrong, especially when it turned out our Travelcards were valid on the trains from London Bridge down to Penge.

Of course, we also observed the BBC transmitter and the ruins of the palace itself: sphinxes (generally in quite good condition) and statues (rather less so), grand staircases and terraces. The dinosaur park occupies a corner of the main park, but is itself quite a large area, with many Victorian sculptures based on early excavations and analysis. In many cases some of the details have turned out to be incorrect, but it's still a very impressive collection, in its own way just as educational as the more interactive exhibits at the more popular Natural History Museum. There was quite a collection of wildlife around too - herons, coots and a cormorant drying its wings, standing on a mostly submerged rock in the middle of the lake. Although there were quite good signs describing the sculptures, the signage in the park as a whole was poor and could do to be improved. The planting in the dinosaur park was imaginitive - Monkey Puzzles and tree ferns, as well as native species, but again there was no labelling, which is a shame as clearly a lot of effort has recently gone into the area.

After lunch we began to work our way back, first to Dulwich Picture Gallery. Although it's a relatively small collection, it's quite well chosen: most European genres from 16th to 18th century are represented. Aside from the paintings, there are many ornate tables and chairs, probably mostly as a bequest from one of the gallery's founder patrons. The descriptions of some of these tables were tantalizing: would it really have been so much effort to put up a photograph of the opened table alongside the exhibit?

Finally, on to Tom's party. It was good to see Tom, however briefly, as things like football and several small children intervened. I'm not really a party person, but it's the first time I've seen him for years, so it would have been churlish not to make at least a modest effort. The walk back to Peckham Rye station (there being no trains from the closer East Dulwich) was interesting: probably not the sort of place one might feel comfortable alone after dark, but not at all threatening in daylight. Interestingly, we observed a pub that is actually called The Nag's Head: whether it had this name before Only Fools and Horses is something we did not debate. We were fortunate all day with train connections, and the DVD recorder did its thing with Doctor Who. As usual, some good ideas, some maybe-not-so-good ideas; inevitably, there will be more to say about that next week.

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poliphilo From: poliphilo Date: July 2nd, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember visiting the Crystal Palace dinosaurs when I was a kid and being disappointed to find they were so small. I became convinced that there were other bigger dinosaurs somewhere on site and they were being kept from the public.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: July 2nd, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suppose you're right, there weren't any of the really large dinosaurs there. I like your childhood conspiracy theory!
sorenr From: sorenr Date: July 2nd, 2006 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well; you're sort of making me want to go and see the dinos at some point next week, but... SE22? Probably not going to happen, realistically speaking.

Also, there are plenty of pubs called The Nag's Head... Apart from anything there's one at Nag's Head on Holloway Road, but I've seen several others elsewhere in town.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: July 2nd, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounds like miles out, but in fact it's just a 20-minute train journey from London Bridge or Victoria.

The Nag's Head was the name of the pub in Only Fools and Horses, which was set in Peckham - that's why it was interesting.
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