Saturday, 1 April 2017

A = Apothecary, Alchemist and also...

Wall of glassware, Medicine Man gallery, Wellcome Collection
My iPhone photo edited in Snapseed.
Don't you just love it when a little bit of research throws up information that justifies your very existence?

Well, that could be over-stating it a tad, but I couldn't resist a small snort of delight when I discovered that apothecaries — the forerunners of pharmacists and GPs — originally dealt in wine, herbs and spices. 
Of course they did.
A decent wine and a tasty meal is always good for what ails me.

Image credit : Wellcome Library, London

Mind you, I have my doubts about both the gourmand qualities and the provenance of the Ocul Cancr (crab eyes) and Sang Draco (dragon blood) that these jars once contained.

I reckon I'd need a hearty Merlot to go with either of those.

Cropped iPhone pic of oil painting
The American novelist Anne Tyler makes the ordinary extraordinary. One particular character of hers, Macon Leary's slightly eccentric sister, Rose, has stuck with me for decades — since I first read The Accidental Tourist. To help us understand what sort of person she is, Tyler reveals that Rose alphabetises her pantry. That detail has never left me. So extreme. Almost hyperbole. A perfect trait to give a control freak.

Imagine my shock when I discovered that Rose actually walks among us, looking for all the world like a normal human being. Alphabetical pantries and fridges with perfectly aligned foodstuffs. 
People really have those. 

Image credit: Wellcome Library, London

These last images suggest that perhaps it's a rare genetic condition that began with apothecaries.


During the month of April, I am participating in the Blogging from A–Z Challenge.

My posts will all feature images of and by the Wellcome Collection, Euston, London: the free destination for the incurably curious.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Wellcome (sic) to my A- Z Theme Reveal

Welcome to the Wellcome Collection
One of my aims and claims for life off The Rock was that I would write more. Spend more time on my blog. 
Well... umm... 
Yeah... nah... 
So, a short-term solution to my long-term tendency to procrastinate = to publicly commit.
And here it is. My commitment to you.

I am stepping up for the 2017 A-Z Challenge. After April Fools Day, I will post something inspired by consecutive letters of the alphabet every week-day in April. 

I promise.

All twenty-six entries will be inspired by my new fave haunt, the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road, close to Euston Square in London. This mind-boggling place advertises itself as: The free destination for the incurably curious. An entirely apt description for this eclectic collection.

I'm gonna try editing some of my pics

Henry Wellcome, an entrepreneurial American pharmacist with an all-consuming interest in medicine, art and the way the two intersect, moved to London in 1880. He and a college friend were responsible for the innovation that compacted medicinal powders into tablet form. Nice one, guys.
Together they founded a pharmaceutical empire. 

A Victorian reminder not to be vain

SIR Henry (something tells he would have preferred me to refer to him by his eventual title) was an obsessive collector with unlimited wealth. Medical artefacts, images about pharmacy, art with a scientific bent, specimens of anything that was once living, instruments used for any vaguely medical function, it's all here. Truly. Twenty-six entries cannot come close to doing it justice. 

Inside the Reading Room

Did I mention that the building itself is fabulous?
Plus it has a book shop.
AND the cafe makes the best coffee in London.
I'm in love with this place. 

My entries won't necessarily be about the object/image I'm featuring; they will be responses. My responses. 
Whatever they may be.

I also promise I'll be delighted and grateful if you join me on this April adventure.