Days Out in London: The Wellcome Collection

I’ve written about my friendship with the very wonderful Aril from Gnat Bottomed Towers before. It goes back to 2015 when we discovered that we had a mutual love of weird shit. I’d just taken a lone trip to Brittany in my motorhome and detoured on the way home to the village of St John du Doigt that holds a relic that is supported to be house the finger of John the Baptist. Keen Duolingo French learners may have guessed that. I was expecting to be able to buy a severed digit keyring and be surrounded by Japanese tourists. What I found was a damp, deserted building. The said finger is locked up and only gets paraded through town once a year.

Aril and I met up regularly after I wrote my finger post, about every six months. But of course Covid lockdown curtailed our jollies. However this weekend we finally got together again after eighteen months. We returned to the Wellcome Collection, an old haunt of that explores health and human experience. It has exhibits on ‘Happiness’ at the moment. Being cheerful souls that sounded right up our street.

There were two exhibition spaces ‘Tranquility’ and ‘Joy’. After a much needed wee, a coffee and very good millionaire’s shortbread from the cafe we got going. Lots to see, much to ponder upon. These socks were darned by a former nurse who saw parallels between mending and resorative and preventative medicine. The colourful stitching draws attention to the damage and the process of coming to terms with it.

Some of the things are from the archives of the Wellcome Collection. I love this little book, commissioned by a medieval French family and annotated by successive generations. It contains advice on how to achieve balance through exercise, sleep and diet. It would be jolly handy to carry about at work just in case I needed to refer to the musings of wise women.

These little cartoon by David Shrigley made me laugh out loud, quite fitting for an exhibit about Joy. There were several dotted around. I was especially tickled by the animals dancing together.

I’ve provided the teeniest flavour of what we saw and included some wise words for those inclined to navel gaze. We both enjoyed our visit but agreed that the men in our life would find it all too hippy. We sat in a pretend forest for goodness sake! The permanent collection is good too but we’ve been there before and moved on to another establishment. Later in the week I’ll post about the other spot that we visited. Just as interesting but with an entirely different flavour!

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  1. I’ve decided being referred to as “hippy”might be the best compliment I could get. I hope I take your and Aril’s cue to regularly seek out the quirky, the different, the things that make us ponder.

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