Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Old Operating Theatre, Museum & Herb Garret (13/1000 & 14/1000)

(#788 & #841 in the book)

My main intention on Saturday (25th Feb) was to visit The Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garrat. This is the oldest operating theatre in Europe, and as I am a lover of gory history, this place is perfect!

The museum is situated in the attic in an old church that was part of the old St Thomas Hospital. When the hospital moved in the 1860's, most of the buildings got torn down to make way for London Bridge Station, but this church remained. It wasn't rediscovered until the 1950s, and from memory that was by chance.

As you walk into the church, you are greeted by a very cool giant skull...
Then you have to walk up a spiral staircase with 36 steps, not that many steps, but awkward when someone is trying to go in the opposite direction!

Once at the top, you get to a landing where you pay to get in, then you have to go up a few more steps to get into the Herb Garret. 

This part of the museum is full of old herbal remedies, human organ specimens and what I went there for... tourture, erm I mean, operating instruments.

The first thing you see when you get into the Herb Garret is an old operating chair for children from the early 1900's. Not overly sure I'd have wanted an operation on that...

On the right side of the museum is the herbal bit of the Garrat Herb.
The Apothecary
Specimens of human lungs
Model of the various human organs/muscles
Gotta love a skeleton :-)
As the Herb Garrat is approx 300 years old (the church was rebuilt in 1703 with the Herb Garrat), I kinda expected it to just smell old and musty - it is afterall timber framed. But, I really enjoyed the smell. It really reminded me of the Souks in Marrakech. No I'm not mad, but all the mixtures of the different herbs on display together smelt like the spice stalls in the souks. Please don't judge me.

Once I'd done the right side of the museum, I went to have a look at the torture medical/surgical instruments, which funnily enough were on the left side (I know, amazing).

Please see below an example of some of the items on display... not sure I want any of these things near me.

Yeah... you can totally keep those things behind the cabinets where they belong.

Now, the worst thing I found amongst this lots was this beauty...

Now ladies... any idea what this is? Yup... a Cervical Dilator. Put's a whole new meaning on a smear now eh?!? Sorry to the dudes reading this...

Once I'd gotten over the shock of that particular item, I made my way to the room in the very top of the church for the main attraction...
...the Old Operation Theatre!

Imagine having an operation here full of people watching? Nah, me neither. Don't even get me started on the lack aesthetics! Blurgh.

The Theatre consists of the "operating table", some sturdy chairs for in case you need to amputate an arm rather than a leg, a cupboard for the "drugs" and then a hook or two for the surgeons coat (which would have had blood and pus all over it). Under the operating table is a box of sawdust which would have soaked up the blood from the victim, sorry, I mean patient.

At 2pm on a Saturday and Sunday, one of the members of the museum staff does a talk/demonstration within the Operating Theatre.


And I'm glad to say that there was quite a few people there with me to listen to what the nice museum lady had to say.

She talked for just under an hour about the history of the church and the theatre, the types of patients the hospital would house - namely the poor and destitute (the rich had surgeons come to their houses) - how they would come to the hospital in the first place, the famous doctors of the time, a typical box filled with the instruments used by the surgeons and a couple of demonstrations too! Not real ones obviously!

a close up of the surgeons box
If you do go to this museum, I would highly recommend staying for the talk - I found it really informative. Once the talk was over, I had another quick look round the operating theatre and had a cheeky picture with my new mate Bones...

On the way out, one of the cabinets caught my eye. I'd seen this cabinet earlier on, but hadn't totally taken notice of what's in my next photo;

No, they're not condoms even though they a) look like condoms and b) are made by durex. They are infact fingecots which were used (and probably still are) when a full glove wasn't necessary. But it made the childish person with the awful toilet humour in me giggle! All the way back down those tight winding stairs...

Ok... so now onto the important information; the museum is based a short walk from London Bridge station on St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY, costs £6 to enter and their website is www.thegarret.org.uk.

If you are interested in history at all, I would highly recommend this place!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Borough Market - Revisited (8/1000)

(#838 in the book)

I went to Borough Market at the end of January, but sadly I could only have a quick look around. If you missed that post, you can check it out here. But yesterday I managed to have a much better look around the market.

I got there at midday, and I was starving. Borough Market is not a good place when you are hungry... EVERY stall has food. And boy... they all smell so good. After walking around in a hunger stupor, I stumbled across @BermondseyBngrs.
There was a number of different sausages to chose from (all sourced locally from the market), but in the end I decided upon a Cumberland sausage roll.
And it was delicious! Mmmmm yum yum. Could eat that again right now! As the day was so beautiful, I went to sit in the sunny gardens of Southwark Cathedral while I stuffed my face.
Once my stomach was satisfied, it was time to continue walking through the market. Maybe I had some tasters along the way too... hey, I couldn't help it!

My favourite tasting stalls have gotta be those ones selling olives. Yum. 

Look at them all! Olives with chilli, with garlic, with sun-dried tomatoes, with capers, with peppers... this list goes on! I frickin love an olive.

There was also a liquorice stall that I thought @londonfox would like... they had ones shaped like skulls and also chilli flavoured ones. Both very much up her street...

As I was walking to leave the market, I noticed the New Forest Cider stall. By this time, it was almost 1pm, so perfectly fine to have one of these...

And yes... it was a large one that I got. Well... it was cold outside, and erm...  well... it smelt lovely and I was thirsty. Think that's enough justification.

So I think another sucessful trip to @boroughmarket

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Swim outdoors... in the middle of town (12/1000)

(#2 in the book)

Two weeks ago I did a post about letting my delightful readers to decide what I should do next on my blog. (If you missed that post you can have a butchers here). Looking back, I fear that may have been a mistake and one I'm not sure I will do again... mainly because you're all an evil bunch!

In the end, you guys voted for me to go here today;

Now it doesn't seem too daunting from the outside, a nice enough building for a leisure centre. But you guys voted for me to have a little swim... IN AN OUTSIDE POOL.

Hope you can all see the steam rising from the pool from where it was so COLD outside. I checked my phone just before I got into the pool and it was a slightly chilly -1. Brrrrrgh. Luckily for me the pool was heated to 27 degrees so it wasn't such a shock for me once I got into the pool. But getting from the changing room to the pool is a whole other story... 

I was actually very surprised at the number of people stupid enough to be swimming outside. On my way there, I had fears that it would just be lil' old me as the only person crazy enough to swim in the outside pool. But no, some people actually do this through choice! Weirdos. There is an indoor pool too which the more sensible people among us went to. 

I'd forgotten what swimming outdoors was like. I swam lots in an outdoor pool when I went camping as a child with the Girl Guides. Funny how you block out the leaves, dirt and bugs that can get into the water. Now don't get me wrong, the pool wasn't dirty in the slightest, but there are just somethings you can't prevent getting into such an open pool. I had a couple of frights when I'd touch something weird in the pool, but thankfully they were only leaves. Phew.

If I'm honest, my plan was to get in, swim a couple of lengths and get straight out again as I wasn't sure how my body would cope. But I'm glad to say that I was in there for just over half hour and ended up doing my usual 32 lengths (which is 0.54 miles). Awesome. This pool is slightly bigger than the pool I go to at 27.5m (my usual pool is 25m, as is the indoor pool here). After that I obviously had to get out... boy that was cold. Cold cold cold cold cooooold. Brrrrrrgh again. Apparently the temperature had risen to an almost summerly temp of 3 degrees. I didn't feel that in the slightest... felt much more like -3!

Now I know you're probably all asking where is the proof that I actually did this. Sadly I don't have any, you're all just going to take my word for it! I went on my own (surprisingly no one wanted to come with me), and I did ask a member of staff if they would be able to take a photograph of me - but it was against company policy and they couldn't. But honestly I did swim! 

Not gonna lie, as I was waiting for the bus in the cold I was cursing each and everyone of you who voted for me to do this. But... I'm actually glad you did as I really enjoyed it! Twas a bit fresh I'll admit, but I would definitely go back there for a swim. Perhaps just in the sunshine next time. Yup. Sunshine sounds good. May even try and get some others to come with me. I am sure it would be a much more popular idea in warm weather.

Ok... so where is this pool I can hear you all asking. It's pretty much based in between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn just off of High Holborn. As the Oasis Sports Centre is managed by GLL, I was able to use my Swim London card - this allows me to use 40 different pools across the captial. But I think it's about £4 a swim for non members. If you fancy a swim there, the address of the leisure centre is 32 Endell Street, London WC2H 9AG and you can find their website here.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Singalonga - Grease (11/1000)

(#38 in the book)

Yesterday I went to watch the Singalonga showing of Grease at the Prince Charles Cinema

Don't ask me how, but somehow I even persuaded @londonfox to come with me! Last night was a special showing as @scott_mills (BBC Radio 1 {@BBCR1} DJ) was hosting the show. 

The ticket for this show was £15, but we did get a glass of wine, some popcorn and a goodie bag for the show (you also have to remember that you're in the heart of the West End too). But I thought it was good value for money.

The goodie bag - featuring a tissue, blue ballon, paper bag and  party popper
Once everyone was settled, @scott_mills made his entrance and gave us the rules of the night with Sandy's "sister" Randy.
Scott Mills
Randy and Scott
Rules included;

  • Doing the following when the characters come on the screen: the girls cheering when Danny; the boys "phwar-ing" when Sandy; hissing at Rizzo (only at the beginning when she's a bit of a moo); miaowing at Cha-Cha; booing at the Scorpions. 
  • Give you some dance moves including the very important hand-jive.
  • Instructions on how to use the items in your goodie bag.

Some of the crowd really dressed up, and those that did were all invited to the front to be in a best dressed competition to win some prices. 

@londonfox and I didn't dress up so to speak, but she wore some leather look skinny jeans Sandy style and I had a pink vest on and a neckerchief 50's style. But we did buy some stylish wigs to fit in - for a bargain £3 of which all of it went to Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Now after that was all done, it was time to watch the film. Well, sing-a-long and heckle/cheer/boo to the film. As you expect every time one of the songs came on, the words would appear on the screen with styles individual with each song.
Summer Nights
Alone at the Drive-In
Now, onto the goodie bags. We used the tissues for a couple of sections, but one of the main sections was "Hopelessly Devoted to you", where we waved them about.

Then the paper bags. We used these for when "Beauty School Dropout", they went onto our heads and they instantly made us look like the girls...

But luckily, everyone in the crowd did the same thing. Phew

Then we used the balloons during "Blue Moon", blown up but not tied as when Sonny and gang mooned at the cameras during the of the dance, we all let them go.

We used the tissues a bit more, and then used the party popper at the end of the film when the whole gang is back together. Aaaaah.

And then the inevitable happened... the film ended. Boo. But we did finish it on a massive singing high. I apologise now to your ears all when you click on the video below... 

And then it was over. Sigh. But I did get to meet and have my photo done afterwards with @scott_mills - yay! The first celebrity on my blog! Ok, probably the last too...but hey. It's actual Scott Mills! Awesome. It was only brief chat, but he asked me if I enjoyed it and admitted that it was the first time in 10 years he'd seen it. A nice guy indeed.

Scott Mills and me!
Ok, now I have a little confession. My book actually mentions going to see "The Sound of Music". And don't get me wrong, I do like that film too, but I though this would be a better film and having a celebrity there was even better! 

So here are the details; the Prince Charles Cinema is based at 7 Leicester Place, which is just off of Leicester Square. Their website can be found here and are on Twitter @ThePCCLondon. They are the only independent cinema in the area, and they have some really awesome films showing - an example being them showing all the Alien films in one go. Excellent. As I said at the beginning of this blog, this showing was done by the awesome people at Sing-a-Long-a, you can find their website here and they are also Twitter too @Singalonga. They do shows all up and down the country - including Grease, Sound of Music, an Abba Tribute and one of my favourite films of all time, Rocky Horror. Am so doing that one next...