Great British Food: 1989 onwards

This is an unusual Tea Towel Blog in that it relates to six of my tea towels, all of which have different origins but with the same theme.  This Blog is also in two parts: the first part is generally about the issues raised by the title ‘Great British Food’.  The second half is a piece of writing that I found, when I was sorting through some cupboards, written in 2006, about local Leicestershire food, by a friend of mine.  I knew I was saving this for something!!  That moment has come.

Several of my Blogs have referred to the status of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) which the European Union awards to a traditional recipe, from a certain geographical area.  The Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status is for traditional recipes from a specific area, but may include ingredients from farther afield.  The Traditional Speciality Guarantee (TSG) safeguards the recipe but doesn’t specify where the product is made.  These awards were started in 1993.  It suddenly occurs to me, what will happen to those awards for British foods after Brexit takes place?   Will they still exist?  Will the foods still be able to use PGI or PDO status?  Will it affect their business?  Will future foods be able to apply for such awards, if we are not part of the EU?  “Being awarded PGI status is a fantastic coup as it secures a product’s identity, gives it a strong brand image and protects it from imitation”.   To date there are 84 such foods in Britain plus a number pending a decision: foods like Kentish Ale, Cornish Pasty, Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese, Gloucestershire Cider, Lough Neagh Eels, Arbroath Smokies, Fenland Celery, Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, Whitstable Oysters (all have PGI status) and Bonchester Cheese, Stilton Blue Cheese, Cornish Clotted Cream, Conwy Mussels, Lakeland Herdwick Meat, Orkney Beef, Shetland Lamb, Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, Native Shetland Wool and Anglesey Sea Salt (all have PDO status).  The traditionally-farmed Gloucestershire Old Spot Pork has TSG status.

So here we have some strong speciality, and traditional, foods from Britain.  But I always ask myself is there a hierarchy of qualities that are attributed to good foods.  Is Fair Trade better than local?  Is organic better than seasonal?  Is vegetarianism better than animal welfare?  Is veganism better than reducing air miles?  Is cost more important than nutritional value and quality?  How do programmes like Masterchef and Great British Bake-Off fit alongside healthy eating?  What is the role of food magazines, and celebrity chefs, in relation to the way most of us live?

For me, my priority is about local, seasonal food and good animal welfare; it’s about reducing carbon footprints and air miles; it’s about seasonal produce.  It’s no good having huge solar farms and counteracting it by eating asparagus, strawberries and peas, out of season, that have travelled 3000 miles from Peru.  The term Fair Trade is used to make things sound virtuous yet to achieve Fair Trade status costs a lot of money, only to be afforded by the wealthy firms in poor countries.  There are many producers who cannot afford to pay the cost of registering to sell Fair Trade tea in Sri Lanka, as well as providing their work force with housing, medical care and education for their children.  There is no easy answer.  We all have to do what feels right for our conscience.

So where do these tea towels come from?  The British Food and Farming Year, designed by Pat Albeck, was sold at the Royal Show in 1989 when it was trying to promote British food and had a big British food marquee promoting everything thing from Water Buffalo burgers to oats, from smoked salmon to Gloucester Old Spot meats.  The second tea towel came from the Good Food Show in 1999, held at Olympia, every year, again promoting the use of good quality British food and cookery.  It was based on the BBC Magazine Good Food.  It was great fun and you certainly didn’t need to bring any food or have a meal afterwards because of the quantity of ‘freebies’.

My next two tea towels are part of a much wider range of tea towels in the same style but with different subject matter, all different foods from Great Britain, highlighting the various specialisms.  These two are Great British Teatime Treats and Great British Regional Food.  I would certainly like the rest of the set!!

The last two tea towels are about local areas priding themselves on the range of local food available.  I happen to have one from Northumberland, where I stayed in 2009 and, I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed all the food.  My final one is from Melton Mowbray.  I have already Blogged about this tea towel (Blog dated 2/3/2016) but I thought I would include it because of the following contribution which is about food from Leicestershire.

From Bison to Curry and Everything in Between

“I have always considered myself a ‘foodie’ and, wherever I travel, I like to sample and savour local specialities.  In Scotland, I enjoy fresh trout from the lochs; from Cumbria, the unbeatable Cumberland Sausage or teabreads with cheese; in Wales, Barra Brith and more magnificent cheese.  It can be easy, however, to forget your home county and all that it has to offer.

I live in Leicestershire, a diverse and interesting county, with Leicester’s bustling ethnic mix (yes, I know, technically, this is a separate unitary authority but I still see the Shire as a whole).  Parts of the City burst with sweet shops, not of the type where you can buy aniseed balls or mint humbugs but those selling the most delicious range of Asian delicacies.  Samosas further removed from the plastic supermarket variety than you could ever imagine, a feast of texture and taste; neat balls with garlic and pea; filo pastry wrapped paneer and spice – to say nothing of the colourful shapes and tastes of the sweeter offerings.  In supermarkets, not those out-of-every-town, hypermarket-style monstrosities, but small local stores where spices jostle for attention on shelves crammed with exotic delicacies, and fresh bunches of curry leaves or coriander can be bought to add that special final touch to home-made curries.

Not ten miles from where I live is the town of Melton Mowbray, famed for its real pork pies and Stilton cheese – a fiesta of tastes juggling for space.  A few more miles down the road, in the village of Nether Broughton, you may be surprised to spot huge, hump-backed bison roaming the fields with deer for company.  A Venison Burger or Bison Minute Steak is beyond compare.

Barkbythorpe houses an organic farm where Gloucester Old Spot pigs roam alongside free-range hens, to produce a breakfast of splendid sausages, proper bacon without the slimy white bits, and fresh eggs to boot.  Dexter beef, a descendant of the Aberdeen Angus, can create anything from a roast to a cottage pie, from a steak to a stew, with a flavour to be enjoyed thoroughly, and definitely not to be rushed.

Exotic mushrooms are produced and sold in nearby Packington, offering aroma and taste that I’ve never previously (or since) found from any supermarket – no matter the elaborate description on the packets.  The range of these mushrooms quietly growing in an English county is something to behold, with colours and shapes I had never seen before.  I now return to these time and again to enrich the simplest of meals. 

With this tapestry of places to visit, food shopping becomes leisure and the resultant cooking the greatest of pleasures.  The kitchen swells with the different scents; the anticipation of eating, growing pleasantly as you wait for the splendid moment, when the plate sits before ou on the table.

I hope I shall always be able to enjoy travelling Britain and trying new foods as I go but I trust I will never become complacent about the delights that Leicestershire has to offer.  My Leicestershire, from bison to curry and everything in between”

And that is why I love tea towels, to bring forth ideas and memories while I am doing the wiping up.  The problem is that I still don’t know the answer to the Brexit question.  What will happen to the PDO and PGI statuses?

Egg and Soldiers: 2010

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If I am at home, one of my favourite breakfasts is boiled eggs (from my own chickens) and ‘soldiers’.  The ‘soldiers’ need to be covered in butter and marmite.  This way you don’t have to balance a piece of egg on a teaspoon, then try to dip it into salt (in my case, usually the egg falls into the salt and is smothered in it).  The marmite is a much tastier version.  However, I will not eat egg and ‘soldiers’ in a cafe or restaurant.  The secret to a good boiled egg is having the white of the egg firm; I don’t mind if the yolk is runny, or not, but the white has to be solid, not a glimmer of a runny white.  I appreciate that this is technically difficult because it depends on (a) the size of the egg in relation to boiling time and (b) the age of the egg in relation to boiling time.  So I prefer to eat scrambled egg when I am out and leave boiled eggs as a treat at home.

I saw this tea towel in a vintage tea room in Highgate, London in 2010.  The first thing I said, when I saw it was, “Whirling Dervishes” and memories (not very nice ones at that) came rushing back.  When you have a stroke, sometimes you become paralysed down one side, sometimes you lose your swallowing mechanism, sometimes your speech is affected; whatever happens depends which side of the brain is affected and which exact part.  The effects can be short-term, often lasting for less than 24 hours, sometimes much longer and sometimes leaving permanent damage.

In 1999, I had a stroke; I woke up one morning with a strange sensation down my right arm and some numbness in my right leg.  When I opened my mouth to speak, what I can only describe as ‘rubbish’ came out.  It’s not that my thought processes were affected; I knew exactly what I wanted to say but one of three things happened (a) I spoke as I normally do (b) I couldn’t think of the word that I wanted to say and I had to describe what I was trying to say while other people guessed, a bit like charades and then the third option was (c) I spoke and what I expected to come out of my mouth didn’t and some other word emerged instead.  As I heard myself saying it, I knew it was wrong but couldn’t do anything about it.  I knew I’d had a stroke; I worked with disabled people, I knew what to look out for.  I went to the GP who, flatteringly, said I was too young to have had a stroke.  I knew that was rubbish because I worked with a number of very young people who had had strokes but I couldn’t argue with him.  He suggested I might be stressed.  To cut an extremely long story short, I went back several times to the GP who said I had dysphasia and that it would go away.  In the end he sent me to a neurologist; it was 18 months after I woke up that morning that they confirmed that I had had a stroke.  While the tingling and numbness had gone, my speech was still affected.  I went to a Memory Clinic, saw a Speech and Language Therapist, saw a Dementia Nurse and eventually saw a specialist in epilepsy.  So I had developed epilepsy as a result of the scarring on the brain, from the stroke, which in turn had affected my speech.  I knew that on the first day but it took nearly 22 months for the full diagnosis.  Life has never been the same since.

However, one of the things that happened during that time was my use of strange words which may, or may not, have any relation to what I was trying to say.   “The Fluffy” was the tumble-dryer; I can see why I may have used that phrase because, after all, when your washing comes out of the tumble-dryer it is all fluffy.  I remember the day that I called my friend Liz “Pea”; I find this link more difficult to make, except that Liz and “Pea” each have three letters.  “Bubbles” caused some confusion; but, yes, they are apples; the connection may be the two words possibly sound similar but I may be stretching a point.  My favourite was “Whirling Dervishes”, or as they are more commonly known, “boiled eggs”.  Can’t work the link out there; don’t know if there is even supposed to be a link.

I still struggle with words sometimes; I gave up doing any training or speaking in public; I hate big social events for fear people will ask me questions and I won’t be able to find the right word for the answer but I do now have a great fondness for those ‘blips’ in my speech.  Amongst very close friends, Liz is often called “Pea”, boiled eggs are always called “Whirling Dervishes” and the tumble-dryer will always be “The Fluffy”.

Traquair House: 1987

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I remember staying in the Lodge Hotel on West Coates in Edinburgh; John and I stayed there several years in a row, in August.  We were there for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  It was easy walking distance into town; even back in 1980s you wouldn’t bother taking a car because of the difficulty in parking.  Although we were there for the Fringe we always needed to give ourselves a break from ‘entertainment’ and culture.  This year we decided to go to Traquair House which is about 7 miles from Peebles.  I’d never heard of it before but it looked as though it might be interesting.

Traquair House is reputedly the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland; it can date itself back to 1107, that’s some history.  It has been visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens.  It is built in the style of a fortified mansion, originally as a royal hunting lodge, with 50 rooms and has been changed little since 17th Century.  It goes without saying that Mary Queen of Scots stayed here.  But so did Bonnie Prince Charlie because it was owned by the Stewart family; when he left Traquair House, through the Bear Gates, following his defeat,  the owner swore that those gates would never be opened again until a Stewart was once again on the throne.

The thing that I remember most was the tapestry and needle-point; there was a large panel of 16th Century needle-point with exotic birds, animals and plants.  So beautiful.  And in the shop was this tea towel, a reproduction of part of that panel.  It was so striking and looking at my collection of tea towels, very unusual.  I have to say that it is one of those tea towels that I use and am immediately transported back to Traquair House, the grounds, that feeling of being amongst history.  You may well ask why it is so faded, almost so that you cannot tell what the pattern is.  This was a pure linen tea towel which John decided to boil because he had used it to wipe up some home brewed beer (an irony since Traquair House has its own brewery).  The stains did mostly come off but so did the vibrancy of the pattern.  I have been able to use this as an example of what happens when you don’t follow the washing instructions on the tea towel.  But, hey, never mind, it still reminds me of that trip to Traquair House, staying in the Lodge Hotel and the lecture I gave John once he had boiled the tea towel.

As I wrote this blog I wondered if Traquair House still did this tea towel; I could get a new one.  But, sadly, no.  They do have a tea towel but it a more traditional tourist tea towel, so I am glad I still have my original.

Edinburgh: 1989 onwards

I have written many Tea Towel Blogs which have included references to Edinburgh: whether it was about the International Festival, Fringe Festival, Forth Road and Rail Bridges, Christmas Market or the Botanical Gardens.  I have talked about my first holiday in the caravan where we ended up in Edinburgh, the steam railway journey that took us on an expedition to Edinburgh for Christmas shopping with Gwyn and Pete and Edinburgh as the end point of the National Trust cruise round Scotland.  There have been references to various tea rooms, shopping on Princes Street, the wonderful public transport system and the unique shops that sell unusual tea towels.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that Edinburgh is definitely one of the best cities to buy a tea towel.  I haven’t yet got around to writing about my two, very touristy tea towels of Edinburgh, very traditional with sketches of the places all tourists should visit.  Although the first one, with the tartan background was bought in 1989 and the second one, plainer, more than 15 years later, the pictures are virtually the same: Greyfriars Bobby, Scott Monument, Palace of Holyrood, the cathedral of St Giles, the Forth Bridge, John Knox’s house.  The tartan one has Princes Street Gardens and Princes Street while the later one has a larger picture of the castle.  I like the fact that each sketch on this plainer one has a story about each of the pictures and in the centre it describes Edinburgh as “the ancient and historic capital of Scotland whose skyline is dominated by the magnificent castle…..”

For me, Edinburgh is one of those very special cities; it is a place I have imagined living, in my retirement.  It is a physically attractive city, with solid looking buildings; it is a city with a lot of bungalows (my type of home) with attractive gardens; it is a city with a good public transport system; it is a city steeped in history with museums, art galleries, churches, a castle; it is a city of two parts – the Old Town and the New Town, a town planners dream; it is a city within easy travelling distance of so many other attractions within Scotland and it has an airport; it is a city with so many great places to eat, drink and shop plus several theatres and if you want to look at a bridge, Edinburgh has three magnificent bridges.  If you want to see a Botanic Gardens or go on a City Bus Tour, Edinburgh has both

For me, Edinburgh is a city that knows how to enjoy itself: whether it is the Jazz, Film, Book, International or Fringe Festivals, whether it is the Tattoo or Hogmanay celebrations, whether it is the Royal Highland Games or the Christmas Market, Edinburgh is a great place to enjoy yourself.   I like being able to walk along Princes Street and hear a Piper playing, and playing extremely well.  I like being in the city that brought Inspector Rebus to life (courtesy of Ian Rankin), that allowed Bertie to grow up in 44 Scotland Street (courtesy of Alistair McCall Smith); I like to think of JK Rowling writing the first Harry Potter book in the Elephant tea room near George 1V Bridge or Detective Inspector McLean working the streets of Edinburgh (courtesy of James Oswald).

Edinburgh would be my idea of heaven as a place to retire to but impractical for reasons of cost, distance, isolation from family and friends.  I don’t want to find myself living in a place that might not be part of the United Kingdom in the future, better to stay where I am and just travel there on holidays.  For me, Edinburgh holds so many wonderful memories; and while I have some really elegant and quirky tea towels from here, I love these two tradional tourist tea towels that remind me of all the wonderful things Edinburgh has to offer (even if I don’t know what, or where, White Horse Close is!).

Shine: A True U.T.T.

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The term U.T.T was first coined earlier in my blogging history.  It’s meaning is ‘Unidentified Tea Towel’.  A tea towel can be a U.T.T because I do not know where I got it from, or when I got it or why I got it.  A U.T.T usually has no name.  This one has the title ‘Shine’ because that is what is written on it.  I have looked it up on Google to see if it is the name of a company (or similar), with no results.  I have no idea where it came from, who it came from or why I have it.  It is smaller than most tea towels but brightly coloured and adds a little gaudiness to my collection.  You will find it in the Miscellaneous Collection of the Virtual Tea Towel Museum.

Today, I wanted to blog about a tea towel with a picture of a mouse but, amongst 850 tea towels, I do not have one.  So I chose an ‘anonymous’ one.  Why did I want to blog about a mouse?  If you are the proud owner of a cat (or cats), that go outside freely by means of a cat flap, you will be aware of the problem of your cats bringing you ‘presents’: these might be dead or alive creatures.  I have had more dead mice and voles than you have had hot dinners; but then there were the frogs, dead so ok, alive there is a gross screeching noise.  There has been the tussle with the Bunny Rabbit on the patio, too big to get through the cat flap.  Birds of all shapes and sizes, mainly Baby Birds but some larger ones; only once has the bird been alive.  There have been moles, so tiny but clearly not tasty.  Once there was an enormous rat, fortunately dead.  And then there are the moths and butterflies, with wings detached from their bodies.  The long-handled dustpan and brush is always the means of disposing of these creatures.

In my bungalow, there is a lobby with a cat flap; there is another door that opens into the kitchen.  This door can be shut so that any ‘gifts’ can be left in the lobby, and not escape into the rest of the house.  Yesterday was different.  It was very hot and muggy.  I opened the back door (which opens directly into the garden, not in the lobby) and Isabella walked straight into the kitchen with a live, largish mouse and dropped it on the kitchen floor.  There was a lot of screaming and the mouse ran into the lounge.  A lot more screaming.  Eventually, I spotted it and tried to brush it on to the dustpan and brush.  I successfully got it out of the lounge (and shut the door) but it fell off the dustpan in the kitchen.  More screaming.  Isabella was sitting in the kitchen and, basically, ignored the fact that a mouse was running around.  I gathered that it had run under the dresser; there was no way in which I could move this piece of furniture.  My friend Liz was not participating in the catching of the mouse but took advice from @mikebrooks_john who suggested (a) that it could take days to catch (b) that it is likely to be under a piece of furniture, somewhere quiet and undisturbed; he did suggest that it could be in the back of the fridge but there is no fridge in the kitchen  (c) using a torch to look for the droppings so I could identify where it was (d) using B&Q live traps, baited with chocolate (e)  that it might make its own way out.  That, at least, made me feel that I was tackling the problem, although with little success.  Liz then looked up on Google that mice do not like peppermint so if you put that on cotton wool near where they might go it will deter them; that was a good suggestion as a deterrent but the mouse was already in.  Anyway, there were small pads of cotton wool at the corners of all furniture, doors, cupboards.  Blimey, the kitchen smells like a dental surgery.  You can tell the amount of time this all took by the fact that Liz had time to have conversations on Twitter and research on Google!!

By 11.30 at night the mouse was still free unless, as @mikebrooks_john suggested, the mouse had left of it own accord.  I went to bed, making sure all the doors were securely shut.  Woke up the following morning, gingerly crept into the kitchen, no mouse, no sign of mouse droppings, no dead mouse remains as a result of being caught by Isabella.  I wasn’t convinced that it had packed its bags and gone.  Went out shopping, came back, still nothing but I do know, by now, with the aid of the torch, where all the cobwebs are in the kitchen.  Still couldn’t find any mouse droppings. I am just about to set off for my appointment with the Reflexologist when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a mouse run up the curtains, onto the window sill and sit on one of my plants chomping on dead leaves.  More screaming but I couldn’t miss this opportunity.  I crept across the kitchen, to open the back door but, of course, when I opened the back door the mouse on the plant is behind it.  What the heck, walking silently, I pick up the flower pot, with mouse, and gently take it out of the back door and place on the patio.  The mouse continues to chomp on the leaves even though it has freedom.  I abandon the plant and quickly retreat behind closed back door and watch the mouse who suddenly realises he (or she) is outdoors, has a quickly look around and walks off, not even a run.

I am now late for Reflexology and apologise profusely; she tells me the story of the B&Q mouse traps, baited with chocolate, which has caught two slugs but no mice.  Ah well, as David would say.  A story about my bravery, in relation to mouse-catching, is worth a Tea Towel Blog, even if I haven’t got an appropriate tea towel.  Tonight I can rest in comfort and not have to be poking under pieces of furniture with the torch, looking at the cobwebs, in search of mouse droppings.

PS: If anyone knows where this tea towel originates, please let me know.

The Tree Shop: 1998

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This is probably going to be one of the shortest Tea Towel Blogs in history.

I was staying in a cottage, near Auchtermuchty, in 1998.  I was still able to drive then.  I decided that a bit of a trip to the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar would make a nice day out.  I loved Loch Fyne Restaurants.  It was a very long drive, but worth it.  After the meal, I decided that a stroll would be a good idea before embarking upon the journey home.  On the same site as the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar was the Tree Shop.  The Tree Shop was set up in 1990 and just sold small native trees and items made from wood.  I went in for a look around and found a delightful wooden key ring and a tea towel.  It didn’t seem a big enough place to have a tea towel.  In more recent years, the Tree Shop has expanded into a much larger Garden Centre with a cafe and a gift shop.  I like to see small firms being successful over a long period in these difficult financial times.

Using this tea towel will always remind me of that lovely holiday and one of the last ones where I could still drive.  Nice Sir Walter Scott quote as well!

Periodic Table of the Elements: 2017

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On 28 December 2016, I wrote a Tea Towel Blog called ‘New Years Resolutions’.  In it I resolved to have written a total of 400 Blogs about my tea towel collection by the end of 2017; I achieved this yesterday.  My blog about Borough Market was number 400.  So I thought number 401 should have a signifance or poignancy; what better tea towel than the only one I don’t have a clue about!  Oh, I know exactly when, where and why I bought it but I have no understanding, whatsoever, of the Periodic Table of the Elements except that it was originally devised in 1869 by a Russian called Dmitri Mendeleev (useful information in a Pub Quiz).  I understand that it has been added to since that date but I have no idea why he sat down, one day, and decided to draw a fancy chart.  I’ve seen this tea towel in a number of places of scientific interest like the Space Centre in Leicester but never could justify buying one, although I think it is very attractive.  Then in April this year I was in the Wellcome Collection, saw it and thought “That’s what I will buy Roger for his birthday”.  Roger is scientifically trained and works in water; Roger will know what it means and can explain it to his children.  But before I let it out of my hands, I had photographed it and written a blog.  It did cross my mind that this tea towel holds a lot of information that would be valuable if you were a ‘Pointless’ contestant!

The problem about the Periodic Table of the Elements, for me, is that I went to an all-girls convent school, from the age of 5 to 16.  It was very small; 270 pupils in total.  Teaching was mainly carried out by nuns so that the curriculum was somewhat limited.  Latin and Religious Knowledge were standard; there was not a single science topic on the curriculum, except for maths (I assume that maths counts as a science subject); no physics, no chemistry, no biology.  Therefore, in my education, the Periodic Table of the Elements never got a look-in; you were ok if you wanted to do needlework, art or all manner of history; French and Spanish but not German; English Language and Literature but not music; Geography but not Geology.  But we did do Economics; the nuns thought that was a bit radical but they had a new teacher who knew something about Economics, as well as her main subject of English.  I never did really work out whether the restrictions on the curriculum were more about the nuns’ expectations of what women would do with their lives once they left school or what nuns they could get hold of to teach different subjects.  I do know that no one was ever going to learn about Human Biology because it involved talking about the body, anymore than we would be allowed to go swimming because it meant exposing parts of the body in a swimsuit.

However, I balance the poverty of my early education with my love of, and delight in, the work of Tom Lehrer.  Tom Lehrer is an American musician, singer-song writer, satirist and performer, as well as a mathematician.  He was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s; by the 1970s he had retired from performing to go into teaching mathematics.  His classic work, which I can so clearly remember (and have just rediscovered on YouTube: 24/1/2012) is the Elemental Song (all the Elements on the Periodic Table put to music), performed to the Gilbert and Sullivan tune of ‘I am the very model of the modern major-general’, from the ‘Pirates of Penzance’.  It is my love of Tom Lehrer’s work that lay behind my desire for this tea towel, even though I don’t understand it (but I do recommend Readers listen to Tom Lehrer on YouTube or, if you prefer, Daniel Ratcliffe on the Graham Norton Show!).

On my last visit to London to see my specialist, I arranged to meet up with Leanne, a former student of mine who lives, and works, in London.  We decided to have a ‘light supper’ at Fortnum and Mason in St Pancras Station.  There was a couple of hours to spare, before I was due to meet up with Leanne, so I decided to go to Wellcome Collection on Euston Road.  I have passed this place on many occasions, since it opened in 2007, but always thought that it might be boring.  How wrong was I?  It is described as a museum for “the incurably curious, the London Museum that invites you to explore what it means to be human”.  This is a great, interactive museum with fascinating exhibits.  Henry Wellcome was a man fascinated by all things medical and was an inveterate collector; he amassed a huge collection of books, paintings and objects on the theme of the historical development of medicine worldwide, thus making the museum worth a visit.  The Wellcome Collection had a shop and a load of tea towels.  My trip was complete.  I hope Roger enjoyed his birthday present and I do feel that a photo of him actually enjoying it would be good in the Virtual Tea Towel Museum.

Click below to go to the Virtual Tea Towel Museum

http://www.virtualteatowelmuseum.com