Hello and welcome to the first post of 2017! Hope the new year has treated you well so far.
I was very excited about this new beginning, so I decided to start the year off with a day out in London. A few of my resolutions this year included staying active, traveling more and learning new things, and I managed to squeeze all of those into that first day, so I will go ahead and declare it a successful start!
I jumped on the train and made my way over to Greenwich. As the home of navigation and timekeeping, it seemed like the perfect place for a symbolic journey.
When I came out of the railway station, it was only a short walk to the Cutty Sark, one of the last tea clippers that were built before the introduction of steamships. It is a majestic sight against the backdrop of the brooding grey sky and what seems from a distance as toy skyscrapers across the river.
After a long, steep climb (the “being active” part), I found myself in the courtyard of the Royal Observatory. The view is brilliant, even on a somewhat gloomy day.
With one foot in the Western, and another in the Eastern hemisphere, I made a wish to travel even more in 2017!
There is an exhibition inside the Observatory charting the history of British navigation and the evolution of timekeeping.The fancy looking clock below (right) took a few years to develop after the pendulum clocks of the time ailed to keep accurate time at on ships due to the undulating sea. Its creator was paid a whooping £200,000 ,which at the time was enough to make you a millionaire!
I just read an amazing book by Carlo Rovelli, called “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”. It’s an absolute masterpiece, as it takes complex phenomena and turns it into an interesting tale about space and ourselves, which is an absolute delight to read. As I was curious to”see” the concepts I had been reading about, I booked a half hour show in London’s only Planetarium to learn how to recognise stars and constellations in the night sky. Learn something new – check!
This little fella really enjoyed my tortilla chip so we swiftly became good friends.
Finally, I made my way back down the hill and into the National Maritime Museum. It charts the history of Imperial Britain, with a rich display of seafaring artefacts, paintings and goods brought from the colonies.
As someone who is interested in history, I found it an enjoyable museum, and I’d recommend having a look around if you happen to be close by!
Admiral Nelson’s uniform.
Table decoration brought from China.
So that was my start of 2017. I hope my little ritual will have the desired effect on the rest of my year, and I will get to travel to many new places and learn a lot in the process! But after all, it’s up to us to determine our own fortune. As William Ernest Henley said in his poem Invictus:
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.