Nick (nickmurdoch) wrote,

January 2016

January was pretty busy and lots of fun, seeing art, meeting friends, and playing in the snow.


Following a recommendation from my mum, I visited the MC Escher exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Like, I imagine, most people, I'd only seen the usual few Escher prints, and I had no idea he'd been so prolific. It's difficult to pick a favourite, but the several metre long Metamorphosis II stood out.

Didcot Synchrotron

Tim managed to get us a tour of his new workplace, the Diamond Light Source lab in Didcot.

We walked around (the outside of) the synchrotron where there were many caravan-sized labs arranged at the end of each light beam. Each time the synchrotron changes direction, a beam is sent off to one of these labs to be detected.

Around the ring were cables, cooling gas pipes, doors with BEAM ON/RESTRICTED/OPEN in bright colours above them, emergency radiation showers, and a Tesla Wiggler, whatever that is.

The top of the accelerator loop was covered in concrete with a line painted on that showed where the beam was.

Lumiere London

Lumiere was a series of light-based art installations that had been fitted in various places around central London. It was incredibly busy and some of the installations weren't worth getting too, but there were some really nice ones that made up for that. Some of my favourites:

Floating figures:

Sky moos:

A grid of stick figures that chased each other around the side of a building, and were used as sprites for reproducing old computer games such as Breakout and Bouncing Babies:

Somewhat sinister obelisks, riverside:

Enter the Oubliette

squirmelia invited us to the Enter the Oubliette escape room game. I've been wanting to do an escape room for a while now and this one didn't disappoint!

The room was very well designed, with a retro dystopia feel to it as you tried to overthrow the "New Peladia" regime. Everyone in the group got to work solving various clues around the room, and after a while all the separate chains began to weave together. I was particularly pleased to solve a CCTV-related puzzle and the team finished with just 47 seconds to spare in the hour time limit; the staff said afterwards they'd been watching us behind the scenes and routing for us.

Afterwards we ate in Rabot Estate, which is Hotel Chocolat's restaurant in Borough Market. All the main courses had cocoa in them; I had macaroni cheese served in a crunchy cocoa shell, garnished with cocoa nibs.


Luckily this year's single day of London snow fell on a weekend (the day after Oubliette, as it happened) and so Emily and I went to Pett's Wood to play in it. It was pretty quiet when we arrived at quarter to ten.

We made snow angels by the sundial (one day the sun will be out when I pass it!) and miniature snowmen on a bench next to where someone had written 'KEEP SMILING' in the snow.

Museum of Happiness

The pop-up Museum of Happiness was in Spitalfields Market for a few days, and most importantly, it had a ball pit for adults! We queued up and managed to get the first turn in the morning. The pit was about four metres by three, pretty deep, and full of white balls.

It was the first time to my knowledge I've been in a ball pit and it was much harder to swim in than I had imagined, but great fun.

Afterwards we did one more thing in the 'museum', which was a "silent disco" where everyone danced with wireless headphones on. We passed on adult colouring books and laughter yoga...

Norfolk Landmark holiday

Each January Emily and her friends stay in a Landmark Trust property, and this year they picked Manor Farm in Norfolk, a bright pink 17th Century farmhouse with wonky floors and wood fireplaces.

Unusually for a Landmark Trust property, this one was actually heated, so we didn't even need to wear thermal underwear, but we made sure to light up the wood fire in the dining room. We played lots of board games, including Lords of Waterdeep (excellent), Forbidden Island (cooperative, excellent), and The Resistance (like Mafia/Werewolf, excellent).

Aside from playing board games, we also had a few walks to a (somewhat) nearby pub and a farm shop. The pub was serving a particularly good brand of perry called Bee Sting and we were all quite merry on the hour's walk home.

This entry was originally posted at
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.