Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Welcome! (And, Wellcome)

I'd love to make this a long, long post, but my family don't like me writing too much about them online! So it'll have to be short. There have been some big things happen to us lately, and by far and away the best is the arrival of two brand new twin babies!!!  They arrived two nights ago  in UCL Hospital, and I'm full of happiness!  Little sister is on the left, little brother is on the right.  

They were just under six and a half pounds each, which is massive for twins, but so very, very tiny, with little fingers and  teeny weeny little feet.   They have faint mewing cries, which I am sure will grow louder in time.

T and I saw them yesterday evening and again this morning.  There's a tube strike in London so there were problems between getting between our place and the hospital.   We decided to walk home, having a coffee first in in the nice cafe at the Wellcome Collection, 

which is just down the Euston Road.

As we walked in we recognised a friend on the reception desk.  I knew she worked there but I'd never seen her there before.  Of course she knew all about the twins, and when we went to pay for our coffee and snack, we found she'd paid for them for us in celebration of our brand new grandchildren!  We were so touched and pleased.

Chatting with her, she recommended we visited an exhibition at the Collection that is ending next weekend. So we did ....

....but by now, you might be wondering what the Wellcome Collection is.  It's one of London's newer attractions, and I'm sure that in ten years' time it will be firmly on the list of  "top London museums."  Not quite anthropology, not quite medicine, not quite art, it looks at what makes life the way it is, and humans the way they are, from a medical and artistic standpoint.    It's based on the vast and varied collection of 19th century pharmaceutical magnate Henry Wellcome.

The Wellcome Collection used to be an intriguing half forgotten bit of the science museum devoted to historical medicine all over the world. That collection has now moved to a large museum near Euston Station and expanded to include many special exhibitions and artworks and a really creative programme of events. Its shop sells heavy duty medical books and has a good line in gifts with a touch of grim medical humour, like these cuddly stuffed bugs.

(I think botulism, the orange one, is the cutest. )

and books like these, for instance, on alternative ways of looking at bodies...

The exhibition I saw ends on 9th February and covers the work of artists in residence at various Wellcome medical research facilites all over the world:  art in the service of medicine.  It's great, and I wish I'd known about it before. No point in writing in detail about it now .....but oh, all right, I'll say just a bit.

I liked a fossil necklace tracing the geological history of the world with beads created from items from every epoch. For instance, from the Oligocene epoch, there are beads containing a winged ant in amber from the Dominican Republic, part of a Dugong Rib from Florida, some petrified Green Palm wood from Germany, an Australian mollusc.... the history of the world in one beautifully crafted object.

And here's a teaser from B-Floor Theatre, a dance troup from Thailand supported by Wellcome. There was some extraordinary film in the Thai section of the exhibition, show as they performed in colourful paper bags, folding and unfolding. This clip shows another project.

Click here for the website of Peter Mawanga, from Malawi, passionate about using his art to spread awareness of health issues in Africa, like this track, "Heal the Pain"

All praise to the Wellcome for supporting these and other talented artists. There's so little time to see it but if you're in London, near Euston before 9 Feb, do consider visiting- it's all free.   The exhibition website is Foreign Bodies, Common Ground.

The twins are due home today and so I'm thankful for the good medical care they've had during their birth, and grateful we live in a country where we can get it for free.  How glad I am that we have access to effective medicine for so many human conditions - and how sad that so many millions all over the world have no chance of it.

Loads more very interesting comments have arrived on the last post, on Japanese food, and I'll reply to them very soon. 


  1. Twinses! How wonderful for your family.

    Walter Potter has come up several places here in Blogistan lately.

  2. Oh the wonder of twins! What joy it must be to be born with an instant buddy, one beside the other, from the start. Not only are they adorable beneath their wooly little caps … all the genius and creativity collected at the Wellcome Museum is written into their human DNA.

  3. Beautiful twins, and I have to say they were both bigger than my two sons - they must have been hard work to carry around before they were born.
    My husband was up in London on Tuesday arriving at Paddington by 17.30 to avoid the tube strike only to find no trains home to the Cotswolds because of the storms in the West and the vanished rail track in Dawlish - someone also took their life on the track which didn't help. He arrived home at midnight by taxis ( laid on by the railway).

  4. Congratulations to the twins and everyone concerned.
    How interesting to see the new set-up for the Wellcome collection. I remember the old one, and must visit the new.
    I'm just waiting for my Walter Potter book to arrive.

  5. Lovely twins - gorgeous. I have been to the Wellcome collection but it warrants another visit - maybe when I visit UCLH in a couple of weeks.
    PS I'm sure the twins' cries will get a lot louder!

  6. That is BIG for a set of twins! ANd they are oh so cute!
    I love places that sells things that aren't the norm, they are my favorite. I can just spend days in them looking at everything they have for sale, wishing I had more money to spend.

  7. That picture took me back! I became grandma to twins six years ago (one of each as well). Best wishes to the parents.

  8. Congratulations on the birth of these adorable twins Jenny! My brother has twins, a girl and a boy.I can feel your joy!
    Best things to all of you!

  9. Welcome to the beautiful little twins! How wonderful! Congratulations to all concerned! :)

    Like you up that way we, too, have access to free health here in the Land of Oz. We're very fortunate.

    What an interesting and different exhibition that is.

    I couldn't read this post until this morning. I kept trying was showing up on my blog, but it was welcoming me in! ;) All is back to normal, again....except me...I'm beyond normal!

  10. Oh, Jenny! Congratulations! Double the congratulations! I'm so glad everything went well with the delivery and that the twins are healthy and home (and mum, too!). You HAVE had a busy time of it. But what a wonderful way to celebrate with an exhibit and a special treat! Indeed, this is lovely news. I'm so very, very happy for you!

  11. Congratulations on the new arrival in the family. You don't say it in your post, but I'm assuming they are your grandchildren?

    And the Wellcome Collection sounds very interesting. The fossil necklace seems very intriguing - well, that may be because I work with geologists.

  12. Congrats on the addition of twins in your family! They're so cute.

    That exhibit sounds so interesting!

  13. Congratulations!! That certainly is one BIG (or should I say, two tiny) event in your lives!

    The Wellcome Collection sounds intriguing and definitely is on my mental list of places to go to next time I am in London (although the exhibition will be long over by that time).

  14. Like you, I tend to avoid too much personal stuff on the blog, but we have a new arrival too (must be something in the water) - congratulations! I know Wellcome very well through the day job - amazingly diverse organisation - and keep meaning to mention the Collection on A Bit About Britain. I must pop in again when I'm next in London - it's so handy from Euston. Nice write-up.

  15. Congratulations to the parents of those lovely babies. You are right, we do have a lot to be thankful for with our wonderful NHS. Some people moan about it, but then they would moan at anything. My husband and I have received excellent treatment from caring doctors and nurses.

    Enjoyed the insight into the Wellcome Collection. Worth a visit... if only I could.

  16. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful babies. You're so lucky! :-)

    Hope you have a great weekend.

  17. Congratulations to all Family with the new babies! They are adorable!

  18. Congratulations to your whole family on those babies! They are sweeeeet.

    I'm very interested in the Wellcome Museum now and hope, at some point in the future, to be able to visit it in person!

  19. oh wow.....too cute.... congratulations!! The welcome is brilliant.....we're very lucky in London!!

  20. Interestingly when this post first appeared in my Dashboard it appeared on your blog briefly as I clicked on it and then disappeared when I went to scroll down. Blogger can be very strange on occasion. Anyway to the post.

    Congratulations to your family on it's new addition: may you all find happiness and fulfilment in their lives.

    There is no doubt that if (perhaps I shall start changing that in my mind to 'when') I visit London again I shall trawl though your blog to work out my itinerary for things additional to the old loved places I would like to revisit.

  21. Congrats Jenny! You're happy grandmother! Cute souvenirs, I'd buy these light-green ones, think they are viruses of flu!

  22. °º♫♬° ·.
    Passei para uma visitinha.
    Parabéns pelos gêmeos, muita saúde, paz e muitas alegrias para todos vocês.
    Gostei muito das fotos da exposição.





  23. Congratulations to the whole family on the arrival of the twins. It was so interesting to learn about the Wellcome Collection as my husband was a microbiologist and I seem to recall visiting the medical section. I also know of the Wellcome Foundation from my days working in a scientific library.

  24. Ah! Many congratulations Jenny. What lovely new arrivals! Welcome to them both.

    I love the Wellcome Collection, and their cafe is excellent - hurrah for Peyton & Byrne!

  25. Sorry for the delay in moderating comments. Lindsay, the Wellcome is literally next door to the front entrance of UCLH. It's a very nice place to hang out, a sort of antidote to the hospital but on a similar theme, if that makes sense, celebrating amazing things about the human body and about medical research.
    @Relatively Retiring. I am sure I know your actual name but it's escaped me. Anyhow I thought of you (and Zhoen) when I saw the Walter Potter. the book I got is a different one from the one at the Wellcome, I wonder if it is merely a different format with the same text and photos. It was such a shame that it was broken up.
    Oh Rosemary, the whole situation in the west is desperate, although hopefully where you are is not as badly affected as some. A consequence of cutting funds to the Environment Agency I fear. No doubt it made someone's figures look good.
    Maria, it is sweet the way that they settle better if they're together in one cot. I want to post about a million pictures and tell everyone every detail, but I know I can't!

  26. There is something strangely attractive about a soft toy version of a virus!

  27. Congrats on those STUNNING grand-babies. I'm so happy for you and for the parents. Double the fun!
    And you are blessed to have free health care. We pay thousands and thousands of dollars a year for insurance that we can't use. We can't afford the top of the line insurance so your care is VERY substandard. They insult you until you stop using it. People sit in waiting rooms to see ER doctors and just die in the seats. If they can't make a profit off of your visit, well they will find a way to chase you out. You get very good at treating yourself and that is their plan. It is a tax(the new health care law) basically and you get nothing in return. OK I'll shut up.

  28. That is sooo exciting about the twins!! And glad they were so big and healthy for twins, too!! Thrilled for you. :)
    As usual, you see the most interesting places and events and objects.

  29. Thank you so much for the sweet comments, it is so nice to get them. Thank you Ines, I visited your blog and it is so pretty! Lee, it's not you, it's me accidentally hitting "publish" before I had finished typing the blog post then realising my mistake and taking it off again right away. .
    Yes, Mike, it would be nice to see what you have to say about the Wellcome, it is indeed diverse. I must check on your profile to see if you were working with pharmaceuticals, although they do seem to do so many other things too. I was amazed at how extensive their research facilities are.
    Meike, even though that exhibition will be over, there will probably be another, and the permanent galleries are well worth a visit.

    Bonnie, you would really like the Wellcome, from what you say. It is usually fairly busy as it seems to have something for everyone.

  30. Congratulations! Beautiful babies. They will have many journeys with you in later life. Give them a hug from me!

  31. wow that is a pretty crazy trailer for the b-floor...that would def make science interesting...ha....and wow on the new little ones...they areawesome.....

  32. The twins look so very precious wrapped up in their little blankets and bonnets. What a good size! My babies were that and the were not twins! Enjoy them Jenny! As always I love the variety of the things you show us!

  33. Huge congrats to a very proud grandmother! You must be so happy! That said, you are very edgy too: I hadn't heard about the Wellcome collection. How do you find these things?

  34. Many good wishes to those twin babies and congratulations to the family. I'll bet you've got your hands on them by now as I'm late catching up.

    The Wellcome museum looks really interesting. You find the best places.


  35. Taxidermy is an amazing skill. I've seen animals so alarmingly realistic I could hardly believe they were a mere taxidermist's creation.

    Talking of bodies, I always find catacombs full of human remains pretty spooky - but irresistible!

  36. Oh, that's wonderful about the babies! They are adorable, and yes, quite big for twins!

  37. Another exhibition to add to my list. And congratulations.

  38. Many congratulations on the births - presume they are grandchildren. And thanks for the info on the Wellcome Museum. I didn't know about that. Wellcome once had an office by the station in Surbiton and one of my neighbours worked there.

  39. Congratulations! twins! How marvelous!
    I have been close to two sets of twins in my life. One set was born many years ago to my good friend and neighbor. One set currently lives down the street from me. I am one of their godparents.

  40. Congratulations on the birth of your new grand children. they are perfect!
    We almost have twin grand children. My son and his wife had a little boy on March 6th, and 4 days later my daughter and her husband had a little girl on March 10th. They will be 9 years old next month.

  41. Congratulations on the birth of your twin grandchildren, Jenny. How fortunate to have both boy and girl at the same time! They are so adorable, angels in disguise. You’ll enjoy to watch them grow and develop their personality.


  42. Congratulations, your little grandchildren are sooo sweet. Much love to you and your family, Linda x

  43. Congratulations on the births! There is nothing better in life than the arrivals of new ones - especially grandchildren.

  44. Jenny many thanks for your comments, and yes, new life is wonderful!! Enjoy your little ones. Much love, Linda x

  45. Dear Jenny, how delightful to see those gorgeous pictures of the twins. Isn't it heartwarming to see newborns. Always such a miracle.
    You never cease to amaze me - the most interesting museums you find. This one is a corker!
    Cheers now :D)

  46. How exciting for you Jenny and congratulations! A lovely museum tour too, thank you for sharing it. It's exactly the kind of place we would love to go to.

  47. Congratulations on your new arrivals! What a very big yawn!!

    I simply must have a botulism beany bag. I've been wanted to go to this museum for ages and now I have a really good reason.

  48. What absolutely gorgeous twins!
    I went to the old Welcome museum when I was doing pharmicutical drawings back in the 80s. Quite scary then...things in bottles mostly..


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