Sunday, 9 October 2016

Journeying....



This blog is mostly about travelling in its various forms, and so I have to say I was impressed by this chocolate London Transport symbol on my cup of coffee at the London Transport Museum. It's the best travel-related museum I know and we took S and Young A there for an outing the other day. They hadn't been there since Young A was four and got so fed up at hanging around Victorian omnibuses that he started sobbing and had to be taken home.   

It went much better this time.  Young A (now 11) agreed that the omnibuses were actually great - and don't you love the detail on this model bus, down to that moleskin jacket and the Scotsman's glowing pipe? 


He was particularly fascinated by the creepy dummies in the old-fashioned tube trains.  I didn't tell him that I remember going on trains a bit like that in real life (not in the Tube, though).  I suppose they were at the end of their life when I used them, and I don't remember my fellow passengers looking as elegant as these ladies. 


Nor, I'm glad to say, did I ever see men like the one below, another dummy in an old railway carriage.  Could it be Stan Laurel taking a ride to the West End in 1922? 


The museum is full of variety and very well designed, so there's something for everyone.  I specially liked looking at the design plans for how the new Crossrail trains will appear. That patterned moquette on London buses and trains always gives you something to stare at while you're travelling, and Crossrail is getting a very superior moquette.  I'm sure I'll spend many happy moments trying to work out how this design repeats, as I speed on my way.  


I also looked in their shop for ages, seeking gifts to take on my trip to Japan. I fell in love with this willow-pattern tube train design, but honestly, do I or any Japanese people I know really have a need for a three tier cake stand? Sigh.... 


I love it when people do variations on willow pattern. When I lived in the Potteries I bought a Potteries willow pattern plate, with bottle kiln, canal boat and steam train,  and it hangs on my wall to this day. 


...which reminds me, that later this year or early next,  I hope to visit some of the places in the Midlands that I haven't seen for ages or never knew at all. So if you have any suggestions of places roughly north of Oxford and south of Sheffield, please let me know!   (I've already found quite a few on Mike's excellent blog, A Bit About Britain - which I recommend if you like buildings with a bit of knowledgable and often quirky history attached.)

In general, I've mainly been staying home, and my writing has been Lewis Carroll-related. Most of my work ticks over steadily and I am usually busy.  Travel writing, though, has definitely been dwindling. The other day a friend's son asked me the best way to become a travel writer, and to be honest, I wasn't sure how to reply. 

And that got me thinking, because even in the few years I've been writing this blog, travel writing has changed. A lot.  Not that I'm complaining - travel was always time consuming compared with other writing. But now it's much more so, and the rewards are less.  Travel writers edit and write for print magazines, self-publish their work, review, blog and write for online magazines,(often for little pay, but it raises their profile). They do paid copywriting, write blogs for travel companies or get publishers to issue their books, and pop up everywhere on social media  - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube.  They run events, give talks and teach. That's apart from the actual travelling.      

I don't want to be doing all that, I don't feel I have enough time to do everything as it is, so I have found other ways to get by. But I am impressed by folk who tackle all this stuff, so I think that in future I'll recommend would-be travel writers to look and learn from the websites of people like Andy Jarosz or my pal Mike Gerrard. Both are first rate writers and it's obvious from their sites (take a look) what the work they do is all about. 

I'll probably also point out that good travel writers also need to be accurate, yet have an eye for something unusual  .....


...not to mention an ability to get people to feel a bit curious...

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And so, with this huge White Rabbit (yes, that's what it is) dominating the space ship, it's back to Lewis Carroll.  

"Alice in Wonderland" is popular in Japan, and I thought you might like to see one of my favourite Alice clips, which I'll be using as part of a lecture.  This is a little film by Pogo, a musician who uses fragments of soundtracks (often from Disney movies) as his raw material.  His short films also use scraps of imagery, and I think he's wonderful at extracting the underlying messages the original film maker was trying to give.   Walt Disney, like Carroll, was particularly good at combining sweetness with humour and menace, and I think Pogo has done a good job in conveying the charm,vulnerability and anxiety of Alice against the disturbing unpredictability of her journey through Wonderland.   



71 comments:

  1. I suppose that one day I am going to have to take the bull by the horns and return to London for a visit.......some day. As for the clip of Alice by Pogo I was totally mesmerised. I could keep watching that ad infinitem. In fact......

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  2. Yes, I get hypnotised by Pogo too. Take a look at some of his other Disney movie films. I rather like "Mary Poppins"

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  3. I hope I manage the curious bit, but - like you - I can't engage in all the other stuff necessary for any travel writer to actually make a living.

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    1. I think writers in general probably. Many that I know arent that keen on the festivals and talks and media appearances (which are good, of course) and would rather be like JD Salinger!!!

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    2. I think writers in general probably. Many that I know arent that keen on the festivals and talks and media appearances (which are good, of course) and would rather be like JD Salinger!!!

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  4. I'm glad the visit went better this time. :)
    The internet is changing things for a lot of jobs and the way people approach work or projects...or even just finding information. The world is shifting. Somehow the Alice clip made me feel a little off balance, too--LOL! ;)

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    1. Yes, it's kind of scary isn;'t it specially the bit where she is floating through the air!

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  5. The London Transport Museum sounds like my kind of museum! I love old trains...and sometimes feel rather old when I tell people that starting with 5th grade, I used to take an old-fashioned train with a steam engine to get to school every day.

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    1. Yes, I love old trains too. Something about them makes it feel almost as if they have personalities. Or maybe I've been watching too much Thomas the tank Engine ! :) But no, actually I think maybe that's why we like them, in the same way that old cars have personalities too.

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  6. Thanks for your introduction to Pogo. That was wonderful! Your photos and commentary are always informative and yes, you're correct, the Internet continues to change much in the world of writing and not always for the better. Thanks for your question to me. I did take a stab at answering it though I could have written more on the subject. Happy Sunday to you.

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    1. Your reply was interesting. I've been thinking about that a lot recently with great divisions in politics in the UK (which nobody is addressing) and the situation with the US elections which looks rather alarming from this distance away.

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    2. It is alarming and growing more so...

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  7. I must say those dummies really do look creepy.

    Maybe no one has a need for a 3-tier cake stand but it's a nice thing to own and bring out full of cakes once in a while!

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    1. I know. I really nearly did but I'm trying to stay off cakes anyway :)

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  8. When I was a young woman, one still wore a hat and gloves to go downtown. I had to move beyond bus service, to the suburbs, to start to get over the habit.

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    1. How awkward it must have been, and hot in sultry weather! I sometimes think clothing was used in the past to keep women in line !

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  9. You always pique my curiosity and make me want to go where you've been!

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    1. Thanks, that's really nice to know !

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  10. I remember the trains in England when they had those old soft seats and they were were more like compartments, you would be jostled a bit as you went along and everyone was so quiet you could almost fall asleep. Those were the days!

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    1. Yes some of the compartment trains were great, you could shut the door and doze off. When we went in the Harry Potter hogwarts express in Florida it felt a bit like that, actually, I know that sounds ridiculous but it was really quite nice and cozy and familiar! :)

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  11. I love being curious, it's one way to learn more things. These plates are stunning, and my favorite photo, (well they're all pretty) but especially all the statues!

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    1. Curiosity is a nice gift to have, isn't it. Although it can sometimes get you into trouble, as I used to find as a kid now and then...

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  12. I remember the ladies only carriages....but, like you, not on the Tube.
    Thank you for the links to good travel writers....I was growing disillusioned by stuff I have been reading lately.

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    1. I discovered that in Japan they have ladies only carriages, only certain times of day. I don't know quite what the purpose is but I think some trains might get very crowded and ladies would rather not have men mingling with them at these times. Well, I think I know the feeling. Although I never saw those people whose job is supposedly to physically cram passengers in - do you rememember how at one time you were always seeing them on TV programmes about Japan? They've improved the train services since then, I suppose they are extremely good.

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  13. Thank you for another wonderful post
    Cake stand! They should be required. :)
    The Pogo video is well done, and quite enjoyable. I wish I could be at your lecture.
    I realize that I expect trains in the UK to look like they do in your photos, Poirot and Harry Potter style train compartments.

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    1. For years the trains did look like that! Long after they should have done :) :)

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  14. I always thought being a travel writer must be so glamourous and that you'd get a lot of perks from different hotels, travel agencies, etc. so that you'd say great things about them.

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    1. Some of it is glamorous but would only accept freebies on the undesrtanding that I wouldn't automatically recommend, cause I like to be independent. One reason I have moved away from it is because it's more of a straight trade now - a perk for a recommendation, and I don't want to do that. If I say something is good then I really think it is! :)

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  15. That was one weird video clip - thank you for posting it!
    Is the London Transport Museum the one in Covent Garden? If yes, I've seen the building many times but never actually went into it. The dummies are fascinating; I am sure they wake up and lead secret lives when nobody is around!
    You are a great writer, too, Jenny, and I hope you'll always find you can make enough by writing to get by. The whole writing scene has changed with the rise of "web 2.0"; travel writers are affected of it as much as journalists and other writers.

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    1. Glad you liked Pogo. Yes, the museum is the one in Covent Garden, actually really worth a visit. You feel with the dummies that they might be moving position when your back is turned - and the Stan Laurel one staring out of the window gave all of us a big shock!
      Thanks for the kind comments. I am not regretting the way things have changed because I'm doing stuff now that suits me better at this period in my life, but I am really glad to have been a travel writer during what now look like the golden days :)

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  16. Now you have all your correspondents wandering the streets attempting to become travel writers!
    All over the world Jenny inspired folk are scribbling descriptions of the locale and wondering if they will get an item in 'National Geographic.'
    'This was once just a dusty track through the forests that abounded here, before the Pizza takeaways were planted....'

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  17. Gosh, how well I remember those train carriages and my struggle with the sash windows. They certainly don't make trains like that anymore. Thanks for reviving a memory, Jenny.

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    1. Yes, what the museum doesn't show too is the windows all yellow from soot! :)

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  18. A lovely post as always, Jenny. What interesting museums you find! I'm interested in what you say about travel writers. I met one yesterday who does not do it as her day job, but runs a special blog called The Museum Times and focuses on cultural aspects of travel (hence the title and why I thought of you too). It seems this focus works well as she is sometimes asked to go on full paid for trips by travel companies as a result!

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    1. Yes, it's ideal when people can turn an interest into something that pays well. Actually I'm able to get paid-for trips, it's just that overall it is a net financial loss and not the best use of time....unless you want to be in an organised group and really want to see the place. If you want some independence you usually have to pay for most meals and get to the airport, even if the tourist board picks up everything else. I am not upset or complaining about it,and have other ways of making money which suit me better. I think many who were full time travel writers do that now. Times change!

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  19. I remember that museum from when we used to go to Covent Graden Craft market years ago.Thankfully I am not haunted by those dummies!

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    1. I really didn't think I'd like to be there after dark, actually. Call me fanciful if you will....

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  20. Liked the dummies. Fun to look at .
    Your blog is so amazing and because I love travelling so found this perfect place to enjoy the sharing

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  21. Try Malvern for Victorian Gothic, hills and the Water Cure (modern version also available). You could even pick up the plant I've been growing for you.

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    1. Hm, sounds intriguing.
      The box! Hurrah!
      Now I am back, I will check your blog again. I click on it now and then to see. But anyway I can email you directly.

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  22. The museum looks fascinating – and I'm beginning to think I may *need* a three tier cake stand.

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    1. Patsy, you don't need it!

      Or, well, perhaps you do.....

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  23. Taking note on what you wrote about being a travel writer. :)

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  24. I enjoy the transport museum and often find great presents in the gift shop. Here is a blog that might give you more ideas for your trip http://www.tomsbritain.com

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    1. Thanks, Mo! I like Tom's Britain, which I had not seen before. I've seen his books too.

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  25. Oh Jenny, what a fun and fascinating post. Those "dummies" are a little bit creepy though -- still, I can see why you were so fascinated by the transport museum. That's something I think I'd enjoy, too. And the gift shop!

    Your upcoming travels sound interesting and fun to do your talk. Thanks for the video link. I'd love to hear more about that. And your reflections on how travel writing has changed seem to make a lot of sense to me. With the advent of the internet, just about everyone who goes anyplace is writing about it on a blog or reviewing hotels or restaurants on other internet sites. It makes sense that the pay isn't what it used to be and that much of the time is spent not traveling. Well, I'm glad you are still sharing lots of travel things with us!

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    1. Thank you Jeanie for the nice comments. I enjoy writing this blog, and I will certainly have enough about Japan to keep it going for a while! I'm looking forward to visiting everyone else - I haven't had much chance to go online lately.

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  26. That's another museum in London that I haven't made it to yet - and I know I should. Thank you so much for the mention and the flattering comments - I'm dead chuffed!! Look forward to hearing about Japan.

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    1. Thanks, Mike. I will look forward to catching up with all your posts when I get over jet lag! :)

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  27. I remember those old-fashioned compartment trains very well. They were used on the Metropolitan line up to Aylesbury. I remember the ingenious strap for raising and lowering the window. I don't think they were used on the tube, they would have been too large. The male passenger looks more like James Nesbitt than Stan Laurel! I love the Potteries willow pattern, it's wonderful. I see it also has a couple of planes!

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    1. James Nesbitt always brings vests to mind but I know what you mean! :)
      The straps were so darn awkward. I imagine they dated from steam train era. There was a steam train underground carriage in the museum and it had tiny little windows right at the top, like an air raid shelter! must have been incredibly claustrophobic.

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  28. Those dummies look amazingly real and at the same time a bit scary. Nobody dresses like that to travel on a train now. How times have changed and standards have dropped. But I have to say that I feel safer in the modern open plan carriages than I did in the old compartment carriages. You never knew who might get in with you.

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    1. Exactly. Between you and me I rather like the new trains that are open all the way down from beginning to end.

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  29. This is the one museum in London I have never been to and cannot wait to go. I am planning my next bike trip (autumn's here, loving it!) and I will probably squeeze the Museum of Transport in somehow.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Hope you get there. It's really fun.

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  30. I'm a blue willow china fan so I'm pretty sure I'd have come home with that cake stand and then wondered what I was thinking and where in the world I was going to store it. Your plate, which hangs on a wall, is a better option. I do enjoy your travel posts and already look forward to seeing and hearing about the next trip to Japan

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    1. Thanks Darla. Yes, the cake stand was pretty large and I know I wouldn't have room to store. Japan is so minimalist that it makes me feel like I live in a furniture store or something. :)

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  31. I have always thought that travel writers live wonderful, exciting lives with their days being full of new adventures. I am sure that is a good part of it, but with every job comes a downside. Good for you for making the choices that are best for you.

    I love that Transport Museum. It sounds like Young A reached the age to take it all in and enjoy it.

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    1. Travel writing has brought some fantastic adventures and been good for me too. But other writing is just as much fun, and some is more fun than travel writing! So I do whatever seems best.

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  32. I've never been to the London Transport Museum. Think my eldest grandson (12) would love it.

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    1. I think so too. There were a lot of boys around of about that age.

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  33. Do you mean to say train compartments aren't like that any ore, Jenny? You can tell how long it is since I got a train.
    I love your 'willow pattern' plate.

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    1. Thank you John. I agree it is terrifying to see how the world keeps changing without permission!

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  34. Interesting museum. I think we lost something important when we started dressing so casually for travel.

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    1. I agree. Though mind you, nice clothes are best suited for first class travel, not the kind of cattle truck class I seem to end up going for :)

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  35. Hey, I still have not heard back from you about displaying your header on our new site directory, SiteHoundSniffs.com. Did you forget or have I done something to upset you? I sure hope it is not the later.

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  36. Hey Jerry, I didn't see this post till today. And I didn't see the earlier one at all. I've replied to you on your own site. Sorry! I would love to be featured! Hope you're getting on well, friend.

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    1. Thank you so very much for giving permission. You can see your linked header under All, Historical, Literary, Photography, Travel and the United Kingdom. If you could say something (preferably good) about SiteHoundSniffs.com here and there, I would greatly appreciate it.

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