Thursday, January 4, 2018

Horniman Butterfly House

The butterfly house at Horniman Gardens opened towards the end of 2017 and is the latest attraction  in their Living Collection. The other things are the alpacas, jellyfish and bees in the Animal Walk, the Aquarium and Nature Base.

A limited number of people are allowed in at one time. The butterfly house is rather small compared to others I have been to, but is full of tropical plants suitable for the butterflies. According to the info board, the butterflies come from the Americas and from Asia. None from Europe, Africa or Australasia.

There didn't seem to be many butterflies flying around, but there were a few posing on the leaves. I hope I have identified them correctly -
Chocolate pansy

Hercales longwing

It was very warm inside, 30.4 °C   but I was surprised it was only 51% humidity


Hercules longwing

Chocolate pansy
A plate of food for the butterflies

Large tree nymph
 There is a display case showing the metamorphosis stages of caterpillars, eggs & chrysalis.
Postman butterfly

Owl butterfly, the largest butterfly that I saw

Leopard lacewing
 This butterfly liked the purple phone case -

Zebra longwing (?)
Before you leave you are asked to check yourself in 2 mirrors to make sure no butterflies go out with you. Entry tickets are quite expensive for such a small place and I think visits are limited to 15 minutes. Nevertheless it is a good attraction to Horniman.

Monday, December 11, 2017

London Christmas lights 2017

I started at the Crystal Palace Winterfest but was disappointed to find it was just a fun fair, with a few food stalls. I didn't even see the ice skating rink, but was amused to read it was closed the next day when it snowed! And just 3 days later I read that it had permanently closed for various reasons.

So then I decided to head into London to see the lights.

First stop was Somerset House to see the ice skating. My last visit was in the summer in July 2017.
Skate at Somerset House is an annual event. Fortnum and Mason is a partner.

I got to Trafalgar Square and was surprised to see hundreds of santas, mostly on the plinth at the base of Nelson's column. They were all drinking and lots were already rather drunk, before 7 pm. Next day I looked it up and read this, from the Daily Mail 10 Dec 2017 :
"Hundreds of drinkers descended on London dressed as Father Christmas for SantaCon as the annual American pub crawl hit the UK once more.
Describing itself as 'non-profit, non-political, non-religious and non-sensical', the parade that originated in San Francisco invites people to 'join the naughty list' and down drinks in the capital's bars and open spaces."
Apparently it has been happening for 18 years in London. It is more or less a Christmas pub crawl!

The tree at Trafalgar Square was lit up on Dec 7, as usual it is a gift from the people of Norway for the British help during the Second World War, a tradition since 1947. The tree is 25 m high. The lights look the same as last year.

Then onto Piccadilly Circus via Waterloo Place -

The advertising screens known as Piccadilly Lights are one of the UK’s most iconic landmarks. They have had a makeover and were re-launched in October 2017. The original patchwork of screens was replaced with a single state-of-the-art 4K LED digital screen and live technology hub, which allows the screen to react to certain external factors, such as the weather or temperature.

Regent Street -

Back to The Strand before going home -

Previous blogs :

Christmas tree Trafalgar Square 2016

London Christmas lights 2016

Sunday, November 19, 2017

MAS plane with duct tape on the wing

This week I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket on Malaysian Airlines. I had a window seat by the wing and was a bit perturbed to see part of the wing was stuck together with 'duct tape'.

There were several layers of tape that looked like they had been there for some time.

I emailed a friend about it and he looked it up and found this article from askthepilot . It seems it is OK to use tape as a temporary measure, but I wonder how long it had been on this MAS plane.

The article says "What you’re actually seeing is a heavy-duty aluminum bonding tape known as “speed tape.” It’s a temporary fix and it’s used only on superficial or noncritical components, until more substantive repairs are made later on. The tape is extremely durable and is able to expand and contract through a wide range of temperatures. We never use, and don’t even stock, duct tape,” explains a veteran airline mechanic. “Some of the tapes we use cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per roll."

I just hope that MAS have used this "speed tape" and that it is just a temporary measure!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Eating in Ipoh

Spent a few days in Ipoh revisiting friends and of course eating. Eating is the national pastime in Malaysia and I was happy to indulge.

Some breakfasts -

A Chinese dim sum breakfast at Fulin dim sum restaurant. The first photo shows the choice of dishes, when we made a decision, they were taken away to be steamed. The second photo shows what we had -

Another Chinese breakfast, at Restoran Yin. We didn't have pigs trotters, we settled for wan ton mee -

An Indian breakfast in old town -
 I had onion uttapam -

Roti canai and a roti telur -

We went to see friends and had salted chicken

I love durian but they aren't quite in season yet. However I was really lucky as my friends just had the first durians from their own tree and shared them with us -

One dinner with friends, at Tauge Ayam Ong Kee. Half a chicken, meatballs, tauge -

And a dish of chickens' feet which was just for Amy -