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In the Barbican there was, until very recently, the Rain Room, a free installation there that professes that you will not get wet while walking through the downpour pumped from the ceiling.

Emily and I went there on the last day of January. The queue was just over the estimated two hours (we probably should've taken a book with us, but at least there was a supermarket nearby so we could get dinner!) but was worth it, as the room was kept empty enough that you could play around without worrying about other people, and there was no time limit on how long you could stay in there.

While we did in fact get rather wet indeed (partly by ignoring the instructions to walk slowly, and partly because our clothing was a little dark for the sensors that controlled the rain) it was great fun, and the room itself was very atmospherically lit. I'd say the main disappointment was the size of the raining area - in the room it was installed in it could've been twice the size.

Still, we left the place soaked to the skin in places and very happy!



Meanwhile, the Science Museum has an exhibition about Alan Turing and his work at Bletchley Park at the moment. Emily, her housemate Tim, and I walked there across Hyde Park, which looked rather post-apocalyptic since the grass hasn't been replanted since the Olympics took all the greenery. The exhibition was good, managing to be quite apolitical considering how Turing was treated before his death. After looking around there we wandered around the space exploration area, saw the steam trains, and saw the Sno-Cat truck.

The day afterward, we went to Kew Gardens. It was a bit chilly but we spent our time warming up in the glass houses, and it meant that the whole place was very peaceful since not many people were about. Afterward, we walked along our favourite stretch of the Thames, along Southbank from Hungerford Bridge to Tower Bridge.



Mariko Mori: RebirthDuring the first full week of February I went to the Royal Academy of Art twice to join Emily in viewing the Mariko Mori exhibition there. The main installation, called Tom Na H-iu, is a organic-shaped white monolith, about the height of two people, standing on its own in a darkened large white room. The monolith is connected to live data from the Super Kamiokande neutrino observatory in Tokyo, and uses it to glow beautifully in random patterns - usually slow near-white pulses around its surface, but occasionally when a rarer type of radiation is detected, expanding blue cones. Especially rarely (I saw it twice in about two hours of viewing) the whole surface lights up in multiple colours in an excited burst of activity.

Watching the exhibition, often alone in the room, was intensely relaxing and I could have watched it for a lot longer. Waiting for the rare light patterns to happen added a touch of excitement and when it actually did happen up I found myself elated. It was really wonderful. I also found it touching that for the periods that Emily and I were alone in the room, we were the only people who would ever see the artwork displaying that particular sequence.



At the weekend, my parents unpacked the old Hornby train set my granddad had left to mum a few years ago. We had good fun unpacking it, setting up a track, and cataloguing the various parts after we'd had a play with them. I made a video:



On Sunday, I met up with Emily and her friends for her birthday lunch at Cage Imaginaire, a French restaurant in West Hampstead. The food was very tasty, and afterwards we went on a short walk through the Heath before heading over to her freinds Pete and Matt's flat to play Dominion, which was much fun.

For Emily's birthday itself, we went to Lucky Voice, a karaoke bar where we had a private room hired. It took me a few songs to get into it but thoroughly enjoyed myself once I did. But don't worry, I'm still not under any illusions that I can sing!



A couple of weekends ago I walked another section of the Green Chain Walk from Abbey Wood to Falconwood. I got to see the Lesnes Abbey remains which I'd missed on my previous green chain walk due to getting lost in Abbey Wood.

The rest of the walk was pretty good, although annoyingly I had to backtrack along an overgrown country park because some landowner had locked their gates on part of the route, and while the Green Chain people had put a sign up for people coming from the opposite direction, they had not for the direction I was coming in. Still, with that over I finished off the walk through the lovely (and very muddy, that weekend) Oxleas Wood.

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