Lotus 43

Model by Italian manufacturer Politoys in their ‘Penny’ series. Lotus 43-BRM. The original was driven in only five races in 1966-1967 finishing only one of them, the 1966 American GP, which it won in the hands of Jim Clark.

This is about 1:60 scale and via eBay for virtually no money.


Dog in a Matchbox

Over the past few months I have been collecting examples of the first issue of each No. in the Matchbox 1-75 series of models. When Lesney decided upon a new model one of the existing ones would be dropped and the No. allocated to the new toy with a b (or later c, d, etc.) suffix.

I already had several examples of the first issue (some of them from new!) Not really worried about the condition (playworn ‘patina’ is good) but the cleaner the better really.

This one is a No. 3a (produced from 1953-61). It was missing the wheel handle but white-metal replacement parts are available!

This is a No 44a  Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I; about 1/80th scale and produced from 1958-64.

This though is a No. 64b MG 1100 (produced 1966-70) about 1/60th scale. Quite an unusual model and with working suspension, a driver and a small dog poking its head out of the window.

Museum of Water (At Somerset House)


Photo via Museum of Water website


Any excuse for a visit to Somerset House!

Spotted in their regular eMail, something called the Museum of Water. Sounded interesting but to be honest I had  little idea what it might contain. It was to be held in the underground spaces at Somerset House; also known as the Lightwells & Deadhouse, which I had not visited before. I also noted that when the month long event started, the Lightwells were flooded with water from the Thames. Which would have been something special to see.

I thought I knew my way round Somerset House & how to access the lightwells. Apparently not as I wandered about for several minutes before locating the exhibit, the entrance hidden deep into the light wells & the exhibit itself right under the middle of the vast courtyard.

The Lightwells


The Lightwells have various alcoves & cupboards contained in the walls of the Deadhouse. In one of them :-

Katherine Corcoran Photo via Katherine Corcoran

It turned out that the exhibition is more of an “installation” created & curated by Amy Sharrocks celebrating our various uses of water, now & in the past.

First sight of the installation, in the atmospheric Deadhouse, which snakes East-West under the courtyard.


On each side there are small alcoves which one could easily imagine as cells in some kind of Medieval prison. Most,  if not all contained some additional parts of the exhibit  The figure at the far end is silhouetted against a freezer containing some preserved snowballs, which I gather have, sadly become lost, as the freezer was inadvertently turned off.

The old “galvanised” tubs were there for a reason. The courtyard fountains were in full use & the odd drip from the ceiling was real. At the far end the Deadhouse turns right, then left, running along a middle section, before  turning in the opposing directions & exiting under  the Western side of the courtyard.

It was the middle section which was the heart of the exhibit as it contained a large proportion of the several hundred donations of various types of water, each with its own back story all carefully displayed, & annotated with charming little handwritten labels.


There were several display shelves/cases such as that shown above. Much prettier in real life than it appears in the photograph, & the other ones perhaps more so, but did not lend to great pictures. A young lady was in attendance to answer any questions & describe the various exhibits. I think this was Amy Sharrocks herself & from what I heard whilst “lurking at the back of the room”, she spoke enthusiastically & entertainingly, & dealt easily with some spirited heckling from a toddler in a push chair.

The final section, was probably the one I liked best.


Here, there was a display of bottles in a period setting & various other artefacts. There was also a visitors book (lots of positive comments) & on the left in the picture a visitor can be seen at a desk writing their “excuses” for not bringing a donation & what they would have brought had they done so! These A4 sheets were then displayed in an adjacent alcove for others to peruse. Personally, I neither properly realised donations were wanted, nor thought about it beforehand. This I regret as I later came up with a couple of acceptable ideas. It was also a shame that I had less than an hour to properly study the installation, as by the time I had to leave I’d gained the feel of it all & begun to like it quite a bit. There was not time to obtain “samples” & donate them before the exhibit closed at Somerset House & I believe it is next showing in Denmark  & then returns to the UK in Darlington. I hope it does return to London in the future, maybe even back at Somerset House where the underground space so suited it. Also I would like to make a contribution.

Overall, surprisingly enjoyable & great kudos to Amy Sharrocks for putting it all together.


Waddon Ponds

After Wandle Park, seen in an earlier post, part of the River Wandle can be viewed at Waddon Ponds which act as one of the sources of the River. I have never previously visited the Ponds despite passing very close by on many occasions when visiting nearby motor trade counters or a parcels depot. The Ponds are tucked away down a narrow  road off the main A23 (Purley Way)….surrounded on three sides by suburban  housing & on the fourth by a small complex of light industrial type units.  The main entrance is in Mill Lane & that gives a clue to one of the former uses.

The Ponds are home to a variety of waterfowl. A great number of geese but also ducks, coots & moorhens.


They do, however,  rather congregate around the viewing/feeding platform on the Western bank.

The grounds generally are very well kept with no evidence of the sort of misuse often experienced by urban parks.



At the southern end the main pond splits into two short stubby “fingers” each bridged at the point of the join, which allow a pleasant circumnavigation of the water. The two smaller ponds formed, made for a  tranquil backwater feel in the evening sun…



The geese, at least, find it restful


Generally the “natives” are friendly


The banks have recently been re-planted to stabilise them which explains the wire fencing designed to be geese proof so they do not eat the new plants….


View from the main entrance