Sunday, 8 February 2015

Pickled

Photo: Stone Cold Crazy
What do two Essex girls do when they meet up?  Go shopping for designer handbags or shoes? Paint themselves orange at a dodgy tanning salon? Or might they even get their bits bejazzled? My friend, Calamity Jane reckons you can do a roaring trade in the Basildon area if you're prepared to stick sequins on someone else's jubblies.

Aril from Gnat Bottomed Towers and I decided to buck those stereotypes and do something completely different.  We met for the first time ever yesterday in the foyer of the Hunterian Museum.  It's housed in part of the Royal College of Surgeon's gaffe in London's Lincoln's Inn Field and is a shrine to 18th century body parts of man and beast.

Back in those days John Hunter must have had some vinegar left over after he'd finished pickling enough onions to last a year. Handily he came across a severed penis and an amputated foot with a big corn that he thought would look nice in jars.  And what do you know? He was hooked. Soon he had preserved so many grisly remains that his mum got fed up and told him to get them out of her house as they were doing her head in.  So he gave them to the RCS.  I think that's how the story goes. Then again I might be making it up as I go along.  If you read Aril's version of events you'll get a truer picture.

Aril and I peered into those jars, yabbered about all sorts and wondered about the stories of the  people those bits and pieces had come from.  The most haunting exhibit? Possibly any one of the 200 year old foetuses or the skin from the lower part of the face of a wee boy with smallpox. The lower eyelashes were still attached.

After all that thought provoking stuff it was time to lighten up with beer and cider in a pub where John Hunter probably had a pint after he'd dropped off his specimens.  Thanks Aril for a lovely day out.We've already hatched a plot about where to go to view other oddities later in the year.

1 comment:

  1. Crackingly good blog title I must say. Would you Adam and Eve it- got home to find a jolly good chum had been there yesterday too. Neither of us had spoken about it!
    Arilx

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