'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Weevils at the NHM

One of my very favourite places in the whole world is London's Natural History Museum. It has been since I first visited when I travelled with my parents back to their 'Home' when I was about ten years old. As soon as I'd saved up enough after University I was back there. And I've been back twice again since with my children.

An added bonus when I go is to enjoy the detailed and somewhat fanciful architecture, inside and out.

But of course it's the collections I really love. There are over 70 million specimens at the NHM. And I can access a vast database online too, which is marvelous. They tell me, and I believe them, that there are also over 1 million books, 20,000 scientific journals, and 500,000 works of art. (A drawing or painting was the most convenient way of establishing the existence of a specie in the pre-camera days.)

I'd so love to be able to take the tube 'up' to London (it's always up to London, even if you're coming from the North - isn't that quaint?) and spend all day looking at the Coleoptera (beetles) drawers.

For some reason I've become interested especially in the weevils.
'Why?', you ask.
I think it's because they are small yet beautifully formed. And because I think their long, trunk-like 'noses' give them a slightly ridiculous but vulnerable air. I know they are much maligned because they are often eating food we have gathered for ourselves, and we are, rightfully, indignant. They are often overlooked in favour of some of the bigger, showier beetles, and I am somewhat of a champion of the underdog.
In fact, I think I'll just go virtually and look at weevils. Right now.
Here's where I am going to start. It's somewhere I've been before: Looking at Mark Ines Russell painting weevils at the NHM.

(This is not one of his paintings)
Attribution: Sorry. I've forgotten where I got this from.
If you took this image please contact me and I'll immediately give benefit where due.


  1. I am of the "hear no weevil, see no weevil, speak no weevil" school. Still, your post was quite interesting.

  2. 'Quite', eh? Hmm.
    Whereas, I, I am shorter than my sister. So I was the lesser of the two weevils.

  3. Love the NH Museum too! Went there first on a school trip, then later at 16.30 (when free entry was allowed for the last hour!!), and now it's free all day as we found out when we went last year with our kids, who also loved it ... even the crowds.
    However, being a bit strange up in Barnsley, we always say "going down to London" :)

  4. I love it when Museums are free. They mostly are here in NZ, too.
    Barnsleyites clearly have a better knowledge of geographical conventions.