Exiting through the gift shop is always a pleasure for me, a well curated shop can complement an exhibition or museum.  Recently I have noticed that no self-respecting buyer would consider not stocking a rubber duck.  Not your ordinary yellow kind of a duck, but special wittily customised ducks or Cultural Ducks as I like to call them.

Cultural ducks

These Statue of Liberty Ducks can be found in the shop after the American Dream: Pop to Present at the British Museum.  They nestle next to a rather fine selection of American novels and some stars and stripes shoe laces.Cultural ducks

The National Army Museum has not one but two ducks on offer.   For bathers on manoeuvres there is a camouflaged duck.

Cultural ducks

Or for more formal ablutions maybe a duck in the dress uniform of a guardsman is more appropriate.

Cultural ducks

Finally, looking for the perfect present for the retiring MP in your life, then look no further than the shop at the Palace of Westminster.  What could make for a finer souvenir than a Big Ben duck?

Have you seen any Cultural Ducks in your travels?

This post is linked up My Sunday Photo over at Darren Coleshill’s Photalife, why not pop over and see what else has been causing people to click their shutter buttons.


BOOK REVIEW: GOLDEN HILL by Francis Spufford

Golden Hill

Who is Mr Smith?  Is the question that everybody wants an answer to in GOLDEN HILL, even the reader.  We even have to wait to discover that his given name is Richard.  Not that you feel cheated about the withheld information, just page turningly curious to find out.

To begin at the beginning, Mr Smith arrives in colonial New York on a wet November day, he makes his way to Lovell and Company on Golden Hill Street and presents a bill of exchange for £1,000 payable in 60 days.  This is an enormous sum of money and to pay it out to an unknown young man would be foolhardy.  Now we sit and wait for those sixty days to pass and whilst we do the world of eighteenth century New York is brought vividly to life for us.

Mr Smith is pleased to discover that coffee houses have made it to the new world and we spend much time in them with him observing the political factions of a truly new New York.  He falls in love, gets chased by a mob, escapes over rooftops, is arrested twice, fights a duel, performs in a play and we still don’t know who he is.  Hints and a tiny bits of information are dropped along the way, enough for you to ponder.

All is revealed just before the end and very satisfying it is too.  Golden Hill is a joyous romp through colonial New York.  We see the city through the eyes of a newcomer and in doing so get immersed not only in the geography but also the politics of the place.  I suspect that Golden Hill will be in Top 10 books for 2017, why not read it and see if it will make your top ten too.

DISCLAIMER:  Faber and Faber sent me a review copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review, in the mean time Mr CW had bought me copy too!  Thank you everybody.

GOLDEN HILL by Francis Spufford
Published by Faber and Faber
Paperback £8.99, Kindle

British Books Challenge 2017