Day of the Moon Goddess Selene February 7th

Full Moon Photos by Natalie Tobert – you can find out more about her work here:

The Goddess Book of Days’ has the the 7th as the Day of Selene and other Moon Goddesses. (February 6th as the Festival of Aphrodite)

Selene is one of the most beguiling of Goddesses as she is the epitome of the Moon (Romans knew her as Luna). She, who gives that silvery, ethereal light to dark days, who appears and disappears to a routine few of us really understand. She is therefore beautiful, beguiling, unknowable. She is the Goddess of Intuition. She brings the tides and the monthly periods, and so is a Goddess of power as well as fertility, pregnancy and so love, and mothers, and babies.

To my mind, far more powerful than Aphrodite, Selene seems much more independent. On the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum she is shown with her brother Helios, the Sun God; with Hercules – the epitome of male strength, Demeter and Persephone, representing the earth and underworld (or life and death), Athene and her father, Zeus; Iris, the messenger Goddess; Hestia, the Goddess of the home, and Dione with her daughter ,Aphrodite, representing love. At one end, Helios brings up the sun with his Chariot and Horse and at the other, Selene’s horse sinks exhausted in Oceanus after a glorious night of moon shine. It’s a wonderful arrangement, which suggests the scheme was to show a balanced cosmos between female and male forces, framed by the Sun and the Moon.

cartoon of Elgin Marble, showing Selene's Horse at the right hand end
Cartoon of Elgin Marble, showing Selene’s Horse at the right hand end

I did a longer piece on this pediment of the Parthenon Marbles here

Photograph of the Moon against a black background byMike Petrucci -unsplash
Selene – Moon Goddess by Mike Petrucci -unsplash

I have used several of Natalie Tobert’s photos in my post which I pluck from Natalie’s face facebook feed which is a veritable visual feast. She worked, as an archaeologist at the Museum of London at the same time as me. She is an excellent potter, photographer and artist. Natalie was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of Society of Designer Craftsmen. You can see more of her pictures here.

First published in 2022, and revised February 2024.

August – Time for Ice Cream (And, First Try, AI)

Photo of Ice House in grounds of Keystone Pub, York, from Doubletree Hilton
Ice House in grounds of Keystone Pub, York, from Doubletree Hilton

From my hotel room in York which overlooks the City Wall, near Monk Bar, I noticed a strange brick building dug into the bank in front of the City Wall. ‘Very curious.’ I thought, as I looked, ‘It’s either a kiln or an Icehouse. ‘ A ridiculous place for a kiln, I concluded, and as the weather was nice, I went out to explore.

By Monk Bar (Bar means Gate in York) I found a pub called the Keystones, and through its yard I could see the round brick structure, you can see below.

Ice House in grounds of Keystone Pub, York
Ice House in grounds of Keystone Pub, York

‘Icehouse!’ I thought to myself with increasing confidence, and the ladder to the cavernous conical hole beneath it proved the point. It dates to about 1800.

Detail of Ice House in grounds of Keystone Pub, York

I wrote a brief history of Ice Houses in November 2022, which you can read here.

But it doesn’t say much about ice cream. I have been meaning to write a piece on that subject since I got a great article on the history of Ice Cream from the Friends of the British Museum magazine. I intended to prĂ©cis it and do a little research and include here.

But, in the meantime, I received an email from ‘Jetpack’, a plugin for WordPress users, that offered me an AI plugin, which I wanted to try. So this is the first AI generated piece of information I have ever used.


Ice cream has a long and fascinating history. It’s believed that the ancient Chinese were the first people to eat a form of ice cream, flavoured with fruit and honey. The Persians also had a version of ice cream using ice and grape syrup. In the 13th century, Marco Polo brought the idea of ice cream to Europe from China. The dessert became popular in Italy, where early recipes called for flavoured snow and ice. By the 18th century, ice cream was regularly served in English and American households. Today, ice cream is enjoyed all over the world in many variations and with a plethora of flavours.

Jet Pack AI Generated Text Ends (I’ve improved its UK spelling and grammar.)

Now, settle yourself down with that pistachio and ciocolata gelato and read real writing on the subject of the origins of Ice Cream from the British Museum, and please notice that the ice house pictured below is also, weirdly, just by a City Wall.

British Museum Blog ice-cream-inside-scoop

Blog Page from British Museum showing picture of an ancient Mesopotamian Ice House by a defensive wall.


Arlo at the Beethoven Exhibition, British Library, March 2022

For our next outing we went to the British Library but Arlo didn’t like the Beethoven exhibition. It was too dark and nothing to surreptitiously climb on. He definitely does not like dark exhibitions which is a shame because it seems to be the design idea of the moment. The Nero and the Stonehenge exhibitions were also dark spaces working on creating atmospheric views using bright colours, spot lighting and spectacular objects. But it doesn’t work for a 20 month old.

Nor did the largely text based Paul McCartney’s Lyrics exhibition attract a second of his attention. ‘Paul who?’ he seemed to be saying as we stumped past to the very quiet sound of ‘Hey Jude’.

What he did like was the escalators. We went up and down, and up and down, and then onto the second set where we repeated the repeat.

British Library – note the escalator to the right

And down and back again, and no time to see the enigma machine. We ate in the upstairs Restaurant which is a really pleasant place to spend a lunch time.

Enigma Machine, British Library

Time for him to have a sleep so we walked to the British Museum through Bloomsbury without much sign that he he would nod off. But we found a couple of interesting revolutionaries of the 19th Century en-route.

Plaque to Robert Owen ‘father of the Cooperative Movement’, Burton Street

Then to Cartwright Gardens named after John Cartwright, called ‘the Father of Reform’. He had quite an amazing life. He refused to serve in the Navy as he would not fight against the American Colonists in the War of Independence. He supported reform of Parliament, universal suffrage, annual Parliaments and secret ballots.

John Cartwright Statue Cartwright Gardens.

The milk soon did its job and Arlo was asleep, so I took him to the Member’s Room for a cup of tea while he slept. I could keep an eye on the book trolley selling my book! (just behind Arlo’s head).

Sleep in the Member’s Room overlooking the Great Court

When he woke we whizzed around the third Floor but Arlo was reluctant to leave his buggy because it was much more crowded than our last visit when he was able to run free around the galleries which he loved. So, I could look at some old favourites like the Portland Vase. This by the way was smashed into hundreds of pieces and very beautifully restored. In 1848 a drunken visitor threw a sculpture into the case and smashed the vase. It was restored but 37 pieces were separated and, by luck, survived until 1988 when the vase was reunited with the pieces and expertly restored.

The Portland Vase – 15BC = 25AD Cameo Glass
Plate Cameo Glass 15BC – 25AD


The Nebra Disc

What an Exhibition! The BM has pulled together an international array of treasures from the Stonehenge era. It is stunning , the objects are amazing. Stonehenge itself is there in the labels but it is not at the forefront – the objects are left to speak for themselves. The labels are there to give some details and some context but they never dominate.

It is beautifully lit and mounted, and really a triumph. I will go back again to see how the labels and information tell their stories and report back at greater length.