Like this, but don’t know what it’s about.

and this one below which is from a train museum.

Sadly trains are much neglected over here. This little museum is a great place for a day out especially with small children. There are loads of old steam trains and coaches some have been fully restored and others are in the process of restoration. Make sure that you take a picnic as there are very few catering facilities on site. Which is rather odd considering that there is a history of fine catering on the railways as evidenced in my pictures below.

I am told that trains over in the USA run at an average speed of 25 mph, you might think that is quite fast given the weight of traffic on the roads where I suspect the average speed maybe less than that. It certainly was for us on a recent trip to Santa Monica.

The photograph above was taken in a small part of the train museum which has a permanent display of artefacts from what might be called the golden age of train travel in the US. Every last thing was thought about down to the crockery and the cutlery. There are examples in the glass cases as can be seen here. And what brilliant graphics were used in those days with these understated designs. I was very taken by the beautiful bench from a railway station waiting area too.

We are back from the States now but I have a backlog of blogs about our visit there, so like stopping a huge Ocean liner, this mught take some time before they come to a natural halt.

The Getty Villa, the best bits.

This relatively small sculpture from the Getty Villa, a house built by the multi millionaire on the coast just close to Sunset Boulevard was one of the really great things I found at the place. The actual place left me a little cold, it’s quite monumental and although the main entrance is on the main road and a short walk up a hill to the place itself, one has to reach it by four wheels. As the museum is free and the parking 15 dollars this might make sense, but it seemed like madness to me. I suppose it was to discourage people like us who just parked on a side road.

We had to summon a shuttle bus which took us these few “unwalkable” yards. The driver was Mr Taciturn, young bearded and bored, but then who wouldn’t be if you spent the entire journey driving in not very big circles. My policy of cheery engagement did nothing to cheer him so we got the trip off to a poor start.

The villa design is inspired by the Villa Papyri at Hurculaneum. Concrete can never really replicate ancient stone. I’ve visited ancient places and they have a distressed charm that was lacking here. The place feels like a bunker, quite unlike the Getty Centre in L A itself which is a modern architectural triumph, this just does not seem to work for me.

It’s in a lovely spot on the coast but the gardens are fairly small and the whole place had the feel of a rich man showing off. That aside there are some really lovely artefacts to see and this one above, which is thousands of years old, was my favourite together with the one below. Quite a small sculpture, again centuries old, but what a wonderful face.

If you are in the area, then go and visit, but pay the 15 dollars to park, otherwise you are left to feel like a delivery of “povvies” to a concrete stately home.

The restaurant is very good and although the food is quite pricey, it’s very good quality and the service we had was first rate.