Thursday, June 25, 2009

Out Out Damned Appendix!

Just heard that Kent has had his appendix out while I've been swanning around in London:( He is Ok but in hospital for a couple of days. I'll hopefully be speaking to him tomorrow. What a nightmare for him! Hard to be 7000 km away...More on this tomorrow...
In other news, had a very enjoyable day of shopping in the morning followed by an afternoon visit to the Tower of London where we met up with some friends from Victoria, Toni and Mark and their boys Owen and Jonathon. We had a great time and Toni and I were selected to the women's team for a demonstration of some sort of medieval weapon similar to a trebuchet or a catapult (but 15 ft high). The women's team did not send the water balloon as far as the men, but we did manage actually to hit the target whereas the men did not even come close. Another example of how great length does not always matter.

I may have mentioned that I have a bit of an obsession with Henry VIII. Well for those of us with this affliction, The Tower of London is the place to be. Currently there is an exhibit on in the White Tower devoted to Henry VIII with many fine examples of his armour, clothes, personal items and sporting and hunting equipment. I found this to be fascinating! Oh RATHER! We then toured the Tower Grounds and saw the Scaffolding Site where Anne Boleyn (wife #2) and Catherine Howard (wife #4) were both beheaded.

'Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived' is the rhyme English school children learn to help them remember what happened to each of King Henry VIII's six wives. They say that the ghost of Anne Boleyn walks the Walls of the Tower at night carrying her head under her arm. Bit of a waste of time really. I mean just get on with being dead already.
Anyway, we then toured the Beauchamp tower, which here in England is pronounced Beechamp because they are British you know and don't have to pronounce Foreign words with any kind of an accent if they don't want to. This tower is where many prisoners were held and so is full of a kind of Medieval Graffiti which consists mainly of initials, but sometimes entire verses in Latin and even bas-relief carvings, scratched into the soft limestone brickwork. The entire room is full of it but the most interesting is the name 'Jane' which appears twice in the room and is a reference to Lady Jane Grey who, at 16, was manipulated in to being Queen in the power struggle that ensued after Henry VIII's death. She was only on the throne for 9 days before supporters of Queen Mary I, the daughter of Henry VIII by his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, had her taken to the tower and beheaded. She was said to ask the executioner to 'dispatch me quickly'. Her young husband was also executed earlier that same day. It's all wonderfully gruesome and sad and fascinating. I love it!
We then popped in for a quick look at the royal jewels, (no, not those royal jewels!) which Zoe loved, especially Queen Victoria's tiny little crown, and then had tea at the cafe where, to the delight of the kids, a small mouse made an appearance. Apparently, beheadings, kings, dungeons, treacherous queens, and armour are Ok if you are a kid but a mouse! This is exciting beyond belief. Our children who had begun rapid descent into a Zombie-like state, suddenly sprang to life and went into rodent-catching formation complete with a french-fry, sorry, chip, to be used as bait.
Following this adventure, we said goodbye to Toni and Mark and walked down the embankment to the St. Katherine's dock area which is really worth a visit if you are in the area, and had one of the best dinners ever at the Dicken's Inn which is an old spice warehouse that has been converted into a series of restaurants. I'm afraid we can no longer speak smugly about how terrible food is in London as it is actually REALLY good and not that pricey at all. Relatively speaking.
Made it home in one piece and wrestled the kids into bed only to have Jacob's bed collapse on him several minutes later. The bed frame was an ikea jobby and appeared to be made from cardboard and plastic. We somehow got it back together and then it crashed again! He is now on the floor, which is where I'll be if I don't get to bed so more tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. It's really gratifying that you're beginning to realize how truly lovely the English are - not the others so much - but definitely the English. Forget about the extraordinary number of equine women, Mrs Buckets and upper-class twits rolling around the streets; and instead focus on beheadings, cardboard furniture, rat-infested eateries and catapults: the real England that produce the likes of your mum and me. Well me, any way: she had more class.
    By the way, did the kids know that on this day in 1284 the Pied Piper rid Hamelin of rats?

    Personally I have always admired British food, especially the chip. I'm reading a book about English food right now called The Land That Thyme Forgot. None of you will really know England until you've sampled: tripe, black pudding, whelks, eel pie and offal which incidentally you can get at Spitalfields. Yes, that is spital. Your Dictionary. com defines spital as a place for lepers. So a spot of offal at Spital might make the medicine go down, to pander to one of your obsessions.
    Been along the river yet? You'll go past The Merchant Taylors School which may strike a chord with M being where her Dad was educated. Classy place. From there he went on to discover Bammer.
    Small world isn't it!
    Love to the kids. Bring me back a couple of pints of Worthingtons if you can, will you? Not much to ask for an old man held captive by amazons these many long years.