Second day, lessons about the structural integrity of the feet versus the unbending iron of concrete pavement has not been learned, or at least conveniently forgotten. It was time to visit the Tower of London. No tourist cliche would be unturned for us, it seems.
Here are the things I knew abot the Tower. Ravens, something something, crumbling of the Kingdom; Ann Bolynn, it's not exactly a tower?
It's clearly, much, much more. Not the least of which that they house the Crown Jewels. The line up for that was approaching Disney ride levels in the Summer. Definitely becomes a sunk cost fallacy story at some point, and a 'we can't be all this stupid to wait to see some rocks'. Ladies and gentlemen, we are all, actually, that stupid.
They are amazing jewels, to be sure, amazing amoun of history. But also the history it glosses over, like how exactly, did they get that great big stone from India, or the African star. On some level it is a bit of 'spoils of war, so tough cupcakes', but it'd be nice if they acknowledge that aspect, at some point.
Power, is of course, taken by force. The meme going about concerning pirates and kings comes to mind. When they mention the Norman king who came over and conquered England, and now, poof, his and his line are now legitimate. Then the shell and pomp and legitimacy of royalty, all the machinery comes into play to keep the status quo, until they are overthrown.
We go into the Prisoners Tower and, certainly amongst the religious and royal prisoners, you see how fickle justice is, where power lays suddenly determines if having Catholic sympathies gets you shut up in a tower to die from dysentery in a decade or so.
And in that tower, you see all these inscriptions about God and religion and I'm a little struck by how all pervasive Christianity was at the time, to the point of persecution and torture and a poorly aim strike from a hangman's ax.
I mean, sure, it would be nice to believe in something THAT much.
Our guide was fantastic, Scott Kelly. He was Scottish and, well, I'm never an expert on accents and wasnt sure if his was a Northern English or Scottish but pretty soon he goes into side tirades about the inaccuracies of Braveheart and clears that all up for me.
He was a rousing, blast of enthusiasm, well practiced side jokes that didn't sound like he was delivering them for the 129th time, an enormous voice not out of place if it was yelling me to "get down, enemy contact, enemy contact". And this bit was cleared up when he told us us Beefeaters, or Tower Wardens, are picked from the UK Armed services with at least 22 years service.
The 20+ years of service caught my attention, being a programmer of as many years. And yes, being a soldierr and being a keyboard jockey are in no way similar, but a recognizing a kindred spirit in someone who has stuck through their job/calling/craft for this long cannot be ignored.
At some point Owl Jr. goes into the Fusiliers building, and I tell Mrs Owl and Owlet I'll follow him.
Go in, have a look around, neat, Napoleon's eagle, cool, rad, ok, we are out, and now Mrs Owl and Owlet are gone. Gone. They were just on the steps moments ago.
A fun wrinkle to this story is that Mrs. Owl does NOT have a data plan in Europe, only I did, so... no way to touch base.
Owl Jr is now a bit worried, and I have a small knot in the stomach.
Owlet had heard I was following Owl Jr. They wee JUST here. So we wait on the steps.
A few minutes pass, certainly enough for them to say, go to the washroom and return. Ok, not panicking. Walk out to the front, maybe they went to the entrance waiting for us? This is the tower of London, so the walk is not nothing. Cobbled streets, so many tourists. Nope. Not there. Knot could now easil tie up a very strong man.
Return back to Owl Jr. Ok, still got a son. Go out to the base of the steps of the White Tower, where we were going next, maybe they walked there and waiit for us at the beginning of THAT tour. No, go back to Owl Jr. Knot could be used in a tractor pull contest. Motorized.
Now it's been about 20 minutes and the knots have grown considerable. Maybe enough to moor a fair sized dreadnaught head and stern.
Hit our family slack channel, send Mrs. Owl a panicked message. Maybe she'll get on wifi and get this slack message. Wait. Owl Jr. has gone from worried to distressed, I've gotten images of raising him on my own, and my fumbling attempts to replace his mother.
25ish minutes later. Ping. Slack. They had went through the enttire tour of the White Tower, and were nearby.
Never has a notification been more welcome.
And that's the rough story of how me and Mrs. Owl now both have europe wide unlimited data for the trip.