Skip to main content

Europe: London Tower London, and Cruel and Unusual Punishment - March 14th

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Insults From A Senile Victorian Gentleman

You SIR, have the hygeine of an overly ripe avocado and the speaking habits of a vaguely deranged chess set. I find your manner to be unctuous and possibly libelous, and whatever standard you set for orthodontal care, it's not one I care for. Your choice in news programs is semi-literate at best and I do believe your favourite news anchor writes erotic literature for university mascots. While I'm not one to point out so obvious a failing, there has been rumour that the brunches you host every other Sunday are made with too much lard and cilantro. If you get my meaning. There is something to be said about your choice of motor-car fuel, but it is not urbane and if I were to repeat it, mothers would cover their children's ears and perhaps not a few longshoremen within earshot would blush. How you maintain that rather obscene crease in your trousers and your socks is beyond me, perhaps its also during this time that you cultivate a skin regime that I'm sure requires the dea

Europe : London Maritime Museum - March 15th

I've never, well I suppose most people don't either, thought of myself as a flat. Despite the fact I rarely go anywhere. Despite the fact that, given my shut in lifestyle I have about as much street smarts as, well, a middle aged programmer who rarely goes out.  But I am a flat, entirely. First step is admitting I have a problem.  On our way to the bus station, and at NO time did I sense any of this, or even have a sense of anyone being very close to me, both the zippers in my bag were opened, and my rather nice down jacket was nicked. Shameful, I know. But, I suppose, bravo on the thiefs, I didn't feel a thing. And well, I suppose we are going to Italy, so, less to pack? It was a certain jet of anger, I suppose, and befuddlement. But I also was so very thankful I had not lost my wallet and/or phone, both which would require hours and hours of hassle and phone calls to set me to rights.  It might be my stoic optimism is a source of my lack of street smarts. But I'm also

Europe: Italy Coloseum - March 17

It's our first breakfast in Rome. Water with coffee, try to speak Italian first, there are any number of hints and advice on how to do it. Maybe, like the english museums, we are just overpreparing. We go to a fairly well reviewed place that is, importantly, very close by, being wary to keep our feet fresh for the upcoming tour of the Colosseum. We go, and order, and attempt a bit of Italian, which is always greet warmly, although I am surprised at how reserved the Italians have been that I've interacted with. Admittedly the first ones I talked to were at the airport and the train station, it was later in the night. But I assume that those I speak to in the hospitality industry are going to be the friendliest of the lot.  And maybe it's not so much reserve, maybe it's more of a coolness. And there is certainly a sense of cool in Italy. My super rad star wars print shirts are the ONLY print shirts I've seen. Everyone is dressed rather well, like out of a