London, Part 2.

And we’re back! So, London. Let’s start with the Tower of London. First of all, that’s a misnomer. There’s a bunch of towers in a walled area. It should be called the Towers of London. Plural. It feels good to get that off my back.

The weather was really, really good. I know! I was surprised as well. It made hearing all about the various horrible tortures and beheadings so much more pleasant. There also was a nice view of the strange London skyline. That building in front there is called The Gherkin.

The Tower of London is famous for housing The Crown Jewels. Sooooo pretty. This was one of my favorite moments of the trip. I showed Cricket the magical, magical shiny hats and asked him which was his favorite. He informed me that he really liked the door. Yep, the big giant steel door. Some of the finest jewels in the world were directly in front of him, and Cricket was digging the enormous steel bolts on the door. DUDE, BIG SHINY ROCKS! THE BIGGEST AND SHINIEST! THEY DON’T GET BIGGER! OR SHINIER! Fine, go look at the door. Sigh.

They also had a lovely collection of suits of armor. Here is Henry the Eighth’s.

Everybody assumes that the big bulbous codpiece is due to Henry being really, umm, gifted. I read somewhere that it’s actually because he had The Syph and anything touching his junk was really ouchy, so there was a lot of padding in there to keep Mr. Happy from bumping into anything hard, like a big metal suit of armor.

I also learned about Edward the First. He reigned from 1272 to 1307. He was 6’2″, which nowadays is pretty tall, but can you imagine in 1270? It must have been like being surrounded by Oompa-Loompas all the time. Anyway, it got him his nickname Longshanks and they had to build him a special bed because his whole lower half would hang off all the pre-existing beds.

Cricket was really excited about this gun. Once he explained it to me, so was I.

I might screw this description up a little, so please forgive me, I know close to nothing about firearms. Back in the day, you fired a shot and then you had to do this whole procedure with the powder and the musket ball and the flamey stick, it was a slow and tedious process. If you look closely, this gun has two barrels – and two firing mechanisms. You could fire one, and then quickly fire the other.

This was awesome. You know, if you went somewhere in the United States and they had a vermin problem, they would shut down until the problem was taken care of. In the Tower of London, they have signs like this.

How freakin’ great is that? “Keep a lookout for my friends and family!” And an adorable Quentin Blake drawing! It makes the spread of pestilence so cute. Sadly, I saw no rats. Disappointing.

I did see ravens, though. The other thing the Tower of London is famous for is the ravens. Ravens are really, really large crows. Really large. Like small turkeys. I, of course, am obsessed with them. There are presently six of them living in the Tower, and I made friends with the green-anklet one. Here is a picture of Green-Anklet hanging out near my feet.

And here he is sitting on a cannon and saying, “Blaaaaah!!”.

If you are planning on visiting the Tower of London, you should know there are a million stairs. And not just normal stairs, oh no. Awful 15th century stairs, all weird heights and jinky angles and tight spaces. My calves were tender for two days after. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am about as far from an athlete as it gets, so chances are this won’t be as much of a problem for you, but still. Lots and lots of awkward stairs. Up, down, spiral – it’s like a stair fetishist’s dream come true. Just so you know.

Now, signs. Crickets loves a good foreign sign. Since he has brought it to my attention, I am now aware of signs. Here are a few.

I am very immature.

Tee hee hee. Also:

Snort. Giggle.

This was my favorite sign. It was often all by itself, so I had no idea what it was referring to. This was the conversation that went on in my mind when I saw it.


“Huh? Do what?”


“I…I don’t know what-”


“Okay…I’ll try not to?”


And then The Mad Hatter and the March Hare tried to shove the Dormouse in the teapot.

At my job, the proofreaders often have a difficult time with documents that come from the UK, because even though we speak the same language, some of the grammar and punctuation rules are different. For example, they use commas way less frequently. There was this sign in the bathroom:

And Cricket had to listen to me yell,

“Guests are reminded to take care when standing or walking on wet surfaces. For additional safety COMMA! non-slip rubber mats are available in the bathroom and also from Housekeeping. Moisten the base of the bath first COMMA! then place the mat in the bath.”

Dating a Grammar Nazi is fun.

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