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I met tisiphone on the cold and gusty slope leading down to the Tower of London this morning; I hadn't seen her in a decade but she still looked like herself, to my relief - otherwise finding her would have been a challenge. Long lines waited patiently to buy tickets; I suspect most of them hadn't noticed the lovely indoor shop next door which was not only warm, out-of-the-wind, and lineless, but also sold tickets, albeit only with debit and credit. Then we wandered the paths and courtyards of the Tower.

I don't think I'd been since I was 10. We both remembered there being far more jewels on display in the crown jewel display than there are now. There were no necklaces, bangles, or tiaras, but there were fonts, patens, and caddinets; also, curtana's namesake. The ravens were in captivity and the chapel blocked off, but there were still towers to view. In Beauchamp Tower, I admired the delicate little skeletons carved by prisoners into the walls over centuries. In the Bloody Tower, from Sir Walter Ralegh's History of the World, I learned that the Tree of Knowledge was a fig tree.

taldragon and I phoned each other simultaneously, so neither was able to get through. Shortly afterwards, on the other side of the city, we met up with her and with scien for lunch at Al Bustan, a Lebanese restaurant recommended by Time Out, which promised prix fixe lunches of UKP 10. The price had changed - it was only 9. The meal was pleasant, but nothing spectacular; it seemed a reliable and competent place, with table linens and good service.

We went wandering again, this time to the V&A for Fashion and Ironwork, where I admired much, but learned fewer entertaining factoids than I had in the morning. Still, I now know more than I did before about biscuit tins.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
taldragon
Mar. 20th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
i had a good afternoon :) thanks all.
naxos
Mar. 21st, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
Cool - actually, I've always meant to write away for tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys, while we actually live here. Must do that.
owlfish
Mar. 22nd, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, that sounds neat. Thanks for mentioning it.
a_d_medievalist
Mar. 21st, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)
X's uncle Mike, a lovely man, was head of security for the Tower for many years. I always wished we'd taken advantage of his offer for a special tour. The ravens were on NPR the other day. I never knew they could talk!
tisiphone
Mar. 21st, 2006 11:42 am (UTC)
I was going to ask them what they thought about being locked up, because _nicolai_ wanted to know; but alas, they're away from people.
a_d_medievalist
Mar. 21st, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah ... the whole bird 'flu thing. But I guess the monarchy must be protected. Me? I'm betting that the ravens would be outta there if their wings weren't clipped!
tisiphone
Mar. 21st, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
Maybe, but maybe not - those are the fattest pigeons I've ever seen! It'd be like gluttons voluntarily leaving an all-you-can-eat buffet with food still on it.
owlfish
Mar. 22nd, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
I didn't know that either.
sioneva
Mar. 21st, 2006 10:08 am (UTC)
I loved the V&A - can't remember now what the special exhibitions were (I'm thinking something on Chinese ceramics?) but had a thoroughly good time.
owlfish
Mar. 22nd, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
The whole museum seemed to be under construction and reorganization this week. Indeed, it looks like the only current exhibit is the really odd Pop fashion one we looked at.
sioneva
Mar. 23rd, 2006 09:40 am (UTC)
That's a shame - it's definitely worth the time to go back when things are more settled there. It sounds silly coming from an art historian but I think it actually was one of the nicest museum experiences I've ever had, quite possibly because since I knew nothing about anything, art history ignoring the "decorative arts" as it does, I could actually view everything and not feel like I had to analyze it in any way.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )