Loki in London, Day 10: Science Overload

Today we are doing something Different! and Exciting! and Non-Traditional!

We are not taking the Tube anywhere.  Nope, we are staying right in “our” neighborhood, sampling the best that Kensington has to offer.

I have heard that the finest things in Kensington–in all London, in fact–are to be found at Harrod’s, that great temple to the goddesses Luxury and Ostentation.  Great Frigga’s corset!  I thought St. Pancakes was fancy!   Even the window displays are opulent.  Sigyn approves of the floral china.

Harrods-china

The humans have only grudgingly been allowed to enter these august premises!  However, it turns out that, oddly enough, the Food Court is one of the best places to procure reasonably-priced comestibles, so we are breakfasting here.  We are surrounded by delightful options.  How about some fruit, Sigyn?  I believe every jewel-like nectarine is hand-polished by artisans who train for a lifetime to do so…

Harrods-fruit

We could choose some baked goods–the humans have selected some small breads filled with cheese and bacon.  There are scones and buns and rolls and…

…and Sigyn has just spotted the cupcakerie.

Harrods-cupcakes

Yes, dearest, the nutrition experts do tell you to eat colorful things, but I’m not sure this is what they have in mind.  No, I do not think milk chocolate counts as a serving of dairy, but this milk chocolate camel is amusing.

camel-milk-chocolate

Oh, wait. I  read that sign wrong.  That is not a milk chocolate camel, it is camel’s milk chocolate.   Urrr.  Moving on!

Our first stop today is the Museum of Natural History.  The human female is in love with the actual edifice.  I will admit that it is an imposing structure, inside and out.

natural-history

Some of the little terra-cotta decorations are quite to my taste.

NH-snakes

The place has whole rooms dedicated to small, fast-moving, noisy parasites.  Who are all looking at the displays.  Trying not to step on any smalls, we are looking for a temporary exhibit of which we have read.

If Sigyn’s tiny, “ooh!” and her starry-eyed expression of ineffable bliss is any indication, we have found it.

NH-botany3

There is a whole hallway full of botanical art, a good portion of it the work of the two intrepid Bauer brothers.   Their art, I’m given to understand, is as accurate as it is beautiful.

MS-davinci-plants

NH-botany4

One could fill whole books with their output and that of other artists.

NH-botany2

If I did not think an alarm would sound, I would liberate one for Sigyn.  She likes the small, dainty flowers best.

NH-botany1

I, however, prefer this large, parasitic Rafflesia, whose meter-wide blossoms are redolent with the aroma of rotting flesh.

NH-rafflesia

Not that I find that attractive.  I just want to put one in the human female’s office over a long weekend.

Well, that about exhausts the exhibits on plants.  Shall we go look at some mammals?  No need to feel sad!  I promise you, Sigyn, each and every one specifically stated in its will that it wished to donate its body to science.

NH-muskox

Sigyn likes them cute and furry.  This gazelle however, is sorely in need of orthodontia.  Being also cursed with an unfortunate name, it was no doubt beaten up for its lunch money every morning before school.

NH-Dorcas

Fur is all very well, but how about a little love for the scaly?

NH-basilisk

I do love a good cape.  Or perhaps we can admire some of the toothier denizens of the deep?

NH-gulpers

They do say that a gulper eel can swallow items several times larger than itself.  Rather like Volstagg…

The noise level is starting to wear on the humans–I doubt the architect of this admirable building considered acoustics when he designed the high ceilings and expansive rooms.  The map denotes something called the Treasure Vault. That sounds promising and, since it is small, will perhaps not have so many school tour groups!

Ah.  No actual treasure, just important items from the museum’s collection.   Moon rock, dodo, first edition Darwin, etc., etc.  The best thing in the room is the ceiling.  It features a lengthwise slice from a large oak tree, a surprisingly decent representation of Yggdrasil.

NH-Yggdrasil

I think we have had enough Natural History for one day.  The humans are of the same opinion, so we are going around the block to visit the lesser-known but equally-delightful Science Museum.

There is something about this model diving bell that I find especially appealing, though I can’t put my finger on it.

MS-divingbell

(Note the squid peering through the opposite porthole.  He joined our party at the Natural History Museum gift shop.  His name is Cuddles.)

The first floor is largely taken up with the engines of one James Watt, but the exhibit we are keen to see (and are delighted to find not over, as we feared) concerns the scientific drawings of the multi-talented Leonardo of Vinci.  He was quite the contraptioneer.  For this exhibit, artisans have built models to scale from some of his drawings.  His flying machines are a tad impractical.

MS-davinci-parachute

But this could come in handy,

MS-davinci-bow

as would this device for flinging large rocks!

MS-catapult

This primitive vehicle might even be Hulk-proof.  Hmmm…

MS-davinci-tank

Sigyn, of course, is more interested in the man’s botanical drawings,

MS-davinci-plantsketch

as well as in larking about in the gift shop.

MS-giftshop

Patience, dear.  I did promise you the world.  Just not like this.  Dream bigger.

We have done it again–spent an entire day peering at exhibits and reading labels.  We even skipped lunch so as to devote more time to study.  Enough!  I hunger!  Feed me now!

Kensington is not lacking in posh places to eat.  Some are too crowded, some are too pricey, some are too not-what-the-human-male-is-in-the-mood-for.  I shall slacken the reins a bit on the “bad luck” we are having with pubs and find us a place to dine.

pub

This will do nicely.  Sigyn, what do you fancy?

pub-classics

She thinks “bangers and mash” sounds funny.  I think it sounds like Thor.  I am with the human female on this one. I think it is a Pie Day.

pub-lokimenu

She’s opted for the beef-and-ale pie, with some weird drink to wash it down

pub-soda

First yogurt, now lemonade.  I can never decide if “elderflower” sounds appropriate for an ancient god or too fru-fru for the Rightful King of Asgard. 

But the pie looks good.

pub-pie

Poke, poke, poke.

(later)  The humans have eaten so much that they are having to “walk it off” as dusk falls over the city.  It has been a long day.  I can scarce muster the attention to marvel at the decor-encrusted Albert Memorial, the domed cake that is the Royal Albert Hall, or the pleasing symmetry of the Royal Conservatory of Music.  Nor can I fathom the real estate prices in this borough. *Yawn.*  Someday, Sigyn, I shall acquire for us a nice little mansion here so that you can visit the museums and eat pie and floral cupcakes to your heart’s content.

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