lions with dental problems

Loki in London, Day 13: Apparently the Empire Has *Two* Attics

Today is another not-riding-the Tube day.  The human female is in a very good mood for two reasons.

1. While my attention was occupied elsewhere, she found a little Bakewell Tart at Waitrose for breakfast.  She and I then had a heated argument about whether such a thing is an Approved Breakfast Food.  I may have lost. The fact that Sigyn took one nibble and threw her support to the mortal did not help.

bakewell

2. We are visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum today. (There are those names again! I swear, whatever on this island isn’t Victoria is Albert.) This sprawling building, which is right next door to where we were yesterday, houses thousands of beautiful things, with emphasis on the artistic and the man-made.  Sculpture, furniture, jewelry, fashion, metalwork, antiquities–you name it, it’s here.  Maybe they will even let you see it.  I understand a lot of the accessions are not on display.

Look, Sigyn!  Do you see the giant seashell?  The museum is hosting an exhibit of paintings by and inspired by that Bottled Jello fellow.  They’ve put up this big scallop so that visitors can pose like the lady in one of his famous paintings.

clam

I am still smarting from the Great Tart Debate, and I cannot let the human female have everything her own way, so I have arranged that the gallery the humans most wish to visit is CLOSED today for no good reason at all.  Oh, too bad! Ehehehehe.   The item the human female was aching to see was the famous Evelyn Cabinet, a remarkable object of ebony, brass, and inlaid cut stone.  The helpful lady at the information desk says that the gallery should be open tomorrow.  We shall see about that

So now we are just rambling, seemingly at random.  We have begun in the Renaissance Sculpture hall, where one is greeted straight away by this imposing fellow.

VA-Samson

I do not know whether I like this statue or not. On the one hand, the larger man is smiting the smaller with the jawbone of an ass. I approve of smiting.  On the other hand, it stirs up some painful childhood memories of me calling Thor an ass and then getting smitten on the jawbone…   So, um, what do you have over there, Sigyn?

VA-sadlion

It’s another sad lion with funny teeth.  How does she find them all?

Still wandering.  Medieval goodies now. Sigyn and I both like these gaming pieces.

VA-gamepieces

Sigyn thinks the funny Anglo-Norman dragon-beastie from the 11th century is “cute,” while I find the carving on the 12th century German disk more appealing.

Ehehehehe! The human female has just been rebuked for leaning too close to a case to peer at some needlwork.  I love it!  Who’s naughty now? Hint:  it’s not me!

(later) Still wandering.  We all have our favorite objects.  The human male likes the illuminated manuscripts.  This teeny tiny book supposedly shows a king repentant for his sins.  Pfft!  I like the facing page better, where there is what looks like a very satisfactory drubbing going on.

tinybook

The female is enthusing about some embroidery on an 18th century gentleman’s frock coat.

frockcoat

Sigyn likes this dainty fan.

VA-fan

I am wishing the guard would look the other way so that I could examine these weapons more closely.

VA-weapons

I have never been much of a firearm man, but I am willing to learn.

More and more and more–stained glass, ecclesiastical gold and silver, Chinese rugs, Indian textiles, English watercolors.    How do they keep track of it all?  More to the point, would they notice if a few bits and bobs were, um, relocated. (Theoretically, I could empty that closed gallery today and no one would notice until tomorrow…)

(growl)  That is my stomach grumbling!  The humans have done it again, nerded right through what is the lunch hour for normal beings, well into the late afternoon.  Perhaps we can get a bite in the museum cafe?  Of course not!  The cafe is only serving tea now.   I don’t want tea!  I want a proper meal.

Back to the hotel we go, to shed camera gear and eat at that restaurant across the street again.  The humans are having a steak and a hamburger respectively.  They have *no* imagination.

Now what?  I simply do not believe it!  The humans are talking about visiting another church!  In fact, this has apparently been the plan all along.  I wondered why the female was wearing a skirt today!  She was thinking they would go directly to the church from the museum, since they are next door to one another.  Since she dawdled and piddled among the gew-gaws, missed dinner at the museum, and ended up going back to the hotel, it means she could have been comfortable in jeans all day up til now and changed before church.  Hah!  At least some mischief came out of this!    You three run along.  I shall stay in the room and catch up on my reading.  Or napping.  Or snacking.  (Housekeeping has been good about restocking the biscuits in the tea service.)

(later.) Sigyn says I missed a beautiful liturgy in a beautiful church.  Something to do with the feast day of a patron saint.  What?  The music was by Hadyn and Mozart and they had actual brass and kettle drums?  Well, I might have enjoyed that, but as you know, I’m not cut out for kneeling.  Only being knelt to.

The humans have something to besiege heaven about though, if they’re minded that way.  They’ve had a whole flurry of text alerts about a terrible storm back home, one that has spawned tornadoes in their town and produced widespread flooding.  Now they’re in their pajamas, trying frantically to pull up weather maps and news articles and find out if their house will still be there when they get back.

(A bit later) Ah.  From what they can gather, the house is probably fine, but getting to the Knittery Friend’s house to retrieve their car and then driving to their own town might be a bit tricky.  The human female is calming her nerves by consuming a second Bakewell Tart, having decided that bookending the day with them can magically make up for closed galleries, missed lunches, the fact that the hangings in the church didn’t quite all match, and the certainty that with all this rain the lawn is going to be three feet high when next she attempts to mow.

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Loki in London, Day 7: Halfway Through– The Empire’s Attic

It’s hard to believe that we’re already half-way through our stay in this city.  Some patterns have already become firmly established.  The humans exhibit an inexhaustible enthusiasm for photographing bits of architecture and every plant there is.  They complain about aching feet and hips and backs.  (I have seen to it that the female has blisters under her blisters.  I am not nearly even with her for her abandoning us at Kew!)   The female obsessively checks the markets for new-to-her apple varieties.  So far she has seen Scarlet Crisp (wanted to try, but had no way to deal with a multi-pack on the way to the day’s activities, after which I vanished them out of every store), Evalina (also multi-pack, dismissed as a mere color sport of a variety she was not impressed with), and Caudle (multi-pack and probably a cross between Golden Delicious and Red “Delicious”–urrrgh.)  They obsessively consult their planning Document, the weather,  and the map, trying to figure out what comes next and what to wear while doing it.

Today what comes next is taking the Tube up to Hoxton and mashing ourselves into the British Museum with half a million new acquaintances.  Mark my words!  When I take over the planet, not too far down my To-Do list is revisiting this place with no one else’s bloody head in the way.

All grumpling aside, this really is a splendid collection.  Various intrepid voyagers and acquirers boxed up the treasures of eight-tenths of the globe and sent them here for safekeeping.  They’ve saved me a lot of time–when I come to rule this rock, all the goodies will already be in one place.

They’re still collecting, too.  We have tickets for a brand new exhibit, all about two ancient, sunken cities that are still being excavated.  Sadly, they won’t let us take photos.

(Later)  Sigyn, didn’t you think that was fascinating?  Let’s go see what else is here.

The biggest item in this place is probably this winged whatsit.

wings

And that’s not even all of it–its hinder parts were obscured by someone’s bloody head.  

Note the Egyptian fellow in the background.  I think he might be a relative of the pawed creature we met down on the Embankment the other day.  There are whole rooms here devoted to Egyptian antiquities, Sigyn.  I wonder what’s in the center of that swirling knot of gawkers?

rosetta

Oh–I’ve read about this!  It’s a sort of lithic decoder ring that let archaeologists read the squiggly Egyptian writing.  (If they’d had Allspeak, they wouldn’t have had to lug this back from the desert.)

There is no crowd at all around this other case, which has something even more to my taste…

BMuseum-EgyptSpells

Sigyn is more taken with the Museum’s various toothless lions.

Snuffy

She’s named this one Snuffy.  And this is Snuffy’s cousin:

snuffys-cousin

(Later.)  We have wandered and wandered, from the royal treasures of Ur to Georgian silver and Greek urns; from big, imposing statues to this unassuming little vase that Sigyn wanted to take home.

vase

If the human female didn’t have so much stuff crammed in her purse, we could have managed it.

That noise you hear is Sigyn’s tummy rumbling.  Let’s see what the Museum is serving for lunch.  Hmm.  Another pre-packaged sandwich.  (Do you know, I think there is a single kitchen that prepares all the museum and takeaway food in the WHOLE CITY, because I am sure I have seen this sandwich before.  Yes.  This particular sandwich.)  A cup of grapes makes a token nod toward nutrition.

BMuseum-lunch1

But heads soon nod in the other direction…

BMuseum-lunch2

The human male is eating his way through all the bizarre flavors of crisps this island has to offer.  I draw the line at “prawn.”  A man’s got to have his standards.  The human female was hoping there’d be Bakewell Tart.  She has a particular fondness for that concoction and has been eager to sample it again.  So far, this trip has been tartless.  (If I play my cards right, I can keep it that way.)

There are a few more things to look at, notably an exhibit on treasure hoards.

hoard

Gimmee.

There are also some old Anglo-Saxon tidbits. This stuff all looks like it could have come straight from Asgard!  I particularly like these buckle-ish pieces,

brooch

But this helm reminds me unpleasantly of one of my more oafish family members.

BMuseum-helm

You know, it’s hard to get good photographs in this dim light, and this place is about to close anyway.  I don’t know about you, Sigyn, but my head is so full of beautiful things that I can’t look at one more plate, plaque, or potsherd, and all the labels are jumbled up in my memory.  Perhaps I should have taken notes…  Oh, well, the human male no doubt has the entire museum on film.

All that remains to cap this day is to find a good dinner.  No food that comes in boxes or plastic sleeves!  After dumping camera gear and various what-nots back at the hotel, we’ve settled on the place right across the street.

Fish and chips for the human male…

fish-n-chips

Sigyn is little confused.  Remember, sweetie?  I explained this at lunch.  “Chips” are French Fries and “Crisps” are Chips…  No, I don’t know what the green stuff is. I don’t trust it.

The female is having the risotto.

risotto

Supposedly, the brown and green bits are spinach and mushrooms and she’s plowing through it steadily, but it really doesn’t look appetizing, does it?  Let’s finish off this day by sampling all the goodies in the pastry case instead!

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