London

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 11: Dear Thor, We’re Here; Wish You Were Fine

Our objective today is Greenwich.  You know, that place where my dear “brother” Thor is not welcome.  Ehehehehe.  We are back on the south side of the river and, apparently, it is too much trouble for most tourists to come out this way, because we have the place much more to ourselves than has been the norm in most of the rest of the city.  There’s a lot to be said for elbow room.

The Tube station debouches right next to a very famous ship.

cuttysark

It is just a bit bigger than the one I sailed to Svartalfheim.  Sigyn, did you know it was named after a lady’s undergarment?  True!

There are all sorts of fun things in the ship’s gift shop (every place we visit has a gift shop.  I think Waitrose has a gift shop.)  I could use one of these chests for those gold coins I saw at the British Museum.

treasurechests

But which size?

A short walk has brought  us to what used to the the Royal Naval College.  It may look a little familiar.

maritime-college2

You can see that they are still putting it back together from where Thor smashed it up.

greenwich-repairs

Now this whole complex of buildings is the campus for the University of Greenwich.  Some of the old fanciness from the age of Brittania Ruling the Sea survives.  The painted ceiling of the old dining hall is, um, ornate, to say the least.

ceiling

And that’s not even all of it.  Sigyn, you will get a crick in your neck trying to see everything!  The human male is trying to photograph all of it.  Silly mortal.  Hmm.  I wonder– if I painted myself into all of this ornatery, how long would it take anyone to notice?

(later)  We looked at the ceiling–and the painted walls–for what seems like hours.  Our next stop is the National Maritime Museum.  Lunch first, please!

quichelunch

Poke, poke, poke.  Egg pie?!  That’s not very nautical!  No, I think the human female needs some weevily ship’s biscuit and salt beef

There are some interesting exhibits–carved figureheads, model ships, and this very fine portrait of a redhead in a beribboned dress, which the museum is trying to buy.  (The portrait, not the dress.)

armada.jpg

It was painted to commemorate a big sea battle.  Maybe that’s what I need–a really fancy portrait. It seems to be good PR.  So is a sea battle.  If you win it.

Sigyn’s favorite is this model lighthouse.

lighthouse

I think I can spit on the human female’s head from up here…

The floor of one whole room is taken up by the most enormous map.  Look, Sigyn, that’s right where we are now!

greatmap

Do you see that red line?  It’s a very important line!  It marks the establishment of the  Primer Idiom, that very precise and pompous way the British have of speaking as if England is the Center of the World. If we hike up the hill to the Observatory, we can learn all about how it came about.

(later)  Ehehehe!  The human female, despite all the recent walking, is certainly out of shape!  She is puffing like one of James Watt’s steam engines.  But she made it, I’ll give her that, and did not (to my disappointment) keel over into the nettles on either side of the path.  There’s a great view back to where we’ve already been.

topview

Well, rats.  It’s getting very late, and it’s a bit expensive to get into the Observatory.  The miserly humans have decided to content themselves with looking at some of the free exhibits and the collection of nautical chronometers.  Clockses in boxes, that’s what those are.

We can’t get into the big courtyard where one can stand with one foot in the Eastern Hemisphere and one in the Western, but there’s a little secret kissing gate that will let us into a smaller area where the junction is similarly marked.  Here we are, Sigyn!

prime-meridian

I promise, love, that this is the only thing that will ever come between us.

Going down is easier than coming up, which is good, because the human female is moaning about her sore feet again.  Of course, now that we have found an unexpected herb garden on our way out, she and Sigyn are all enthusiasm once more.

greenwich-garden

We are making very slow and painful progress back to the tube station.  The other three have detoured to look at a pretty but slightly shabby church.  Go in and look.  You know you want to. I’ll just sit out here and wait.  Goodness knows the Future Ruler of Midgard has nothing better to do.

Now we are having to weave in and out of a traffic jam that has no apparent cause.  I’ve noticed that this happens a lot all over London.  The humans have taken to calling this time of day The Honking Hour.

(later)  We have successfully regained our “home” neighborhood, after sticking our heads up at a Tube station we haven’t seen yet, just to see if there was an interesting place to eat dinner.  There wasn’t.  There was a big monument, commemorating some enormous fire that happened years ago. (I didn’t start it, I swear!)

(a bit later) Now we are eating take-away kebabs in the hotel, having a sort of carpet picnic.  I think the human female is going native, because when she was buying the food, she was muttering about “queuing at the till.”  Or maybe she’s just being pretentious.  It’s hard to tell.

How about an early night?  More to see and do tomorrow! Believe it or not, Sigyn, we are not yet done exploring London.

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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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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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Loki in London, Day 5: Of Pussycats and Puddles

There’s an old Midgardian children’s rhyme whose entirety escapes me, but it involves interrogating a feline about his traveling to this city to gape at a monarch…

An activity we are apparently attempting.

It is NOT a good day for this, weather-wise.  Spring has exited stage left and winter is enjoying a curtain call.  There is a cold rain falling, and the humans are wearing layers of wool, waterproof shoes, rain jackets, and determined scowls.  This party must and WILL see the Queen go by.  Her route is supposed to pass this point at some time this morning, but lack of good intelligence about precisely when means we will be standing here for quite a while.

Every now and then something interesting happens.  A band goes by.

parade1

A second band goes by, playing a different tune, not quite out of earshot of the first.  Then some guards march past.

parade2

And people say my headgear is ridiculous.

There are horses. Sigyn loves the horses.  No, sweetie, you can’t call them over and feed them treats.  They’re working right now, love.

parade4-horses

Now there’s something interesting!  Look, Sigyn!  Do you see what those gentlemen have between them?  It’s a great, big CROWN!   I could put that to good use!  If I could just distract…

parade5-regalia

But there goes the owner.

queen

Harrumph.  You can’t tell me all those diamonds wouldn’t look better gracing my noble brow than those old-lady curls, august as they might be.

And that’s it.  That’s the end of the show, a lot of waiting and fuss for a few minutes of pomp.  The humans female is making fretful and tooth-chattering noises, so I think we are moving on to indoor pursuits.

By Asgard’s arches!   We’re stopping here?  I understand that the humans like to admire architecture, but do we really have to stop and take notes on a train station?

pancras1

It looks very church-y for a depot.  It even has a holy-ish name, St. Pancakes.  I will admit that it is good to look at.  Everywhere one looks:  fiddly bits.  There’s a fancy hotel adjacent (MUCH nicer than the establishment the humans are staying in), and it is equally splendid.

pancras

I think the humans are going to be thrown out for being too shabby to breathe the air in here.  I think there may even be an admission fee for simply gazing at the lobby…

Moving on!  Our next stop is one I expect to enjoy–the very famous British Library.  A building full of books!  I approve unreservedly.

I take that back.  I was hoping for another ancient, venerable building, but this library is very modern, inside and out.

BritishLibrary

Ehehehe!  The human female looks very silly right about now.  She was hoping to wander through the stacks, admiring all the tomes.  Come to find out, one has to have a pass (two forms of identification required and she’s only carrying one) and any reading materials have to be requested at least twenty-four hours in advance.  No Medieval herbals for you!

They will have to console themselves with lunch.

BritishLibrary-lunch

Once again, the human female has misunderstood what comes with what and ended up with more food than she wanted.  Not that that has stopped her from gobbling it all up.

The humans will now have to content themselves with perusing the volumes in Library’s publicly-displayed collection of treasures.  No photographs allowed, but I am enjoying looking at the old codices and scrolls.  Some things are to be savored slowly.  There are famous religious texts, political documents, and the handwritten scores to some very hummable music.   The humans are disappointed that the book they most wanted to see is not currently on display.  My, I wonder how that happened?

Time for a good fossick in the gift shop/bookstore.  While the humans are bemoaning that they really haven’t any room in their baggage for more books, Sigyn and I are making the acquaintance of some flamboyant thespians from some of the plays of one William Shakespeare.  (For a fellow who has been dead for four centuries, he is amazingly popular.)

BL-Shakespearedolls

The one on the right looks like the human female first thing in the morning…

It is time to leave now.  This bookish day has been rather enjoyable, despite not handling any actual library books.

(later.)  What, eating again?  We have all ended up in a small Lebanese restaurant not far from the hotel.  We have bread and olives already, though we have scarcely placed our orders.

lebanesefood1

Sigyn is eager to try this smashy roasted eggplant.  I don’t trust it.  (What are those red things?!)

lebanesefood2

Hmm. Roasted meat wrapped in more bread.  Is this the lamb one or the chicken one?  Let’s have a peek.

lebanesefood3

(Several thousand calories later.)  What a nice surprise–the waitstaff completed the meal for us with a plate of fresh fruit and some very sweet desserty bites.  I’d show you, but the human female gobbled it all up before I could lay a hand on the camera.

Replete sigh.  Not so much walking today, but a fine day nonetheless.  I shall sleep well tonight, dreaming of how to liberate one sparkly overgrown tiara from a smallish nonagenarian…

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Loki in London, Day 3: Sigyn Hits the Motherlode

Sigyn, are you ready?  Today we are going to Kew, one of the biggest and best botanical gardens in the world.  If you can’t find something you like there, you aren’t trying.  It’s a long Tube/aboveground train ride from Kensington, but it will be worth it!

….

Sigyn is beside herself.  She doesn’t know what to look at first!  Hence the giddy dangling.

Sigyn in shrub.jpg

Some flowers are good for Sigyn to wear.

a fine hat.jpg

But I think this one is trying to wear Sigyn.

paulownia

She didn’t pick this camellia. She found it on the path, honest!  (Would I lie?)

Camellia-kew.jpg

We are moving incredibly slowly. The human female has to read all the name tags, and Sigyn has to sniff everything.  The human male is taking photo after photo.

Just when I think I have encountered the extremes of human folly, I am smacked anew between the eyes by their incomprehensible thought processes.  Look at this ruined arch:

arch

It was built that way.  Humans have been known to think that crumbly things are more aesthetically interesting than intact architecture, hence the made-to-order derelict masonry.  Except it was made on the cheap and not taken care of, so now it’s more crumbly than they wanted.  Idiots.

Augh!  Female squeeing!  This part of the Garden is a bit like a wild wood and some meadows, and apparently it is the season for bluebells.  The human female is actually skipping and … twirling.  What a looney.  Sigyn is smitten as well.

bluebells

Violets.  More squeeing.

Violets

(Later, after squeeing has stopped…)  My beloved is not afraid of heights.  Seems there a walkway that winds around through the tops of some very large trees, affording a “stupendous view,” and she wants to go.  Do we HAVE to?

Apparently yes.  Very well, I will accompany you, but you can’t make me look over the edge.  I try to avoid situations that might entail falling off high things.  Been there, done that.  No, I do NOT wish to be eye-to-eye with the horse chestnut blossoms.  Please, dearest, come away from that precipitous drop!

treetopwalk

Not looking, not looking, not looking!  I might go nudge the human female, though.  Perchance I can make her drop her camera or her water bottle…

(later)  Safe on the ground at last!  By Idunn’s little apples, I did NOT like that walkway.  Not that I’m afraid of heights, you understand.  I just have little faith in Midgardian construction.  It all felt a bit rickety to me.  Let us move onto something less potentially perilous.

Sigyn, did you know there’s an art gallery in the gardens?  The exhibit today features watercolors of strange and marvelous Amazonian plants.  The humans, well aware that every purchased ounce is going to have to be hauled  home, have nonetheless bought the book.

kew-art-catalog

I am buying Sigyn a nice, big print.  Or, rather, not buying but taking, but let’s not quibble over 80 p.

kew-art

Lunch time!  Kew has some very nice eateries.  What have we today?

lunch-at-kew

The humans are splitting a chicken pie and some salad.  Sigyn has opted for the lemon poppyseed cake.  Sigh.  I love her dearly, but a Sigyn with a sugar rush let loose among flowers?  I shall be very busy all afternoon keeping tabs on my buzzy little hummingbird.

(later.)  Behold, Sigyn!  A whole rock garden full of diminutive plants with lovely blossoms.  Flit to your heart’s content!

I know she will tow me around, reading all the signs to me and expecting me to be just as enthusiastic.  Yes, sweetie.  That is a good shade of yellow.

rockgarden2

Eventually, though, I will probably become bored.  My brain is full. May I be excused?

rockgarden3

Sigyn, I’m just going to rest here.  You look around and then come tell me which ones are your favorites.

rockgarden1.jpg

rockgarden4

Sigyn has been gone a long time.  I had better go in search of her…  What have you found, my love?

rockgarden5

Poofy and blue–I see them.  Actually, it is what I do not see that is worrisome.  The human female is nowhere in sight.  Not that I miss her company, but I think she has forgotten us!  She has wandered off!  I…I’m not sure I know my way back to the Tube station…  Norns’ nighties, this is not good.  Don’t panic, Sigyn, I’ll think of something…

(somewhat later)  Whew!  The human male has found us. I am grateful to him, but be assured I am going to make the human female pay for her lapse…

We are running out of day.  I shall permit one last stop in the Alpine House, and that is it.  I must draw the line somewhere.

alpinehouse

(later…)  On the way back to the hotel, the humans have stopped at a very exclusive auction house.

Christies

What are we doing here?  I think the mortals are pretending they could AFFORD something in tomorrow’s sale.  As if.  Still, this IS a very beautiful painting.  Looks like it has been sold repeatedly.  Oooo.  Maybe it’s CURSED.  Maybe I will buy it for the human female.  It’s huge, though.  Where would she put it?

(later.)  We walked for miles and miles and MILES today. I am ready for a good dinner and not just some take-away sandwich.  Yes, it is pricey to eat out in London, but may I remind you mortals that you ABANDONED US?!   I’d say someone owes two other someones a very fine meal.

There is an Indian restaurant around the corner and up the next street from the hotel.  This will do.  The humans have ordered some flat things as a starter.

papadum

How are we meant to eat these?  Oh, I see.  Look, Sigyn!  Sauces and toppings–

condiments

Beware the chunky orange one.  It even *smells* hot.  But not as lethal as what I want to order for the human female.

order-chicken-naga

Careful, dearest!  The waiter has just delivered a warming tray and it is HOT.

careful-hot

Arrgh.  The human female has cancelled the naga chicken. She has requested chicken tikka isntead.  How BORING.

chicken-tikka

Well, even I must admit that was a delicious meal, down to the little candy fennel seedy bits at the end.

nibbles

I am somewhat mollified.  However, NOTHING can excuse the human female’s behavior today, so from here on out, I shall ensure that each pair of shoes she brought hurts worse than the last.  In a day or two, she should be three-quarters crippled!

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Loki in London, Day 2: Subways, Naughty Bits, Monuments, and Cheesy Carbs

We are getting an early start today, because there are Things to Do and See.  We’ll have to take the Tube.

ridethetube

Getting around on the Tube requires an Oyster card, a Tube map, and the fortitude to endure being squished up against multitudinous mortals of all shapes, sizes, and origins.  Not to mention personal aromas.  The humans think it’s fun.  I think it’s horrible.  To make it more bearable, Sigyn and I are playing Language Bingo.  So far this morning we have Allspeak, English, Polish, Arabic, Italian, and something that might be Chinese.

The mortals and Sigyn want to attend some old and famous church.

stjames1

I’m not allowed in, which is fine by me, because I don’t have Latin on my bingo card.  I think I’ll sit in a cafe and drink tea instead.  Off they go, running to get there on time.  Ehehehehe!  I’ve bespelled the human female’s black stockings so that they fall down every ten steps when she hurries.  Look up “undignified” in any dictionary and you’ll see a drawing of her!

sjames

Sigyn says I missed a beautiful building and some lovely music.  If you say so, dearest.

Lunch is a sandwich, also eaten on the run.  Fact:  no sandwich in this realm comes without arugula.  I think it’s a law.

Apparently the rest of today is going to be Culture Day, because we are here at Somerset House, a big fancy building now full of Midgardian art, to look at some drawings by someone named Bottled Jello.  Sadly, the humans aren’t allowed to take photos, which might actually be a good thing.  The drawings are doodly illustrations for a long poem about the Midgardian notion of the Unpleasant Afterlife, and they are just full of naked people.  Naked men, actually, as apparently Mister Jello was of the opinion that no women would suffer eternal damnation.  Sigyn is a little embarrassed at the sight of so many naked bottoms (and other bits!), so I think we’ll go look in the other galleries.

ceramics

There!  Nothing naughty about spotted cat ceramics!  Or inlaid wood furniture or paintings or marble sculptures.

(Later.)  The humans at last have soaked up about as much culture as they can in one go and we are now strolling along the Victoria Embankment.  I gather that this Victoria was at one time Queen of this realm–there are a lot of things named after her.  Once I have succeeded in taking over Midgard, everything will be named for me, of course.  Or perhaps I’ll name all the big, imposing buildings and battle monuments and suchlike after myself and name the gardens and museums for Sigyn.

The Embankment runs along a big, brownish river that seems to have been the original reason for putting a city here.  There are some nice gardens in this stretch.  The human female is making a spectacle of herself, gushing over each new blossom.  Sigyn is delighted to find that some of the plantings accord with her taste exactly.

VictoriaEmbankment2

VicEmbankment3

There were ducks, but the human female was too slow to get them in the photo.  Typical.

Victoria Embankment

There are some big monuments up ahead.  One of them is a tall, skinny triangle covered with worn, squiggly hieroglyphics.  It’s flanked by two guardian beasts I don’t recognize–somewhat lionish but person-headed.  If you crossed a bilgesnipe with someone from Vanaheim…

EmbankmentSphinx

^Requisite tourist photo of ourselves with the beast.

Look over there, Sigyn–that is the contrivance the mortals call “The Eye.”

theeye

I gather that one can ride it, gaining the ability to see much of the city from the top.  Since the humans are too cheap to buy us tickets, I will just teleport us to the top of it at some point when they are not looking.

All of this Art and Walking About have given us all a healthy appetite.  It is time to find someplace to eat, but no two of us agree on where we should dine.  It would seem, however, that there is one option that is somewhat acceptable to everyone.

pizza

There aren’t any anchovies under that cheese are there?

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