potential peril

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.

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Some flowers are good for Sigyn to wear.

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But I think this one is trying to wear Sigyn.


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


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:


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.


Violets.  More squeeing.


(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!


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.


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


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


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.


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


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



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


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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!

>|: [



It’s Not Stamp Collecting, So It Must Be Physics

A famous Midgardian scientist once said, “All science is either Physics or stamp-collecting.”  As I noted once before, Sigyn shows alarming signs that she could easily be sucked into the stamp-collecting hobby, so rather than visit the post office today, I’ve decided we should go on a little jaunt and see what’s what at the Physics Building on campus.  Oh, charming.  The human female and her lunch friend are coming too.  The human female never stops to think that I might want to be alone with my sweetheart.

Hold on a minute!  What is this tree doing?  It is nearly Yule and it is covered with flowers!  Let’s take a closer look.  Boost us up, will you, mortal?


What the…?

pear3 - Copy


pear2 - Copy

There you go, pea-brain.

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Phew!  The flowers are pretty enough (the anthers are purple!), but they smell like dead fish!  This tree is wrong in so many ways…

Hey!  The chattering human females were so distracted by the misbehaving camera that they have gone on towards the Physics Building and left us hanging here!  Come back, you idiots!  Hold tight, Sigyn.  If they don’t come back, I will magic us down.

<a bit later> Took them long enough to remember that they had left a god hanging in a pear tree and run back to rescue us.  Human, I swear by Idunn’s little green apples that I will make you pay for this indignity!  You’d best sleep with one eye open, because when you least expect it…

All right:  Physics Building.  It’s a big new thing that looks a bit like a brick and glass wedding cake, with a top tier that leans just a tad.  (I can see it.  Why can no one else?)   The oval lobby is quite grand inside.  The floor tile is laid out in what the sign says is a Penrose Tiling design.


I approve of the twinkly bits.

This is a very tall space.  There appears to be something fastened to the ceiling.


Look, Sigyn!  It is a VERY large, freely-swinging pendulum!


Oh, I comprehend it now.  See the arc of light, Sigyn?  This pendulum is hung so that, as this measly planet revolves, the pendulum’s path will mark out the circumference of a circle. It should be coming back toward us any moment now…


Yes, here it comes!


Yes, dearest, it is quite ominous.  Do not fear, though.  Even if it were to stray from its path, the glass is very thick, and there is always my magic.  See?  It’s moving away from us now.

Uh oh.  If I know Sigyn, she is going to become hypnotized by the motion of this thing and stand watching it for hours.  I’d better find something to distract her.  Um…  Oh, look–in that case over there!  A model of some sort.  Let’s go see what it is.

Well, I am standing in front of it now, and I still can’t tell.


I assume that the little white figures are meant to represent humans, so it’s big, whatever it is.

Is it any more comprehensible from up here, Sigyn?


Ah.  Signage makes all the difference:


Impressive!  With this toy, the mortals might almost be able to see Asgard and Vanaheim.  Do you know, I think I heard the human female talking about this telescope.  The College of Science made quite a large monetary commitment to this project, which has put a bit of a squeeze on all the departmental budgets.  Ehehehehe–no raise for the human female this year!

>|: [


A Bucolic Idyll, Part III: Making New Friends

Making new acquaintances can be an exciting part of visiting someplace new.  It is not in my nature, but I suppose it costs nothing to be friendly.


Marty, no!  Not that friendly!

Fisi wants to know more about the cow.


Specifically, how does it tasteBad Fisi! Bad hyena!  No biscuit!


Meanwhile, this horse seems very interested in Groot.


Hang on, Groot!  We’re coming!

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A November Walk, Part II: When Walkies Turn Dangerous

We have to be careful on today’s walk.  There has been a lot of rain recently, and the local pond has responded in the usual fashion, creeping out of its banks and drooling over the sidewalk.


There is quite a little current as it flows over the curb into the storm drain.


It looks pretty deep up there, Sigyn.  I would take off my cloak and lay it down for you to walk upon, in the approved manner of chivalrous heroes in any age, but Pfft!  Magic is easier!  There, safely on the other side!

What is that sandy mound up ahead?  Curious:  these insects seem to be in the process of constructing a dwelling of some sort.


(poke, poke, poke)

I suspect I have made a tactical error.


Run, Sigyn, save yourself!  I shall smite this mound into oblivion and I don’t want you in the blast zone…

>|: [


Potentially Perilous Postprandial Playthings

There is a smallish child among the diners at the Springs and More restaurant.  She has successfully begged a few coins from her parents and put them into one of those odd Midgardian machines that dispenses gum or trinkets.  She has come back with quite a haul—candy and toys and–


Sigyn!  How did you get in there?!  I can’t take my eyes off you for a minute!

Look!  There is a small spinning top amongst the treasures.


Don’t stare at it too closely.  It could make you dizzy!  (I wonder if that’s what happened to the human female?)  Hmm.  What else is in there?


Oooh.  A pretty jewel!  I approve of the color.  If you distract the human child, I shall pocket it and have it set in a necklace for you later.  No?  Very well.  But do not say I did not offer.

Augh!  What’s that?


Oh, no!  It is one of those rare Midgardian green sticky spiders!  They’re attracted to candy and small plastic toys!  Their bite is deadly!   Run, Sigyn!


Don’t let it bite you!


Die, you clingy green bastard!  Sigyn, are you all right?

Between the cheesy fried peppers, the cows with fingers, the boingy fries, and the marauding arachnids, we have had quite enough Midgardian excitement for one day.  Sigyn, let’s go home and do something quiet, like duct-taping the cat.

>|: [

On Safari! Part I: When It’s Feeding Time for the Animals

Sigyn and I are taking advantage of the slightly cooler weather to take a little just-for-us trip.  No boring mortals allowed!  I asked Sigyn where she wanted to go.  After cookie animals and pasta animals, she wants to see REAL animals, so we have made the drive to an African wildlife park.  (The wildlife is African, not the park.  I’ve nothing against the continent, and getting FAR away from the human female would be great, but this place is much closer, and going does not require pesky things like passports and inoculations.) We have hopes of seeing at least some of the “Big Five.”  If I remember correctly, that is:  lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and um, er…bi-colored python rock snakes.


I feel cheated!  We have been walking for quite some time and haven’t seen anything yet.  There is a lot of tall grass. I suppose there could be anything good at hiding out there.  Wait! Shhh–!  Do you hear that?  There’s something just over there.  What do you think it—?


Well, look at that!  I did not know this park has apes! Sigyn, did you know this park has apes?  He seems friendly.  But I think he is mugging for treats.  Sorry, fellow, we’re not carrying any Simian Snacks.*  You will have to settle for a selfie with the cutest little Sigyn on the planet.


Supposedly, this is the part of the park where the elephants spend most of their time.  I don’t see any, but animals love Sigyn so much that, if we stand here for a little, I am willing to bet some show up to snuggle her.



Fortunately, conjuring hay is a trifling spell, so Sigyn can offer him a treat.


Careful, Sigyn!  It is a long way down off an elephant.

Sigyn wants to bring the elephant with us.  Sigyn, my beloved, a wildlife park is not like the animal shelter.  I do not think we will be allowed to adopt your new friend and take him with us.  One cannot simply take home any animal– Yes, yes, I know we have a hyena and an exotic bird at home, but those were special cases and…  Oh, sweetie, don’t cry.  We will come back and visit him again, all right?  I promise.

All the hay and the kissy noises have attracted some attention from another quarter.


The hippo is also a big fan of hay.  Don’t get too close, Sigyn!  I hear that hippopotami have very large teeth.

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* Don’t laugh. They make it. And in multiple flavors.  I bought Thor some of the berry-flavored enrichment gel some time back and told him it was like Strawberry Nesquik. He’s been drinking it in his breakfast milk for a month now…


Mischief Update: Bits and PIeces

No major mischief to report this week, but it’s still fun to just needle, needle, needle the human female and her coworkers.

I cast a little spell on the dispensettes, the gizmos used to dispense a fixed aliquot of various somethings in the teaching lab.  Suddenly, O-rings are failing left and right.  The humans are blaming the harsh chemicals in the chromatography solvent, but we know better, do we not?

I have continued to use what I learned from my dimwitted thunder god of a sibling, making sure that even though there have been multiple days with massing black clouds and thunder, no more than a smattering of drops have fallen on the human female’s yard.  Just to mess with her head, I leave random amounts of water in the rain gauge–a quarter inch here, half an inch there.  Not a day goes by that she doesn’t pray for a real, soaking rain.  The weather mavens have been calling for a cooler, wetter weather pattern for fall.  “El Niño,” they call it.  They haven’t reckoned with “El Loki.”

I have meddled with the electronic door locks YET again.  It never gets old.  This week I had one of the doors adjusted so that it could not be opened from the inside or the outside.  True, there is a back way into the room which may be used for entry or egress, but it is most inconvenient, and a bit of a safety hazard, should evacuation become necessary.  Oh, and by the way, is that gas we smell in the very same room?

Then there was the Great Banana Incident of 2015.

Most of this has been but a minor annoyance to the human female, which is why I have something extra special planned for today.  See this browser history?


Copied to her boss in 3…2…1…

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Neither a Lender Nor a Borrower…

The human female is a big reader.  It’s not unusual to find her in the wee hours of the morning, curled on the sofa or hunched over a table with her nose in a novel.  Sometimes she’s even still awake and not drooling.

She owns a lot of books.  She haunts used bookstores.  She borrows a lot of books from the library, too.  Her TBR (To Be Read) pile daily threatens to fall over and crush someone.  I’ve warned Sigyn to keep well clear of its teeteriness.  If she wants to read something from it, I will fetch it for her.

Not satisfied with raiding the local libraries, the human female frequently makes use of the Interlibrary Loan system.   She asks for books–they magically appear.  She’s addicted.  The University is quite strict about their loan policy, though.  Straps. Must. Stay. In. Place!


Humty tum, humty tumty tum.  Totally going behind the sofa.

>|: [

Sigyn Loves Glassware

We all know that my sweetie has an affinity for glass, though her enthusiasm has been known to get her into trouble.  Remember this?  And this?

Well, she especially likes the glassware that the human female keeps in her office window.

You can probably guess why she likes this Erlenmeyer flask.

It came out of that horribly junky room the human female excavated last year, and it is brightly, obnoxiously RED.

I view it with suspicion, because even though Sigyn has yet to fall into it…

…she appears to be trying.  Dearest, please come down from there!

 The human female and Sigyn share a love of miniature labware.  The teenier it is, the more loudly they “squee.”  This itsy-bitsy beaker is one of their favorites.  

If I had to choose, I’d say it’s my favorite as well.  Not for cuteness, but because, as far as I can tell…

There is no way in Hel for her to get trapped inside.

>|: [

At the Herbarium, Part I: UFFOs (Unidentified Flat Floral Objects)

My beloved and I have accompanied the human female to a place she calls the "Herbarium." At first, I thought this was going to be a place of herbs, sweetly fragrant with thyme, rosemary, and pipperjoy (which is grown in Asgard but is very uncommon on Midgard). Sadly, no. Remember all the plants we collected and smashed? This is where they ultimately end up.

There is evidently some identification work to be done today. Much as she would like to think she knows every plant out there, she so very much doesn’t. When collectors send plants they do not know the names of, the human female has to sit down and figure out what they are.

Ah. Number 533. I can tell you what this is. It’s a lump of green stuff.


The human female says part of it is a liverwort. Truly? That’s the best name you can make up? The bit with actual oblong leaves is…. something different.


She thinks it might be a species of Callitriche, but since the sample doesn’t have any fruit, she can’t be sure. That is a very good "out", blaming the identification failure on the plant and not her failing acumen. Poor old Number 533 may just have to remain unidentified.

This one is much less tiresome. It has nice, big, colorful parts.


Sigyn quite likes the red-seeded fruit. Euonymus atropurpurea var. atropurpurea. Otherwise known as Burningbush or Eastern Wahoo. Who NAMES these things?!


Sigyn, come out of those papers before you get folded away, boxed up, and left behind!

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