London, London, London!

Everybody loves to go to Westminster Abbey -- and we were no exception. I deeply and sincerely love Westminster Abbey -- we spent hours there, and I could have stayed longer. The tombs of kings and queens, Poets' Corner, the graves of the Unknown Warrior and Winston Churchill -- all in one place; it was fabulous. Although I wanted to tell the people weeping at the statue of Shakespeare, "You know he's not really buried there, right? And, by the way, get over yourself." But that would have been mean. Now, Chaucer -- there's a guy you can weep for!

The Coronation Chair was exciting to see (it's covered with choir boy graffiti from the 1700s, by the way). Built in 1301, it's the "oldest chair in continuous use as a chair" in the United Kingdom. I guess all the other old chairs are being used as hats. Note the distinct lack of the Stone of Scone.

The Abbey cloister was stunning. Just look! I'm a sucker for a beautiful cloister.

OK, so the Royal Observatory at Greenwich is just the most fantastic place -- we stood on the Prime Meridian. I mean, THE Prime Meridian! How cool is that!?

If you've read the book, Longitude, by Dava Sorbel (or seen the movie) you'll know how exciting it was that we saw the four clocks designed by John Harrison; the H4 longitude clock allowed sailors to actually know where the hell they were at sea -- in relationship to deadly underwater rocks, for example. Cool tangent: In Westminster Abbey you can see a memorial plaque for Harrison; a line runs through it marked with the exact longitude of the stone: 000ΒΊ 7’ 35” W.

Also at the Royal Observatory is this spot where you can come and check the accuracy of your yardsticks and rulers. I am not certain that many British citizens take advantage of this service any more . . . .

And I broke up with the Sutton Hoo helmet when I saw him at the Tower of London -- I love a man in uniform. My husband and his wife are slight problems, as is the fact that I live here, he lives there -- and the minor detail that I've never actually met him. Other than that our relationship is perfect!

Crown jewels! Look! Queen Victoria had this tiny crown made because 1) she refused to give up her mourning veil, and needed a crown that would accommodate it; 2) the big ones hurt her head; and 3) why are you questioning her decision? -- she was the Queen, damn it!

The Coronation Spoon -- used to eat the Coronation Ice Cream (my source for this information: my friend, Coleen). This spoon is from 1301 -- for real. AND it and two swords are the only pieces of Coronation Regalia to escape the clutches of that rat, Oliver Cromwell. I really hate Oliver Cromwell.

OK, OK -- it's not for ice cream. It's for trifle. Oh, all right! It's for the Oil of Anointing. Boring!

So -- this is my last London picture -- but oh have mercy, people! This is a Roman wall that runs right through the Tower of London! I get the vapors just thinking about it. This sums up everything I love about Great Britain: history piled on history piled on more history.

tangent: This two thousand-year-old Roman wall pops up all over the City of London (now the heart of the financial district -- kind of corresponding to our Wall Street). At one place they built a skyscraper around it -- the Roman wall just runs right through the lobby of the building. Did I mention that it's Roman? As in Romans built it? In Roman times? How fantastic is that?

British Museum and London Image credits:
Poets Corner, Coronation Throne:
courtesy of Westminster Abbey gift shop postcards
Royal Observatory at Night, H4 Longitude Watch:
courtesy of Observatory gift shop postcards
Queen Victoria Crown, Coronation Spoon:
courtesy of Tower of London gift shop postcards
All other images taken on our iPhones. No kidding!