And so I went along the road to Mecca. Well… my Mecca. The British Museumhttp://www.britishmuseum.org/
This is one of the most magical places in the world. And mark my words; the spells worked there are not all the rainbows and unicorns kind. This edifice is chock full of the best artwork, cultural reference pieces, etc. of the planet. It is easy to stand in awe of it all and forget how it was acquired. Piracy, like that of the Norsemen or even the Buccaneers never died. The BM collections are testament to that. And there is a large amount of grave robbing there too. I have very mixed feelings about all of this. But I cannot deny my fascination and wonder.
Here I am about to go through the doors
Many images, words and geekery signs past the gap.
The greatest luxury of my trip was that I was alone. I had no other personality to hamper my wanderings. I just started on the bottom left floor and worked my way around. Very cool things were happening- I communicated with the Education managers about accessibility options for the visually impaired. Basically, they are much more advanced and sensible about those things than we are. Ex: they have an entire gallery dedicated to tactile exploration of the Parthenon Friezes. Other hands on activities include touching objects from specific collections- they figure if they have a closet full of something, then they can share. Case in point:
Here is my hand holding a ONE MILLION YEAR OLD STONE CHOPPER FROM OLDUVAI GORGE.
I’ll give you a moment to think about that.
Something that was very important to me was that I pay respects to the people there. Yes, the people.-Their bodies on display in various states of solidity and adornment. A long time ago, in a very distance place, before I was enamored of the Irish or Arthur, or Cuthbert or Lief, I was enamored of Bog Bodies. They represented to me the most basic form of spiritual continuity- accidental or deliberate sacrifices communicating strong messages across the eons. (BTW- can you guess which is my most favorite of Gods in “American Gods”?) Lindow Man is a big man on the list of world wonders to me. And so, I was really taken aback by the fact that he is in a plastic box, penned into a corner in a pile of dried peat. I mean- he was a person. He had value of some kind- if not to his people, but to fate that led him on the path to that box. I spent quite a while with him- thanking him for everything he has given to science and to me personally. I felt respect dictated that I take only the most discrete of photos- here is withered hand.
I also paid respects to another man whose presence is strong there. Hail the Warrior King, favored amongst the Gods.
For the first time, I wandered into the Library/Collections room. This is where the old reference books, specimen samples, models, etc. are housed. These items are so old; they are now themselves objects of display. Shelves and shelves of powerful shiny knowledge. I am unable to put into words how dead fucking sexy this room smells. Seriously- it made me weak in the knees when I walked in.
I continued to wander- I was taken aback by this beauty.
Venus caught at her bath- a roman copy of a Greek original
I was amused by this- how many of you have seen this as part of a Tupperware set? Of course, this one is jade from sometime in the 19th century.
A Greek Crown. I think I would look fabulous in this.
Then again, maybe the Chinese one would suit me better.
Or how about these Minoan earrings?
I splurged on a post card or two, a tiny Chinese jade ornament, a terracotta warrior image book mark that I will use as a tree ornament, and a small photo book of erotic pieces from the BM collections. You read that right- no bling was acquired. I was actually disappointed. But then I thought that fate was helping me save my coins for the traders market at York. And, I used the pay as you go cell phone so generously lent me by JenKOBrian to let people know I was there safely. Daddy was terrified about me being there alone and took a lot of reassuring to settle down. ClareBear squealed at my voice, which was a wonderful thing to hear. Bill encouraged my to keep a stiff upper lip but it didn’t work since I just was a ginning fool the whole time.
After 5 or 6 blissful hours, it was time for me to head back to Kings Cross and then get to my hotel Getting to the station was easy. Getting from the station to my hotel was not- I could not figure out what bus on what one way street from which side of the station would get me to the Corner House http://www.cornerhsehotel.com/
. In the end I hoofed it- huzzah for limited baggage!
My room was about ½ the size of a dorm room with a dorm style bed, a tiny desk, a TV on a wall shelf, and a small bathroom. I don’t- know if there was actually heat available, but I never found any to turn on. I crawled in the bed in long johns and socks- my coat over the coverlet, and had tea and chocolate for supper. Feet didn’t hurt, but my typical cold reaction leg cramps kicked in.
Product disclaimer_ Winter Silks brand silk long johns feel crazy good all over. Keep you warm too!
At first, the TV was very disappointing- only US shows. Eventually, some UK shows came on. And there was always Olympic coverage- all UK Curling, all the time. I never did get to sleep as I was fidgeting to stay warm and loosen my legs. Dawn came at last and I got up to go for the m=next exciting leg of my journey.
Next- the journey to York and an internet meeting tinged with prospects of potential maybe danger.