Tag Archives: birds

The Tower of London

28 Jun

My next stop was the Tower of London, conveniently located within walking distance from my hotel and enabling me to avoid any tricky mass transit. A tourist site, you ask? When you’re well-traveled and fancy and first-class? Yes. Because I was a tourist, and my friends and I could dress it up with fancy champagne and dinners, but come on. I think I proved in my previous post that I, at least, wasn’t fooling anyone to the contrary. And the Tower of London has ravens. Sign me up.

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Older than my apartment building.

Older than my apartment building.

I’m not going to go into a bunch of traditional history on the place, because, well, Wikipedia that shiz. But it’s amazingly interesting and I hope I don’t have to be the one to tell you that. I had been there once before with my family when I was about fourteen and we took a great tour of the place, but this time around my friends and I had a very limited amount of time as we were due to high tea (how Londony can we get?). So we decided to basically speed walk through the place, bowling over small children and foreigners (of which I realize we were as well (foreigners, not small children) in order to see as much as possible in about forty minutes. Being an animal lover, the first thing I noticed was the wire mesh lions they had out front replicating actual lions that used to be prowling  the grounds. I paused to take about fifty pictures of these guys, which mystified my friends considering we were still outside of one of the most famous spots on the planet, but I mean, come on, guys, wire lions. Little did I know, these were the first of the wire animals we’d encounter on our journey.

My three new best friends

My three new best friends

The entrance: I like any decorator who incorporates unicorns in a classy way.

The entrance: I like any decorator who incorporates unicorns in a classy way.

Our attempt at a selfie with the unicorn crest behind us. As you can tell, we missed the crest entirely and we look GORGEOUS. Well done, us.

Our attempt at a selfie with the unicorn crest behind us. As you can tell, we missed the crest entirely and we look GORGEOUS. Well done, us.

Once inside the castle, we raced up tiny stone stairs that twisted up skinny spiral stairwells and looked out thin, rectangular windows. It’s really stunning to stop and realize that you’re touching stone and tile that is so amazingly old. It takes your breath away. So does trying to beat a group of French tourists to the site of King Henry VI’s death, let me tell you. But we managed.

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He became king at nine months old, the youngest person ever to become king of England. Seems like a lot of pressure if you ask me. I know I wasn’t doing much of anything at nine months, and no offense to Kate and Wills, but George doesn’t seem like he’s ready for that kind of commitment, so good on Henry VI.

I’ll pause here to provide you with the beauty shot of Tower Bridge.

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You’re welcome. But I don’t know why you’d want to see that when you can see…

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An elephant! A wire elephant! Now, I need to admit to you, dear reader, that it was about this point in the day where I got a little wacky. There were signs that simply read “Elephant” with arrows leading us down stairs and around paths, and for some reason, I really thought there was going to be a real elephant in the Tower of London. And if you’ve been reading along with the postings about this trip and haven’t yet concluded that I am a real and true moron, now is where you will finally give up and decide that I am mentally deficient. Thank you for your faith and sorry to have disappointed you. I actually argued with my friends, telling them that NO I was sure there was going to be a live elephant at the end of these signs. And when we found the above wire elephant? I had a brain freeze and still thought maybe he was the entrance to where the real elephant was living. I honestly have no excuse for this other than possible alcohol poisoning. It wasn’t until we saw the below sign that my friends read to me very slowly like one would to a child that I finally understood our large wired friend was the only pachyderm I’d be seeing that day.

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It seems that King Louis IX of France made of gift of an elephant, as one does, to King Henry III, in 1255, to which Henry decried “Make a building without delay at the Tower for the King’s elephant, 40 feet long and 20 feet wide.”  Well. I suppose if that was in the year 1255, he’d be one old ass elephant to still be hanging around.

Next up was the Crown Jewels, which we almost left without seeing because the line was as long as the new “in” brunch spot in Soho, but we toughed it out and got to see some of the fanciest glittery-sparklies you’ve ever laid eyes on. This, however:

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Get your mind out of the gutter.

Was the only photo I could take or else I’d end up imprisoned in the Tower myself.

And wait! There’s more! One last wired friend! Sad Bear, who I named because he was a sad looking bear and he made me sad when I looked at him. Deep thoughts, I know. Just look at that ankle chain. Yes, I realize he is made of wire. But he represents a real bear who was once chained by his ankle at the Tower of London. And yes, I realize there are many other, worse atrocities that were committed at the Tower, to humans, but… he’s a bear. With a sad face.

 

Sniff. I can’t go anywhere. This chain is like a foot long. Plus, I’m made of wire.

Sniff. I can’t go anywhere. This chain is like a foot long. Plus, I’m made of wire.

And on that lovely note, we leave the Tower of London, because you have read enough and my friends and I had a tea to get to. What’s that you say? I promised ravens? I did! You are correct. But because I am strange and I love ravens, I am saving the Ravens of the Tower for their very own post. And unlike the elephant and all the other wire animals in this one, the ravens are decidedly alive.

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Allie the Irish Setter

27 Mar

Asshole Example One: Allie the Irish Setter

An Allie lookalike.

The summer when I was fourteen, I got a job at a local veterinary clinic. I was technically too young to work legally in my state, but to me, spending a day taking care of animals was not work, it was awesometime, and I begged and begged until my parents signed some paper saying they gave me permission and I wouldn’t work over a certain amount of hours a week child labor blah blah blah boring. My title? Kennel Girl. I was ecstatic. What a glamorous title. I wanted a t-shirt that said that. A Hypercolor one. Obvs.

I grew up in a tiny town covered in cow farms. The office was set on acres and acres of land that was covered in stables and dotted with horses, goats, and sheep. The office itself consisted of a tiny waiting area, two exam rooms, an operating area/back room, and a kennel (for sick dogs and cats and also for boarders). Upstairs was a rundown two bedroom apartment. Originally, the vet, whom we will call Dr. Costly, lived in the upstairs apartment, but over the years he had gotten married, had a daughter, and built a large home a few hundred feet away on the same property. His dogs, two ancient Rottweilers named Bullet and Rosie and an absolutely insane evil genius Irish Setter named Allie had essentially taken over the upstairs apartment.

My job was to be the first one there in the morning. I’d go straight upstairs and let Bullet, Rosie, and Asshole, I mean Allie, out to run in the fields (well, Allie ran, Bullet and Rosie basically stared at her like she was an idiot while they gracefully wandered around, terrifying sheep.) I also fed his horses and warily eyed Sara, the potbellied pig, when I was outside, but details on Sara will come at another time. Once back inside, I’d feed the three dogs in the reception area and then clean out the cage of (and feed) Baby Bird, a tiny little blue budgie that had been abandoned at the office and adopted by Dr. Costly. Baby Bird’s cage hung above a gleaming metal table in the back room that we used to groom and examine dogs. Then I’d clean the office, walk every dog in the kennel, clean the cages and feed all of the cats and dogs. All before the vet arrived to open for the day. I loved it. Every second of it. Until.

Budgies!

One morning, like many others, I was happily going through my routine, dancing around the office, cleaning up crusty food and animal pee as happily as Cinderella getting dressed with the help of her woodland friends. I heard some weird clickety-clakety noises coming from the back room when I was up front vacuuming, but between the dogs barking and the cats caterwauling and the vacuum vacuuming, the clickety-clackety noises didn’t really resonate.  As I was finishing up, Dr. Costly came in and wished me a good morning. I wished him one back and continued doing what I was doing. Until I heard him call out to me these fateful words: “Um, where is Baby Bird?” Where’s Baby Bird? Where did he think Baby Bird was? It’s not like she got around much, I mean, we let her flutter here or there sometimes, but odds are if you were looking for Baby Bird, you’d find her in Baby Bird’s cage. “She’s in her cage! I just fed her,” I replied confidently, thinking Dr. Costly must be a blind moron. “No, she isn’t,” he said. “Can you come in here, please?” Oy. This is not good, I thought. Where is that damn bird?

Hesitantly, I walked to the back room, and sure enough, Baby Bird’s cage door was wide open, all dramatic-like, taunting me and rubbing in the fact that it was indeed sans bird. Shit. “I really don’t know, sir, she was just there!” I said, in Shaky Voice.  “Okay, sometimes she unhooks the latch, let’s look for her, I’m sure she’s somewhere.” Dr. Costly reassured me. He went into the kennel to check out the animals, and I stayed there, looking around the room, checking for the tiny bird in things like closed drawers and my lunch bag like a complete dumbass. And then tripped over Allie, who was being so uncharacteristically quiet that I hadn’t noticed her.

My last words of innocence were “Allie, what you got there? Huh, Allie-girl? What are you playing with?” She then turned her beautiful brick-red, silky face toward me and belched, and I swear to you on nachos, just like in a cartoon, she burped out little blue feathers. She burped Baby Bird into my face. And that’s when my eyes zoomed in on her nails, and then I turned and saw the metal table, and all at once I knew that the clickety-clackety noise I had ignored had been Allie, climbing on the table, Jurassic Park Velociraptor-style, to bird-murder Baby Bird. And that, I can safely say, is why Allie the Irish Setter is an Asshole.