07 June 2023

Like A Pendulum Do


British Museum Bookstore

In our last exciting adventure I discussed my family's recent trip to Crete.  As long as we were on that side of the world we added a few days in London. 

Unfortunately King Charles did not clear his schedule with us so we wound up flying out the same morning  he was getting his new hat.  This meant that we were sharing the city with more tourists than we expected.

A couple of highlights of the trip were meeting face-to-face with two people I have been emailing with for years.

We shared a coffee with Jack Calverley at the new British Library (which was the most expensive public British building of the twentieth century.  It is a beautiful edifice and delightfully busy). 

Jack edited Death of a Bad Neighbour last year, which featured one of my stories. Turns out that like us he is a cyclist so we had a lot to talk about. like the fact that he is obviously crazy to bike in a city this busy.  (And they all drive on the wrong side of the road!)  Oddly, he disagreed.

Me and Maxim

We had dinner with Maxim Jakubowski who edited The Book of Extraordinary Femme Fatale Stories last year, which also found space for one of my tales. Maxim has met a lot of writers I can only dream of knowing.  Sigh...

And now, a riddle:

Q. Why are there pyramids in Egypt?

A: They wouldn't fit in the British Museum.

We spent an exhausting morning visiting a tiny fragment of that institution. I'll say this: they don't hide their light under a bushel.  Walk in to the main hallway, turn left, and immediately you see the Rosetta Stone.

The actual freaking Rosetta Stone, discovered by Napoleon's troops and eventually used to translate the Egyptian heiroglyphs. Sends a shiver down my spine. 

We got to see the Elgin Marbles which were, um, removed from the Parthenon in Athens by Lord Elgin around 1800.  When we visited Greece two years ago we saw the beautiful museum built to hold them if they are ever returned.

Our host in Crete told us that negotiations are ongoing which could result in the Marbles returning to Athens in return for which the British Museum would have first dibs on displays of new discoveries of Greek antiquities.  This seems like such a logical, fair, win-win arrangement that I assume it will never happen.

Heathrow Airport, Coronation Day
Last year I heard an Irish comedian named Neil Delamere say something much like what follows.  He was funnier and more eloquent so I apologize to both you and him.

Recently I was in the British Museum and I was thinking about all the countries who want their stuff back.  But I was also thinking how wonderful it is to be able to go to one great building and see masterpieces from all over the world, and compare them to each other.  Then I saw something from Ireland and said: 'Those thieving bastards!  Let's loot the place!'

So, there's that.  Until next time, pip pip, tally ho, and so on.


  1. Love it! I'd love to see the British Museum! And I loved the line about the Pyramids!

  2. Looks great. I haven't been to the British Museum. But Allan & I did go to the National Portrait Gallery in London, and I freaked a lot of people out by laughing my head off in one room. Whoever hung those portraits had hung each man across the room from his wife - and next to his lover(s). Ah, that British sense of humour - and history!

  3. Eve, that reminds me... We visited the Tate Britain and it had a special display called The Ugly Duchess. It had that famous painting and other examples of satirical paintings from the renaissance. Mostly elderly women... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ugly_Duchess


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