Saturday, 3 January 2009

Headless fun at the Tower of London

Good day dear friends. Today I went for a visit to the Tower of London which, as I recently discovered, was not just a place of torture and execution. Well that turned many readers away but regardless for I have learned many things! Ha Ha! (More readers are closing the window) Now today I learnt that Anne Boleyn requested a sword to decapitate her instead of a common axe and that there was a woman who refused to kneel at all for her execution and was chased around the square. It only took 22 strikes to get her head off and she was 67! What a lovely town. Lady Jane Grey (I learnt) was buried in the last Tudor chapel and ruled for only 9 days and was beheaded by raging Mary I fans at the old age of...17. Oh another story! Richard III wanted to be put on the throne but two little boys of 12 and 9 stood in his way. They were invited to the tower, mysteriously disappeared and Richard became king - suspicious? Well 191 years later when the White House (which is the building you can just see behind me in the photo) was being rebuilt and as a wall was chipped away two little skeletons fell out fitting the description of these little princes. Grim times I must say.
Oh wait I haven't written about the torture department yet despite the many signs saying that it didn't happen under English law and when it did it RARELY happened. Anyway one of these rare occassions could include "the scavenger's daughter" which was the opposite to the rack where the unfortunate individual is forced to crouch as if in the smallest position you could get into and then they forced a steel band around you, locked it and left you there for hours. It usually took one hour for the people to crack because it was quoted as worse than the rack (which tears you apart). Fun fun! In one of the prisoner chambers there was graffiti on the walls, chipped out by various prisoners over the years. Graffiti which dated back 400 years!! It's so spooky walking up and down tiny staircases (the people must have been tiny back then) that people hundreds of years earlier did. History is amazing.
We also saw the crown jewels which were massive. Most of the crowns weighed more than 2kg and one king was quoted whinging about how hard it was to wear for 3 hours. Anyway they also had this amazing collection of gold crockery and dining equipment for royal feasts and what not and there was this huge punch bowl. It was completely made of gold and accomodated 144 bottles of wine - now that's one goon party!
Later that day we went to visit The Globe - Shakespeare's Globe. I have attached a photo of inside the theatre and it was freaky seeing the place which my drama lectures have focused on for so long. Haunting really. The whole theatre was a perfect replica of the original - it was made entirely of wood, wood pegs holding it together and a thatched roof! The only thatched roof in London since the 1600s. I'm looking foward to going back and seeing a performance.
Well that about wraps up my day - oh no wait - on the way home someone had pooped in the tube! Have a good evening!

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