Tuesday, 6 January 2009

I Saw Dead People

Today was a dead-filled day! After setting out at midday (yeah midday, we were tired and putting on all our winter woolies is such a chore - plus if you look at the headline I have attached in the photo - it's really cold! And snowing in some parts! Argh!) we went to Westminster Abbey.

An amazing place which I have been to before which has a whole lot of royalty and famous people jammed into the one spot. It's funny because there seems to be no room left in the church at all. Some of the many marble carved plaques are hidden behind stacks of chairs. There are monuments and tombstones on the walls and even the floor so there are some very worn ones which you can't even read anymore. The whole place seems to have been built with the best intentions but after some very elaborate tombs with full figured effigies, canopies and fences are built there is very little room for anyone else! Obviously, the builders were like - "Yeah we'll go all out with Elizabeth I, Mary I, Mary Queen of scots and so on" and then when more kings and queens died they were like "oh crap where can we put them now?? Quick in the floor - on the wall - anywhere!". There are queens mixed in with Dukes and families mixed with randoms and yes - it's a shambles. Though there was one corner which made sense, the poet's corner, which had plaques commemorating great authors. Most of the authors I mentioned which I had seen portraits of were commemorated here. The grave, however, of Chaucer was there and had been there since the 1400s! Such history... it boggles the mind. Oh also in the Abbey were the two skeletons of the little Princes that were murdered at the Tower of London (which I also mentioned earlier). They were placed in "innocent's corner" which had an effigy of a baby! The infant mortality rate was huge and very sad.

Anyhoo-hoo we toddled out of there and waited around to go to our Jack the Ripper tour. Keeping in mind it was extremely cold being outdoors for 2 hours at 7 at night! So before we went Mum and I rugged up like bag ladies and didn't feel the cold immediately which was lucky. So the tour was very interesting - gruesome - but the woman who took it was very knowledgable and had photos of the victims (erk) and of the what the streets, which were in, looked like in the 19th century. Jack the Ripper really went to town on his last victim - I have to share because it was so awful - so scroll down if you don't want to read this. His last victim Mary Kelly was 25 (much younger than the others who were over 40) and when her body was found she was unrecognisable. Her face had been cut away and only her eyes remained, starring, in her head. Her ex-lover could only tell it was her because of her eyes and hair. She had been sliced in a straight line up the middle and had her breasts cut off, kidney removed, intestines draped over her shoulder, womb cut out, skin cut off and all these various bits of flesh were in piles around the room. Grisly stuff. Jack actually sent a letter to the head of police with a small box which contained - da dum - half of a kidney. The other half, he wrote in the letter, he had eaten. All of these details we were being told and some car drove by and the occupant lent out and the window and went "AHHHHHHH!" and scared the whole group! We all jumped and the tour guide said "yeah they do that almost every night - I'm use to it".

All in all it was very interesting - cold - at least we weren't snowed on like some parts of the country. Brrr more updates on my travels and the weather!

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