Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

Insane in the membrane! Insane in the brain!

Okay, so I think it is pretty obvious that I struggled with the musical referencing title today…but still it fits all the neccessary criteria (you should be able to see how soon), even if it is stretching it a little. Now today I did probably the two most important stops for any tourist in London – the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Now the Tower of London has a load of legitimate historical significance.  It has been the base for royalty in England for over a thousand years, it is the home to the crown jewels (Oooh so shiny!), it was the place where a lot of famous prisoners were held, tortured and/or executed (Ann Boelyn, Sir Walter Raleigh,  Guy Fawkes, the Boy Princes – okay mum I do admit that is kind of a cool story), etc, etc.  It has “it all”…f**k its even got Ravens and people who dress funny (who I found out today have to be ex-servicemen with brilliant records – that is just a little funny to me that it goes “major-general” to “weird looking tour guide/guard” in the British military).  Yet even though I enjoyed myself, spent quite a few hours pretty enthralled by the history of England (something I was quite appalling lacking in before today/this trip)…it just seemed to be lacking something.  I felt that even though this is a site of such historical significance it could’ve just been a “Disneyland” re-creation built in Miami.  I am not sure why I came to this conclusion; I’m not even sure it is a valid conclusion, but it just didn’t have the same feeling of authenticity and “wow-factor” of other places I have visited.

I then made the short stroll to Tower Bridge and paid my 4.5 pounds to go up to the viewing deck and then down to the old engine rooms.  By far, for me, the top level was more interesting.  The views of London were quite impressive and the layout of information about the bridge laid out chronologically along the walkways with two videos explaining the initial design/construction and how the bridge operates at either end were all good (and definitely held my interest).  Then we went down in to the Engine rooms and I confirmed one thing in my head…I could NEVER be an engineer (Sorry Pata 😦 ).  I wasn’t bored by the explanations per se, I walked around and was impressed by how well all the difference bits looked/worked…but I just didn’t care.  I found myself reading the names of the different parts, using the initial diagram to roughly see how it would’ve worked and then moving on without bothering to read much of the detail about how boilers, hydraulics, etc all work.  I will say though, if I was so inclined (particularly if I was a child so inclined) I could definitely see how such a set up they have there would be brilliant.  It just necessarily wasn’t for me.

One funny thing that did catch my eye though was in the gift shop they had one of those ‘Name Keyring stands’ set up and I had a little bit of a flashback to the “Bort at Euro Itchy and Scratchy Land” part of the Simpsons.  On this stand there were over 200 spots for different names (I did a rough count) and there were probably only 40 names that had keyrings left…with the names left including “Moira”, “Mycheal” and a few other more obscure/misspelt names. Part of me wondered 1) Why they had even made such obscure names? 2) Why they hadn’t re-filled the ‘James’, ‘William’ and the like? and 3) That I should probably look for a Niranjan for Dad…just in case 😛  However, once again he was out of luck.

Now I’ll finish up today with just a few more dot points about differences between London and Australia:

  1. Coke, Fanta and other soft drink bottles are 500ml :S
  2. Subway has Corn..and I have to be more careful next time not to just say “yes” to all the salads
  3. I am considering buying old fashion headphones as I think they may act as earmuffs.
  4. For some reason the movie poster for “Role Models” here is identical to the one in Australia but ‘McLovin’ has been promoted to being “posterworthy” (yes i understand I shouldn’t notice such things)
  5. Finally, there is a coffee place in Richmond called Scores that PROUDLY advertises that their Baristas are Australian Trained….now thats just not right!

January 17, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Hi Simon

    Did you get swamped by a big cloud of ravens ( which is what I remember from last time I was there) or just annoyed by a few? It was one of the scary experiences that I remember from being a kid – flashes of Edgar Allan Poe ( old horror writer, story ‘THe Raven’ – look it up). You know the old legend, don’t you? That when the ravens leave the Tower, the monarchy will end?! Any sign if that..? 🙂

    And I’m impressed that you even tried to look for my name amongst all the name remnants! Didn’t even find one when I was in India either – I’ve usually had to resort to the family diminuitive version…but then you run into all the problems of lots of pink or frilly tags…! 🙂

    Keep up the good work, son- very interesting, very insightful

    Love Dad

    Comment by Niranjan | January 17, 2009 | Reply

  2. try finding my name next time u come across a name stand!!!

    Comment by Siobhan | January 17, 2009 | Reply

  3. Dad – Clearly the Simpsons have done a take off of ‘The Raven’ so I know all about it 😛

    Siobhan – I think over here your name would classify as “too common” to have had any left on this bizzaro-stand. haha

    Comment by casaboy69 | January 17, 2009 | Reply

  4. ok you actually had me giggling at several parts of this one here! i propose challenge to see when and where you can fit Miley into your titles as a good legitimate match up!!

    Oh and oh-my-god sad though it may be i have actually WISHED corn was a subway item over here.. creepy but gives england a bonus point from me! (and get the earphones, i love mine!)

    Comment by 'bethy' | January 18, 2009 | Reply

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