London Calling…Traveling Monkbot Jumps the Pond

by

When we last left our intrepid little Traveling Monkbot…he was stranded in the Atlanta airport with some suspicious-looking primates. Read on to see if he made the leap across the pond to the UK.


London, Baybee, London
Text and Photos by Mind Doc

(Click on any image to enlarge)

London is a great city. Rowan and I hit Heathrow and found it really easy to navigate. The Underground has a station right there in the terminal. It is about an hour by train to our first destination, Bloomsbury.

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This is the famous Fleet Street, home of publishing and journalism. Fleet Street is named after the Fleet River, one of the many rivers that now flow beneath London’s streets to the Thames. Running eastward from the Strand toward Ludgate Hill and St. Paul’s, Fleet Street was once synonymous with Britain’s national daily and Sunday newspapers. Monkbot seemed perfectly at home here.

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The playwrights William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were once patrons at the old Mitre Tavern, now No. 37 Fleet Street. Samuel Pepys and Dr. Samuel Johnson drank at the Devil’s Tavern, at No. 1, and Dr. Johnson was also a regular of the most famous of Fleet Street’s taverns, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Parts of this building, set on the corner with Wine Office Court, date back to 1667, when the tavern was rebuilt after the Great Fire. It is one of the few pubs in London to have retained the 18th century arrangement of small rooms with fireplaces, tables and benches. Dr. Johnson’s association with “the Cheese” made the tavern a place of pilgrimage for many 19th century literary figures including Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.

A wander through the streets of London leads to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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A Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has overlooked the City of London since 604 AD, a constant reminder to this great commercial centre of the importance of the spiritual side of life. The current Cathedral – the fourth to occupy this site – was designed by the court architect Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Its architectural and artistic importance reflect the determination of the five monarchs who oversaw its building that London’s leading church should be as beautiful and imposing as their private palaces.

As the Cathedral of the capital city, St Paul’s is the spiritual focus for the nation. This is where people and events of overwhelming importance to the country have been celebrated, mourned and commemorated since the first service took place in 1697.

This is a view from the back of the Cathedral – St. Paul’s Churchyard, I think. I have looked and looked to see what it is called. Suffice it to say, the lions are fab. The cathedral is to your left and what looks like a smaller chapel to your right.

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Off to the Tower of London …

I don’t know what I expected – but I guess I thought that the Tower would be …um … a tower. It is more like a compound.

Monkbot was persuaded to pose with a Beefeater (who was a great guide, btw), but this picture had more gravitas, it seems. The Jewel House, unsurprisingly, houses the Crown Jewels. Let’s just say that there were some big, big sparkley jewels there. Scepters for everyone!

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This view is leaving the Tower. You can see the Tower Bridge (Rowan’s favorite) in the background. We had to fend off the famous Ravens of the Tower to get the shot, as they seemed really interested in Monkbot. They kept looking at him with their beady bird eyes, covetously, I thought. Seven ravens are in permanent residence in the Tower of London; their wings are clipped, so they can’t fly away. A superstition from the time of Charles II claims that when there are no longer ravens in the Tower, both the White Tower and the kingdom will fall.

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A final shot of the Tower Bridge. You can see that it is getting cold and dark, even though it is only about three in the afternoon. Rowan just about froze in place as I got the shot. She might have started to make pathetic sounds right about now, but I was determined to get the best shot.

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Next stop, Edinburgh!

Will Traveling Monkbot have to fend off more ravens? Will he bring home a hunky Beefeater to marry Shelley?Tune in tomorrow…

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42 Responses to “London Calling…Traveling Monkbot Jumps the Pond”

  1. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Oh my goodness! Monkbot is becoming quite the jetsetter. I hope he isn’t too jaded to hang out in small town U.S.A. now!

    You (and Rowan too) are doing such a great job with the weeone!! Can’t wait to see the next installment…

    Oh, and can I place an order for a beefy Beefeater too?

  2. Rowan Says:

    Alas, Shelley and Bama, the Beefeaters are a mite elderly…but full of entertaining stories. We decided that they were probably retired actors. Great threads, tho. And fab-tastic hats.

    Sheesh, on the “pathetic noises” front, btw…my bloodless arm was aloft many’s a time,acting as TM’s plinth, whilst tourists gaped. Monkbot was cool with the stares, tho.

    Just kiddin. it was privilege to be a Monkbot roadie, and a really great trip. I will tell my grandchildren about bein on the road with the TM.0–{:8D}

  3. shelley Says:

    Maybe then I’ll marry a Beefeater when I’m old.

    That’ll give me something to look forward to! 😉

    Y’all’s trip looks fabulous!

  4. Rowan Says:

    Shelley (ROFL) that is a a very tenacious and heartwarming response! Glad to see you’re not giving up. A very good idea too, I must say. these old guys are full of interesting facts, are smart and sassy, and have a twinkle in their eyes…

    Yep, fab it was! London is the boogie.

  5. leejolem Says:

    Viva le Royal Monkbot!!! The pic of TM wearing a crown is my fav ever. I hope his head isn’t too big to visit the Indiana State Fairgrounds (site of the 2006 AI concert and 1st live Taylor siting).

  6. Shrewspeaks Says:

    ~to Rule Britannia~

    Rule, The MonBot!
    The MonkBot rule the day
    Britons never shall be the same

  7. Jax Says:

    please check my comment under the MonkBot gift exchange…

    MB in London.. now how dang cool is that?

  8. Mind Says:

    Regarding the crown, that was totally Rowan’s idea. She braved crowds to get an official Tower of London crown. I was not sure why they were selling them, to be honest. Do you put them on your dog?

    Looking back, I realize that I was not as thoughtful as I could have been. I made Rowan stand about a lot of times, saying in exasperation that of course, no one was looking at her funny. All I can say, is that the person with the camera makes the rules.

    The Beefeaters were great — but they refused to hold the TM. Something about their jobs or somesuch.

    (Monkbot is all tired out — he welcomes the chance to be on American soil once again. He is winging his way to the next destination — if I got the address right, that is. ::insert danger music here:: Dum dum DUMMMMM!)

  9. Squeebee Says:

    Rowan and Mind Doc…I think it will be hard to top this leg of the TM’s journey…what fun!

    What is it with birds and monkeys? The Ravens of the Tower reminded me of Ivoryhut’s Filipino monkey-eating hawks. Perhaps when it is my turn I should be wary of our pond’s resident Blue Heron??

  10. Mind Doc Says:

    Do blue herons peck out monkey eyeballs?

  11. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I like old dudes. I’d date a Beefeater right now if he’d have me!

    I like young ones too….18 to 81. That’s my range.

    😉

    Wonder how the Monkbot gets along with doggies….Maybe Sadie has some insight?

  12. Mind Doc Says:

    Beefeaters for everyone!

    (it takes a certain panache to pull off the hat)

  13. leejolem Says:

    Bama, love your age range! I’ve got a 44yr old that has the maturity (sometimes) of a 12 yr old which averages to 28 that I might be willing to loan out or trade-in. You got anything you might want to bargain with?
    P.s. let me warn you although he is tolerant of TH, he is not a fan, and he doesn’t get the Monkbot thing at all.

  14. shelley Says:

    Bama…Sadie and Monkbot don’t mix.

  15. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Shelley! That was freaking hysterical! How could I have missed that??! I can’t wait to torment Jasper and Magoo with the Monkbot!!

    Ivory- I can trade you an Abba’s Greatest Hits cd, a 5 pack of Shiner Boch (I drank one) and a coffee mug that reads “Dog Blessed”. How’s that?

  16. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Duh! I meant Lee, not Ivory! I also have half a brain to share….I’ve misplaced the other half!

  17. Squeebee Says:

    Mind Doc….I’m not completely sure on that one. We don’t have too many monkeys out this direction. However, there is a zoo next door, so maybe I can monk-nap one from there and give the theory a try?

  18. Mind Doc Says:

    Shelley — I am sorry that I took out the batteries (to make TM lighter). Bama will have to get new batteries to torment the dogs. Sawreee …

  19. Gray Charles Says:

    How did MonkBot make it past the ever vigilant Heathrow security?

  20. Quossum Says:

    Wow! Monkbot is better-traveled that I will ever be! Sounds like y’all had a great time.

    –Q

  21. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I was wondering the same thing G-dawg!

    Ummm…Squee- We here at Monkbot don’t support the kidnapping of zoo monkeys and tempting of blue-herons to eat the eyeballs of said zoo monkeys for the sake of experiment. Just so ya know….I actually think it’s written in th by-laws.

  22. Squeebee Says:

    *madly flipping through the MonkBot Charter*

    Bama…I think you are right. Forty lashes with a large fish for me.

  23. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Squee- you only get the lashes if you attempt the monknapping experiment. (You don’t want to know what happens if the experiment were to be successful). No need for fishy punishment today!

  24. shelley Says:

    Seriously…I think Monkbot underwent heavier security at the Mississippi Capital building.

    (The guard kept one hand on her gun the whole time I was going through the medal detector.)

  25. double d Says:

    G-Dawg…*snort* *giggle*

    God Save the Monkbot!

    Maybe airport security reads GrayCharles.com? I’m sure they’ve seen stranger stuff.

  26. bamaborntxbred Says:

    My friend was detained for 14ish hours on her way into Scotland…all because she was meeting her online boyfriend for the first time ever. The peeps kept asking her what was wrong with the men in America that she had to come all the way to Scotland to get a man. Hahaha! I know it wasn’t funny at the time…but, it’s kinda funny now.

  27. nolagirl Says:

    Mmmm, Shiner Bock ….. (damnit Bama for getting that in my brain right in the middle of a work day!)

  28. leejolem Says:

    Bama, It’s a deal. I love Abba and mugs and dogs. I will donate the Shiner Bock to nolagirl (since I don’t know what it is). I will send the 44yr boy/man to you USPS. Since it’s Christmas season it may take a few days, so don’t look for him anytime soon. Since I am appx 1/8 Scottish I will then hop on an airplane to look for a new DH.

  29. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Good luck with that! Hope they let you into the country…I hear they’re pretty stingy with their single men. Rowan…can you confirm this rumor??

    Nola should be very happy with her Shiner beer product!

  30. leejolem Says:

    Check out the cute little lizard thing on the Shiner Kolsch bottle. He needs to make a play date w/the Monkbot.

  31. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Awww…he’s adorable!!! I like lizards!

  32. Mind Doc Says:

    Gray — Heathrow was surprisingly okay — they just x-rayed him more than once and looked at me suspiciously. Very suspiciously. I perfected a sort of bland look. The hardest part was customs in Scotland. They wanted to know who I was visiting and how I met them. They wanted to know how long I had known Rowan. I just said that we had met through a mutual friend. They seemed to believe me, but just.

    My husband was sure that I was going to get stopped at the airport as a mad monkey-bomber…

    Lee, you should have told me you were looking for a nice Scotsman. I coulda brought one back. Some of them were quite nice looking — if nothing else, you can shut your eyes and listen to the accent…

  33. Rowan Says:

    Bama – I do not know that Scotland is stingy with it’s single men, but some of the single men are in themselves a little stingy. Nah – the Scots are not at all mean…we are a ‘spend it all and eat it all now – hit the poverty and heart-disease somewhere not too far down the track’ sort of race.

    Lee – I will keep an eye out for a nice Scotsman for you. They tend to be a bit, um, unreconstructed, though… just sayin. Have you any variables I should programme into my “Find a Scotsman for Lee” search engine? I will do my best – intrepid is Rowan. watch this space…..

  34. Rowan Says:

    Okay, Lee and Bama,I had Glen in mind for you from the moment my search began. He incorporates the whole Beefeater thang, but with a much younger vibe.

    Highly acclaimed dating website
    “letrowanfindyouacelticbloke.co.uk” offers Scotsman number one. You may find him slightly idealised…I really cannot comment. : )

  35. shelley Says:

    I WANT GLEN!!!!

    FORGET TAYLOR HICKS!

  36. Rowan Says:

    Shelley – Well, as the Alpha female here, amongst us monkbotlasses, you get first choice…Glen is yours!

  37. shelley Says:

    YEAH!!! 🙂

  38. leejolem Says:

    I will have to give Glen up to Shelley because I have a pesky legal bond of matrimony w/my husband of 21 years, but it sure is nice to look and dream.

  39. Mind Doc Says:

    Nice hyperlinking, O celtic one. Glen was certainly sweetly done!

    (she has had hyperlinking angst)

  40. nolagirl Says:

    Yay for Rowan for being smart at computer-y stuff! 🙂

  41. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I guuss since Shelley took Glen…I’ll take the skinny dude.

    Hey…I’m not that picky…

  42. Rowan Says:

    Bama – that’s hilarous! ROFL!!
    Well, maybe John, the skinny dude, will bring you offerings of fish and chips smothered in your choice of tomato ketchup or brown sauce.

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