Saturday, April 16

London Tower

I am in the City to pick up my camera after droping David off following Friday morning meetings - freedom! It is a sunny day and I am surrounded by tourists. Near the Tower a young man, maybe 30, maybe Danish, asks permission to sit on my bench; he has a brief conversation which, to my eavesdropping, sounds uncomfortable. A few minutes later, a woman arrives with a huge smile and they embrace; she settles on his lap and they make out. Her accent Eastern European from who-knows-where. Since I would seem to be the odd man out, I move along.

The London Tower founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, pictured at top, gives the castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison since at least 1100, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. The Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

Me: "Did you know that there is a prison in the London Tower that fills with water as the Thames rises, killing whoever is inside?"
Eitan: "That is a horrible way to die."
Madeleine: "Burning in fire...."
Me: "How about boiling oil?"
Eitan: "I would want to go fast. By a gunshot maybe. Or my head cut off."
Madeleine: "You would want to have your head cut off Eitan?"
Me: "Like the Guilitine. Do you know what a Guillitine is?"
Eitan, Madeleine:
Me: "It is a large blade which they drop on your neck and- wack! - 'off with your 'ed!'"
Eitan: "That would be quick."