Some really nice stuff we’ve nicked over the centuries – The #British #Museum

Some sort of shieldy-helmetty thing. Quite old, I believe.
Some sort of shieldy-helmetty thing. Quite old, I believe.

The British Museum is a museum dedicated to human history, art, and culture, located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works, is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.

From outside the museum looks like your average Roman-greekish pillar to post thing, but inside the glass roof is more than reminiscent of one's greenhouse sans tomatoes.
From outside the museum looks like your average Roman-greekish pillar to post thing, but inside the glass roof is more than reminiscent of one’s greenhouse sans tomatoes.

The British Museum also serves the most fantastic food (in the “upper” restaurant). I had a courgette salad there that made my toes curl in a sort of slightly sexual way. The chef works at his station out in full view, so you can see your food being cooked or your salad assembled. I do warn readers though that, should you eat there, you are very likely to find yourself surrounded on all sides by “ladies who lunch”… cut-glass accents combined with rare tweeds and shoes that, while a tad down-at-heel, are the wearer’s most comfortable pair suitable for upper-middle social situations… You’ll have to scoff your nosh to a background of how awful the traffic can be when taking Tarquin back to Eton, or how slap-dash the domestic servant class have become over the years.

Some Egyptian lump, from an early period in their history - while it was still viable as a tourist destination.
Some Egyptian lump, from an early period in their history – while it was still viable as a tourist destination.

The briefest of sniffs around reveals that, my goodness me, we have plundered some trinkets over the years from all around the world. Mind you, what do you expect when we owned most of it?

I have to say that I see this as no bad thing – given that half of the world couldn’t give a rat’s flatulence about antiquities, and the Middle East is actively destroying anything older than this year’s edition of the Koran.

Look, I know that the world hates England (that’s “Britain” in foreign-speak) but even you chaps must admit that there are several things that we do spectacularly well – world-class football, world-class rugby, world-class tennis…

Here we appear to have sticky-fingered an entire temple, probably Greek or something.
Here we appear to have sticky-fingered an entire temple, probably Greek or something.

Alright, just joking, we invent sports and then play them like inebriated geriatric chimpanzees with double-incontinence problems. Seriously though, you must admit that we do the old ‘Changing of the Guard’ routines and such, the pomp and ceremony stuff awfully well. Even our everyday stuff is deliciously low-key and ‘orribly refined. After elections, for example, Russia and the USA both need sixty-car siren-screaming guns-blazing convoys to get the new incumbent around town, in England our PM just jumps into a Jaguar and is shadowed at a discreet distance by two black Range-Rovers and a small Traffic Warden on a moped as he drives to Buck House. No, we may be crap at sport but museums and fluff like Stonehenge are things that we do really rather well. Not to put too fine a French-language point on it, the London museums are le chien’s bollocks.

A couple of statues in the Pale Blue Room. No idea what they are, other than gobsmackingly fantastic to see.
A couple of statues in the Pale Blue Room. No idea what they are, other than gobsmackingly fantastic to see.

On our recent whitlestop inspection of some of the sights (see earlier posts) the Bro and I had only a few hours to spend in the British Museum. Mind you, even after that and a liesurely luncheon, our brains were fried and wilting. Ye gods, there was Egyptian stuff and Mesopotty Patamian hypotenoidal stuff and Celtic stuff and African stuff and Far-Eastern stuff and irish stuff and you name it. The place has over eight million items, and I am fairly certain that we got to see and appreciate seventy or eighty of them at least. It’s one ruddy “ooh” moment after another. Room after room after room filled with the most incredible links to the past – stand in front of a statue and you are doing exactly what folk of the past would have done. It’s a direct link to them.

Some chap with a wing for an ear. If only he'd been alive today the NHS could have sorted that out for him with a simple operation and, perhaps, a professionally-made hairpiece or wig.
Some chap with a wing for an ear. If only he’d been alive today the NHS could have sorted that out for him with a simple operation and, perhaps, a professionally-made hairpiece or wig.
An early Lennon and Yoko.
An early Lennon and Yoko.

This couple in particular struck a chord with me. They look happy, sort of contended with their lot. I could almost hear them whisper about how groovy it was to sit in their bullet-proof glass case and watch the world go by.

Johnny Lennon and Okey-Dokey Yoko-Oh-Yes, or some pair similar. If I had to guess then I’d guess at vegetarian, into folk music and not averse to a little soft-drug use at the weekends. He works as something in admin for a charity, she splits her time between university and tending the plants in their flat in an up-and-coming area. They want kids, but not until they’ve worked out some stuff and also made one last summer trek to Marrakesh (for old times’ sake). They’re both wearing hemp, and they’re trying to persuade their landlord to make the switch to composting toilets and a wind farm.

Cyril, I appear to have lost my arms, nose and penis. Can you still love me?
Cyril, I appear to have lost my arms, nose and penis. Can you still love me?
Dave? Yes, Norman? Dave, my arse has gone numb. I can't feel my arse. And I'm cold, as cold as stone.
Dave? Yes, Norman? Dave, my arse has gone numb. I can’t feel my arse. And I’m cold, as cold as stone.

Can I recommend the British Museum? You bet that I can. FREE to enter, like most of the top museums and galleries, and brilliantly laid out. The only drawback was that they appeared to have let a lot of the great unwashed in at the same time as us. If you visit – and you should – then I recommend that you pickle your brain first, just to combat the culture overload. My brain burst, and the splatter covered eighteen Japanese tourists, a lot of Asian gold and two freshly-painted walls.

When the zombie apocalypse happens I am going to raid this place and re-steal an awful lot of things and move them to Hutson Towers.

The chef, for one.

And perhaps the Lewis chess pieces. I lived on the Isle of Lewis for a few years when I was knee-high to an archaeologist’s camel, so they’re probably mine by rights anyway. In the next post I’ll take you to either the Science Museum or Hampton Court Palace. Vicariously, of course, I mean I’m not actually going to send a car for you or anything. I don’t even know you.

I'm a bishop, you know. Bog off, Doris - I've got a shield and a sword.
I’m a bishop, you know. Bog off, Doris – I’ve got a shield and a sword.

7 Comments

  1. Toffeeapple says:

    You forgot to mention how good we are at cricket…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, cricket… we are about as good at cricket as we are at football, rugby, tennis… I like to think that we’re just being polite by letting everyone else win! 😉

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      1. Toffeeapple says:

        I shall be watching the Wales/Springbok match because I am Welsh; keeping my fingers firmly crossed that we win.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Best tour of the place ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an awe-inspiring place!

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  3. MG Mason says:

    Haha, as somebody with an archaeology degree, I should have you strung up for describing the Sutton Hoo treasures in such disparaging terms as a “shieldy helmety thing – quite old”!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My brain soon overflowed and before long all I could say was ‘wow’… Won’t be the first time I’ve been strung up by a mob, won’t be the last!

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