‘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.‘
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.