Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Little Slippery Fun in London . . .

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Before anything else today, it is of critical importance to gastropods everywhere to take note of the existence of a bar in London, discovered quite by chance on Mr. Toad's recent travels there, named The Slug and Lettuce ! ! ! Why, you might well ask, is this of importance ? Well, it is purely due to a blog connection, and once you have clicked, run, slid, flew, hopped, or waddled over to The Adventures of Mr. Slug and Friends, perhaps the most charming blog ever produced by a mollusk, you will quickly understand why I had to share this. Yes, do pay Mrs. Slug a visit over there, she is wonderfully slippery company !
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And in case any skeptical person out there could have thought I might have photoshopped the above sign for pure amusement, here is another view, and they even have a website here.
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Now, having fed the slugs in the audience a nice juicy lettuce sandwich, some readers had requested something a little more fun, even cuter, than the last post about skulls and graveyards, and one reader also hypothesized that I would not have photographed Westminster Abbey nor the Tower of London while there last week. On the contrary, I did indeed photograph Westminster Abbey, the exterior anyway, (sadly photography is not allowed inside the abbey, as there are a large quantity of beautiful tombs inside), so here is a shot of the outside.
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I didn't get over to London's east end to see the Tower on this trip. Can a shot of Big Ben serve as a reasonable substitute ?
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The ubiquitous postcard stands, on which you can see the Tower if you look carefully. Another one depicts William and Kate !
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Yes, William and Kate are the subject of the season, shops are already full of merchandise for souvenirs of the impending marriage.
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As for royal weddings and other royal family goings on, the question one must ask oneself was on a billboard spotted here.
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Near Buckingham Palace, in Saint James Park, I came across another interesting signpost. Sorry the image is so dark, but the weather was dismal, as is often the case in London. Note that the Cabinet War Room and the Playground are in opposite directions. Also note that the Cabinet and the Lavatories are not the same thing. However, Buckingham Palace and the Playground may be one and the same, the sign seems to say so.
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The obligatory tourist photo of Buckingham Palace, just to prove once and for all that I am capable of taking photos of other subjects besides rusting cars, abandoned buildings, and cemeteries. But on the other hand, probably about five million people a year take photos just like this one, while only a handful will stop to photograph an abandoned house.
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If you see anyone in garish exotic clothes, you will know they are not police . . .
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On the front gates of Buckingham Palace, gilded horsemen were also operating, keeping an eye on the tourists.
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I couldn't help but notice that one of the horsemen had lost his head. "Off with his head", shouted the queen ! A headless horseman. (Are you re-assured now, that even while in tourist mode, I'm still looking for the odd detail that makes life interesting ?)(And no I did not knock the head off the horseman in the previous photo ! How could you even think it ?)
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From Buckingham Palace I headed to south of the Thames to see the Elephant and Castle tube stop, and sure enough, there was an elephant and a castle. If you type "elephant castle london" into Google, you can find any number of stories about how the place got its name, I won't trouble you with all that detail here.
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There is another blog I'd like to give a little nod to here, which I couldn't help but think of when a magpie crossed my path in the same graveyard as featured in the post below this one, which is named appropriately "A Tidings of Magpies". There is an old nursery rhyme about magpies which came to mind also which goes :
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One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret, never to be told
Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten for a bird you must not miss"
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And perhaps this could also count for an entry into World Bird Wednesday...
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Finally, I intentionally did not post this last one on Valentines Day, a red heart hanging from a tree in London near the Thames embankment, as I think every day should be Valentines Day, and not just one day set aside for yet another vast commercial marketing operation. So here is a little love to all of you.
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52 comments:

Steve said...

Love the japanned feathers of the magpie... such a magnificent bird. The gaudy jewel of the crow family.

Lorrene said...

I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your photo's. There really is something in this world besides these four walls.
Tombstones,palaces,rusty cars or abandon couches. I like it all.

James said...

I really enjoyed seeing your London photos. I've only been to London once and that was 20 years ago. I was also shocked when I heard about the woman who died after getting butt implants in a Philadelphia airport hotel. What a strange world!

Scott said...

Some very interesting photos. No I remember why I followed you in the first place.

Laurie said...

Ah! The magpie. My mother taught me to ward off sorrow if I saw a single magpie by by raising a hand and saying "How do you do, Magpie?" abbreviated to "How'd you do Magpie?". It used to drive me mad in later life as I seemed to see single magpies everywhere! Then one day I stopped responding.

It was a commonly done response in the 50s and 60s and remains so in really rural areas in England.

As for the Slug and Lettuce, there are a few of those around. Sadly, there are those in the pub business who think it trendy to change the name of a pub which has carried the same name for hundreds of years. Allegedly, it brings in the younger customers.

Now, we have have to suffer: The Tadpole and Trumpet, The Bolt in the Neck etc. Bah Humbug!!

Incidentally, a completely useless bit of trivia I was told by my private maths tutor in 1963 involved the maximum number of times the word 'and' can be used concurrently in one sentence. To cut a long story short, a sign writer was told by the landlord of the The Dog and Bone public house to paint a new pub sign. The landlord said: I would like a small star inserting between Dog and And and And and Bone.

The Sagittarian said...

My friends owned a bar here called The Rat and Roach....great photos, and that Magpie has stunning colours. Over here they are just black and white, we had a family of them adopt our yard for a few years until the cats saw them off as they got tired of them nicking their food!

Clytie said...

Of course you know I would love the heart, and I love that you waited until the 15th. You're right, the world needs more love!

The Slug and Lettuce is cool, the tourist shots similar to ones I took many years ago, and I'm tired of William and Kate.

Your headless horseman, though, made me smile. Trust Mr. Toad to find this one!

clytie-randomhearts.blogspot.com

Stickup Artist said...

I would have to agree with you about what one chooses to photograph and display. Some subjects have been done so often, it is a challenge to go off the beaten path and create a new aesthetic. And that royal family stuff always mystifies me. My favorite image is the heart dangling from the tree. Also the magpie. I would love to go on these kinds photo walks. You have a great talent for digging out the unexpected and pointing out life's ironies! Your images speak.

Catherine said...

Hope you stocked up on an inordinate amount of royal wedding parapharnalia while you had the chance - the Slug and Lettuce is a chain - there is a very nice one in Richmond right on the river next time you are in town - reason I am moving to South of France rather than back to London as planned 1) dismal weather correctly identified in this piece 2) I have been offered rather a spiffy new job at the International School of Monaco
Greetings from Mexico.....

Margaret Pangert said...

Great photos, Owen! I have a question re the Slug and Lettuce restaurant: Could they actually be featuring an Asian dish with slugs in place of snails? When you think about it, it could work... I love London--every night a play, ballet, music... better than New York! Me ♥

pRiyA said...

Hmm, these pictures remind me of both my visits to London where I got so depressed by the dreary grey weather that I swore to myself I would never grumble again about the Indian sun.

I think I prefer those graveyards outside Paris pictures of yours. So bright and cheerful.

babbler said...

Dear Mr. Owenslug,
Thank you for sending me that link to the Slug and Lettuce!! Wooo hoo! Yippeeee! I am hopping on the tip of my tail and laughing and twirling! I have signed up on the website and will soon be getting vouchers for discounts on lettuce steaks and cilantro desserts! I was so excited by your discovery, I even ventured over to the fun page where they have a Pac-slug game (kind of like Pac-Man but much slimier.) I immediately called Mr. Slug on the tellie (he has his optical tentacles buried in textbooks during his mid-terms for school in Portland OR) and alerted him to this most outstanding chain of fine dining establishments. He said that it is now likely we will book some plane tickets to go to London just to have a slug supper. If you are still in London, could you please go in and grab a napkin for us? It is undoubtably a printed document and would be the ultimate lunch napkin indeed!!! And, by the way, your limerick was a rockin one! It is so lyrical I should think it is a lovely sonnet from the heavens. You are the first to get an "A+" on your homework, which will grant you entrance past the velvet rope at the Tailwaggers Club. I personally prefer a limerick to a Haiku, so you get bonus points good for 15 seconds of vigorous tail wags, compliments of the house.
Bravo! Standing Ovation for you Sir!!
By the way, I love the rest of your blog too. Especially the birdie, who should have competed at Westminster, he would have given those dogs a run of it, what?
Love,
Mrs. Slug

mythopolis said...

There is a rumor here that William and Kate are planning to live in the elephant castle. Is this true?

Jessie said...

I really enjoyed this post! I was in London a week or so ago and it's so interesting to see it through the eyes of a 'foreigner'! My daughter lives there now so I'm going back soon yay! :)

Owen said...

Steve, I always liked black & white creatures, like zebras, and penguins, but this one is black and white and color too... the best of all possible worlds...

Owen said...

Hi Lorrene, well if you like all those things, you've come to the right place, feel free to browse the archives of past posts, there are over a thousand pieces now, getting to be like War & Peace !

Owen said...

Hey James, glad you liked London, I'm sure you'd have a fine time strolling around town there too. Just have to figure out a way to travel full time with camera, rather than working jobs that keep us tied places... Yeah, strange world, and getting stranger all the time...

Owen said...

Scott, what, you'd forgotten already ??? Glad I could jog your memory banks then...
:-)

Owen said...

Hey Laurie, yeah, I can remember when I was living in England that some people were quite superstitious about the magpies, always looking if they saw one to see if there were others about. And saying something if there was just one... Some folk superstitions have long and hardy lives. As for the "and" sentence, that's rather fascinating. I guess sentences uttered by someone who stutters don't count, like a king who might have to make a speech, for example, getting caught on "and"...

Owen said...

Not sure I'd want to go drink or eat at a place called the Rat and Roach... Nor eat any salads at the Slug and Lettuce. So what are we going to name the place we're going to fix up one of these years ???

Owen said...

Hi Clytie, glad you liked the headless horseman.

You are very welcome to post the heart shot if you'd like to. There were a whole series of them in two rows of trees in a small open space just off the river, near Waterloo Station...

Owen said...

Dear Stickup... you always leave me smiling...

:-)

Maybe someday we'll get to go on a shoot together, I'd like that...

Owen said...

Hi Catherine, actually I rather deliberately did not purchase any of the souvenir tourist trap royal marriage knick knacks or books, I really don't see what all the fuss is about. Just more show business. I think you've made a fine choice, will look forward to seeing how everything turns out once installed there.

Owen said...

Hi Margaret, well, if they have any slug dishes, you can bet that I won't be trying them. Although I love snails, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to swallow a slug...

And yes, London is a very lively town for entertainment. Although I was quite surprised about how expensive everything has become. We looked at going to see a movie, but dropped the idea when we found out one ticket would cost about 25 dollars !

Owen said...

Hi Priya, I hear you, I think I would have had a hard time living year round in London, although winter in the Paris area is not really all that different, many grey days. I agree, take pleasure in the sun if you have more than we do, it really does make a big difference...

Owen said...

Dear Mrs Slug,
Ah, I'm delighted to hear you were actually up spinning on the tip of your tail, my goodness, the slime droplets must have been flying everywhere, but I'll bet you raised your optical tentacles gracefully up over your head, so you would have looked like a ballerina spinning. Oh my, I hadn't noticed the "Fun stuff" section, where the Slug Man game was, and the slug invaders as well !!! What will humanity think of next, it is clearly a case of "slug envy" at work there.

I'm afraid it was just a quick trip to London, so I'm already back in France, can't pick up a napkin for you. If I'd have had my wits about me I would have picked up some matches, which they must have had, napkins, slime bibs, and who knows what else they might have had for free. I should have stopped at their bar for a Vodka Sluglet, which is vodka with a bit of slime juice in it...

Very best to you and Mr Slug, I do hope you'll be able to fly right over there soon, and enjoy a fine evening in the Slug and Lettuce !

Owen said...

Hey Myth, I'm sure the elephant is going to carry them to the castle, as they start their newly wedded royal circus show...

Owen said...

Hi Jessie, that's great that you have a good reason to get to go there from time to time now... a vibrant city, even if rather expensive...

distracted by shiny objects said...

Well, that magpie is quite the handsome boy and I believe he knows it!
This blog visit was well worth the break from homework and, in fact, feels like a bit of a vacation. Love these gorgeous photos!!! Plan on another break very soon :>)

Céline said...

Temps de limace sur Londres !! Est-ce que la pie guettait... une limace... Sorry Mrs Slug :-(

Le Journal de Chrys said...

Je ne suis allée qu'une fois à Londres et trop peu de jours pour vraiment connaître la ville.

Et retrouver chez toi ces souvenirs m'a fait très plaisir...

Quant au Chanel... C'est chaque jour un peu.

Belle soirée Owen

Virginia said...

Oh Owen,
You always delight me with your photos and your take on your travels. I don't know what I loved the most. I"m a hopeless royal watcher so William and Kate made me smile, but the dangling heart. J'adore! I hope you had a fine Valentine's Day my friend.
Bises,
V

Springman said...

Lordy lo...Hidee Hi...but ain't that Magpie delicioso? ;-)WBW

Crime is officially rampant when the crime stopper sign has to be chained to the light pole.

and...Quick, what is HRH William's last name?

Nathalie said...

That last heart is too sweet for words!

...louciao... said...

Really enjoyable tour round London, but my favourite is your one-liner about identifying the non-police.
:-D
I think the Big Ben photo is quite smashing. A classic shot, rather than a cliché.
And that magpie is stunning! I have never seen one, so it's a treat to be able to get such a good look at this specimen.
Pierre served me a lettuce and slug salad fresh from his garden last summer! We were not pleased.

Hilke Breder said...

I ran into your blog on WBW at Pine River Review and, apart from loking at that magnificent photo of the magpie, greatly enjoyed reading your post!

Elisa said...

Thank you for this trip, for these photos and heart! I really need them all ;)

theconstantwalker said...

Great images. I love the Pica pica

Pat said...

That magpie is a beautiful bird! I love all your photos. Wonderful, interesting post!

Owen said...

Dear Distracted, glad you liked the handsome pie, he was bold as brass, not frightened one bit of a human with camera in hand... Whenever I see one anymore I can't help but think of a Tidings...

It really is wonderful some of the collective nouns out there for groups of birds, I particularly like a "murder" of ravens and an "exaltation" of larks ! So colorful...

Owen said...

Chère Céline, un vrai temps de limace, mais bon, c'est comme le vieux dicton, "If life gives you lemons (des choses amères pour les anglophones) il faut en faire de la limonade" ... une chose douce et agréable. Donc, si le temps est en temps de limace, il faudrait juste aprendre à danser en glissant sur les traces argentées et visqueuses que les limaces laissent derrière elles... c'est un peu comme le patin à glace...
:-)

Owen said...

Bonjour Chrys, bon, il faudrait y retourner, découvrir un peu plus, c'est riche comme ville, très amusante, bien qu'un chouillard cher ces jours-ci... bon, il faut pas en abuser... comme avec du Chanel 5
:-)

Owen said...

Dear Virginia, Am smiling widely with your comment here... delighting people is what this little blog is all about. Valentines Day was low key here, but la Grenouille is still my number one Valentine...
:-)

Owen said...

Hey Springman,
Very observant to notice the chain on the police sign there ! Yep, too many Neanderthal descendants running around acting brutish...

Umm, off the top of my head, isn't it something like Windsor, or Montbatten-Windsor ??? Personally, out of respect to their mother, I think they should make it Windsor-Spencer henceforth...

Owen said...

Hi Nathalie, guess we'll let it spin there then in hearty silence...
@@
\/

Owen said...

Dear Lynne,
I presume that is the royal "we" ? Did you throw a perfect fit befitting a tempestuous queen ? Slugs in the salad... oh horror of horrors !

As for the plain clothes, most everyone in the photo is dressed in black, guess there must be hordes of police around, or whatever the collective noun for police is... a pooling of police ? A polish of police ?

You've never seen a magpie ??? Don't they have them in Canada ? What about on your trips to Europe, they are quite common here. Although I had go to the blogs to learn that a group of magpies is a "tidings" of magpies.

I am still reeling from the royal visitor who just dropped in. I suppose she is a distant cousin of the Montbatten-Windsor-Spencer lot ?

Owen said...

Hi Hilke, many thanks !

Owen said...

Hei Elisa, you are very very welcome, if we can keep you travelling in your imagination, then these cold days will pass faster... so lots of hearts to you to help keep you warm. Have you been to London ?

Owen said...

Hi Man of Constant Walking, many thanks, Pica Pica is such a great name, good rhythm to it. The French name is "Pie Bavard", the very talkative pie....

Owen said...

Dear Pat,
Many many thanks, it is always a pleasure to see new birds with plumage I'd never seen before at the feeder... I'd never thought of it that way before, but I guess a blog is a bit like a bird feeder... one fills it up with food, then waits to see who shows up out of the blue...
:-)

Dixxe said...

Some wonderful shots of London in your post and the delightful Magpie!!

Pastelle said...

J'avais oublié de remercier ici pour le "plus fun, plus cute".
Voilà c'est fait.
J'ai beaucoup souri. Merci. :)