The other day I was talking (writing?) about what my dream job would be. (If you weren't here for that bit, feel free to troll the archives...I'm feeling far too meh this morning to link to it here, and anyhow, why weren't you HERE the other day? I missed you!)
But I think I might have to change my mind about the dream job, because I see that the first ever woman Beefeater has made the scene, and I think I want to do that too now that girls are allowed in the club. I even like beef!
I know, I know, you have to serve at least 22 years in the British military and have some number of medals and a spotless conduct record, but how hard can that be really? I could go over there, become a citizen, join the army, serve 22 years, behave nicely, let my natural leadership skillz shine like a beacon in the night for all the poor lads and lassies of the infantry, and then take a little test that'll get me into the dashing pantaloons and fancy hats!
You'll have to trust me on the pantaloons, but LOOK AT THE HAT!!!!!
Let's see, I'l be, what, um...... (counts on fingers) about 72 by the time I'm ready for the test.
Pantaloons and opaque stockings won't look so good on me then.
Hmpf. Maybe I'll just buy the oufit and parade around my house shouting things like "off with his head!" and "the ravens are flying!"
'Cause Beefeaters say stuff like that ALL the time.
I went to the Tower of London once. I even went on a tour with a Beefeater! He had a beard and a loud voice and liked very much to describe the horrors that occurred therein, with descriptive noises and active pantomiming of beheadings and mentions of gristle and blood. It was awesome. He took us to the chapel on the grounds and described some nice things that happened there (like church, and weddings), then took us right outside the door to the "private beheading area" that was used only when the highest nobility were having their noggins lopped off. Like Anne Boleyn ! (an aside; I dig the big "B" necklace she's wearing in the picture of her on the Wikipedia page - totally fly bling there, Anne!)
Most other people who were offed at the Tower of London, the lesser nobles and common ruffians, for example, were dispatched in a more public area so that the populace could come and have a bit of a show at someone else's expense. Big fun, that was, back in the day. Who knew? You do!
The private beheading area is right near the living quarters for all the inhabitants of the gaol. As a matter of fact, Ol Henry 8 built Miss Anne a lovely Tudor (hee!) home right on the grounds, right next to the private beheading area. I imagine Anna could stroll the grounds of her prison, taking in the air of the Thames (that's "tems" to you and me), pitching pebbles at the ravens (who, presumably, quoth-ed "nevermore!" each time she scored a direct hit), and decorating the plinth at the private beheading area with flowers from the prison gardens.
Isn't it a pretty thought, being able to walk circles around the place of your own death, just waiting for the word to come from on high that the executioner should sharpen his axe and you ought to maybe think about one last visit to the chapel?
Our Beefater thought so. He rrrrrreelished the telling of these stories, with rrrrrolling rrrrrs and grand pontifications. We learned about the treachery of the English monarchy, the evil done to kith and kin, spiriting people away in the middle of the night and locking them in a high tower for YEARS until people pretty much forgot they existed, then crushing them under tons of stone so nobody could find their bodies. You think I lie? Look it up. Our Beefeater, I'm quite sure, was incapable of lying, being as how he had all those Army merit badges for good behavior.
The Beefeaters and their families live on the grounds of the Tower now; their job ostensibly is to guard the crown jewels (don't call them the family jewels, the British don't care for that sort of thing), which you can see whilst (hee!) riding on a little motorized walkway in a big tan stone building (heaven help me but I think it was the armory. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). One can even see the coronation robe that William might wear when and if he's ever crowned King. The Beefeater we talked with, who was not the one who gave us our "tour of mayhem," pretty much thought that Charles doesn't have a prayer of ever being King. So it will be William, carrying the family jewels (see what I did there? funeee), wearing a robe that's much too short for him, who walks the aisle at Westminster and is handed the orb and sceptre before sitting on the coronation throne, which is really kind of a junky looking chair that doesn't even have the Stone of Scone under it since England gave it back to Scotland (look it up!).
Beefeaters will tell you that story too, if you ask them. They're a chatty bunch.
So, the question of the day is: what's the coolest place you've ever been?
(for the record, I'm not sure the Tower of London was the coolest place I've ever been, but it sure did make an impression.)
Rrrrrrigheeee-ooo then, leave your answer in the comments!