Friday, May 9, 2014

London: Day 3

LI have to say, I am incredibly allergic to this city. I've been trying to type up this post for the past ten minutes and can't stop sneezing. I bought some allergy medicine, so I'll be taking that later on. It must be something in bloom which I'm not used to. 
Anyway, today I headed for the Tate Britain first thing in the morning. The day was absolutely glorious today, cold and sunny. The way to the Tate is a bit of a long stroll from Westminster station, so I was very glad the weather wasn't as manic-depressive as yesterday. 
I thought this was very pretty on the way to the museum.
As was this. The museum itself was even better, I felt, than the National Gallery. They have some great selections at the Tate, with one in particular that  was dying to see: The Lady of Shalott by Waterhouse.  I have a print of it hanging in my room back home so I wanted to see the real thing. It truly doesn't disappoint. 
There were also some great Francis Bacon works which, as always, border on the frightening, and a number of Singer Sergent paintings, as well. 
Three hours later, I was back out of the museum and heading to St. James' Park. Now, fair warning ahead: I took a lot of pictures of birds and water fowl. 
One of my very aggressive obsessions is birds, especially the corvids, which include crows, ravens, and some other species. So what could I do when I saw this?
Walk right up to the raven, of course, and offer him the only bit of food I had on me which was a cherry flavored lifesaver. Which he then proceeded to bury by putting a leaf on top of it.
There were so many ravens. I've never seen one in real life, since we only have crows in Miami, so their size amazed me, as well as how rambunctious they are. They fly at all speeds, scream their heads off, and hop around like they own the place.
There was also one moody swan resting and staring at all of us with an "yeah, and what?" expression. 
Just look at him.
There were also geese with their goslings which the mother was very anxious to keep away from the ravens.
The father was patrolling the area non-stop. And I really mean patrolling. He charged at anything that came near. 
The swan doesn't seem too concerned, though.
Look at this. This is my heaven. Ravns flying all around, grabbing food that people threw at them. I had to, of course, find a stall that sold cakes and muffins because it would have been blasphemy to stand around without feeding these animals.
It's really a good thing I don't live in London because I would do nothing but sit at the park feeding ravens. 
These two ducks didn't even look up when I got close. 
This park is unbelievable. 
I'm going to ask my sister what the bird on the left is because I don't know. They were soo cute, though. You can see the babies behind the mom, who was also makng sure the raven didn't fly away with one of them.

Just look at her. Look at her feet. She wasn't afraid at all to get close to humans. On the contrary, she would look up at us to see who had food. Then she'd take whatever she could get and she'd run right to the babies to feed them. 
The babies would sit and flap their wings asking for food.

Running back for more lemon pound cake.
This little dude was hilarious. He was quacking away at everything, coming up to us and begging with so much swagger.

Most of the ducks were sleeping in the sun like those two in the middle.
Behind the gull you can see the nest of one of those strange birds. There were six or seven babies coming in and out of there.
Lots of swans, too, making so much noise. 
I bought another two small pound cakes and you can see the expectation in their faces. This is where I became, as my sister called it, "the crazy bird lady". I fed the ravens and then I felt something heavy land on my head: one of the pigeons, who decided it was as good a landing place as any. When the other pigeons saw that I made no effort to remove the bird from my head (with all the birds I have at home, "avian landing pad" is practically my middle name) they decided to join their buddy. Two of them landed on my left shoulder, vying for pieces of cake from my hands. Other ones flapped right onto the hand holding the food and started pecking away, completely fearless. They would look up at me and then go right back to eating. A bunch of people started taking pictures of me covered in pigeons. I should have asked for a few quid like the other street performers do all over the city. Even when the food was gone, the pigeons stayed where they were for a while. I actually had to lower the one perched on my wrist because he or she showed no intetion of getting down. So, not only am I the crazy bird lady in Miami who feeds all the ducks and a set of crows by my home, but I have made the cross-over, as well. 
I wish I'd gotten some of the pictures those people took, but I had my hands, literally, full.
The plants were also lovely. I'm glad I got to see the park in the spring.
So much color. 
Another duck waiting for food. I'd run out by this time, though. 
Confession time: I didn't like Buckingham Palace. To be fair most things would have paled in comparison to the birds in the park, but still, it was a bit anti-climactic as palaces go. 
Eh. Not that amazing. I much prefer Big Ben or what I saw of Westminster Abbey. 
There were pretty flowers, though.

The gate was a horror. Look how gaudy. Not my type of thing at all. I won't be seeing the Changing of the Guards, either, because there are too many wonderful things to see that don't involve ridiculous crowds and waiting around.
I maybe spent five minutes looking around the palace area, compared to the two and a half I spent at the park feeding birds and I have no regrets about it. 
I headed back down The Mall toward Trafalgar Square.
The Admiralty Arch is beautiful.
I love the stone work and all the small arches.
At Trafalgar Square, I seriously considered heading back into the National Gallery to see the Van Gogh again, but my legs were about to fall off, so I left it for another day. 
I did see Spiderman.
Which was as good a way as any to end the day.

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