London, Part 9: Help! I need somebody!

By Laura Grimes

The Pantsless Brother and I have had lots of fun encounters in London, where everyone has been friendly and helpful. Here are just two, which both happened today. Others deserve their own posts.

At the end meet the umpteen friends JoJo played with today. So many! He was a busy little monkey!


TPB and I visited the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, where The Royal Collection is on public display and exhibits rotate a couple of times a year. The collection is made up of pieces that have been acquired by British monarchs for more than 500 years.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in court dress, about 1854/WikipediaVictoria & Albert: Art and Love is now on display through Oct. 31. A couple of pieces are worthy showstoppers, but it’s the personal stories behind the exhibit that are memorable. Victoria and Albert often gave thoughtful gifts of art to each other and went to great lengths to secretly commission pieces that were of special significance.

Victoria had a portrait made of her for Albert for his birthday. It’s not a formal portrait with fancy clothes and insignia. Her hair is down, her dress is casual and she’s wearing a locket that holds a lock of his hair. It’s sweet and intimate. This was not meant for the masses. It was meant just for Albert.

As another surprise for Albert, Victoria commissioned a portrait of his favorite greyhound, Eos. Albert’s top hat, gloves and walking stick were secretly filched to include in the painting.

Some of the most eye-opening pieces are works created by members of the family, including Queen Victoria. These are not masterpieces, but they show a skill well beyond ordinary hobbyists and a devotion to consistently working on the craft of making art.

As we were leaving the exhibit, TPB said to a guard, “Nice place you got here.”

The guard replied: “Well, thank you. It’s not much, but it’s home.”


I visited the British Library. JoJo found this guy to play with out front:

British Library

“Excuse me,” I said to a gentleman at the information desk. “Could you tell me where I can find these?” I pointed to a guide, worried that I was acting like a silly tourist.

“The treasures?” His eyes lit up.

“Yes,” I smiled.

“You see the four busts on the wall?” He pointed.


“Just go past the four busts, and it’s the door on the left.”

The room with the treasures holds the Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, the Gutenberg Bible, original scribbles of lyrics by the Beatles, and the very cool impressive list goes on.


Now, it’s JoJo’s turn. The irrepressible monkey made friend after friend today! This pair was outside Buckingham Palace:

Cherub and kangaroo outside Buckingham Palace

This friend was in St. James’s Park:

Swan in St. James's Park

He found a whole gang of friends outside Westminster Abbey:

Lion outside Westminster Abbey