Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Diamonds Sparkle & "Susan" Disappoints

Having worked my way up, through and down another four towers, I finally reached a tower that captured my imagination – The Martin Tower. Once known as the Jewel Tower, it housed the Crown Jewels from the mid 17th to 19th Centuries and is now the location for a fantastic exhibition called “The Evolution of The English Crown”.

The display cases were surrounded by adults and children all oooh-ing and aaah-ing at whatever it was they were looking at… I couldn’t see a thing but was keen to join in with this wordless mantra of delight! While waiting for the group to move on, I went back to the entrance to see if there were any signs prohibiting photography. As I walked through the doorway, camera in hand, I was stopped by a figure in black and red who said “You can’t take photos in there”. “Oh ok, that’s what I was just coming to find out” I said before I’d registered that this was a woman I was talking to! This must be the elusive female Yeoman Warder! Hooray!

I politely asked her name to which she replied “Susan” without a smile. I lifted up my camera and was about to ask if I could take a photo of her when she curtly reminded me that photographs weren’t allowed. Then she turned her back on me and responded to a radio message about German tourists eating pizza in the White Tower. My mission was over and I felt utterly deflated at the lack of conversation with “Susan” and disappointed that I didn’t have a photo. Maybe she was having a bad day or perhaps she just needs to eat more beef?! I went outside and took a picture of the view instead (right: can anyone tell me what that strange, slightly phallic, gherkin shaped building is all about?!)

The exhibition in the Martin Tower was great. The crowns and diamonds on display were stunning. At one point there was only a piece of glass (presumably reinforced) separating me from 12,314 genuine diamonds! These represent the diamonds from George IVs Coronation Crown that he couldn’t afford so they were removed and he never wore the (plain) crown again! Some diamonds were out on loan and, for some reason, others were replaced by replicas but on the whole it was an intimate and impressive exhibition which was a good warm up for the Crown Jewels.

For those of you not on a Sparkly Songbird budget and looking for a special venue to make an impression, you may be interested to know that you can hire the Martin Tower for a unique and opulent dinner party. You, and up to eleven guests, can dine in this historic location surrounded by millions of pounds worth of diamonds… now that’s what I call a Ding Dong dinner!

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