It’s taken longer to get back to this than I expected because the weather intervened…no, no storms or other terrible events it was just, well, sunny or at least partially sunny and in Oregon we take that as a green light to garden! I’ve discovered that pulling weeds is just about as compulsive an activity as quilting and my garden was terribly overgrown (as are my flower beds, but one has to start somewhere!) So, my dear husband and younger daughter and I spent hours in the garden area, pulling weeds, bringing in dirt (well, my husband actually did all the heavy parts) and planting. We also tackled the dwarf flowering crabapple tree in the front yard which sits in a pretty little ring of it’s own but was up to it’s kneecaps in grass and tree starts. I’m so excited to see that tree standing tall and pretty again and we’ve planted nasturtiums at it’s base for a new shot of color. So, enough about my garden and back to London….
Our second day in London, we caught the double-decker tour bus and began sightseeing in earnest. Our tour package had the option for a “Changing of the Guard” walking tour so we hopped off and joined in for a London “must-see” event. Now, I highly, highly recommend this walking tour instead of just showing up and watching the front of the castle. Our guide took us first to see the horse guards emerge and parade by (unfortunately a car went by just as they did and my best shots were f the rear-view of the horses!)
Then we quick-stepped over to another area to watch the soldiers be inspected and to listen to the band play before they marched off. When the drum major raised his hands, I was expecting something with a tremendous amount of pomp and circumstance and, instead, heard the opening strains of ‘Bonanza!” I recognized the piece as a Western piece my daughter had played in her band class – one of our guides told us that he’s heard them come out and play the “Star Wars” theme as a warm-up! I love a band with a sense of humor!
I just have to say that A.A. Milne’s poem was running through my head the whole time, “They’re changing the guard at Buckingham Palace, Christopher Robin went down with Alice. Alice is marrying one of the guards, ‘A soldier’s life is terrible hard,’ says Alice.”
As we were moving from place to place, I took this photo which has to be one of my favorites of the whole trip…
Oh, I forgot to add that we slipped over to Trafalgar Square while waiting for the walking tour to start and I got a few shots I really liked…this one is my favorite and, yes, that’s a giant ship in a bottle in the background! Apparently, the plinth it’s standing on was supposed to have a statue to a less-popular king but he forgot to bequeath money for it and no one bothered to put one up. They’re now using the empty space as a sort of rotating art exhibit space. This huge ship in a bottle is a model of Lord Admiral Nelson’s ship (I think!)
We continued on the tour bus after a quick lunch at Garfunkel’s which is sort of a cross between Shari’s and Denny’s with a British accent. I took lots of photos of doorways, arches and other architectural lovelies but I’m not going to try to upload all of them now, especially as I’m having a little trouble with the way photos are going into this document (they keep dropping in the top and then I have to cut and paste them – very annoying!)
That evening, my mom opted for early to bed and my sister and I went to the National Portrait Gallery for their late night Friday event. There were some lovely special exhibits and quite a crowd of people. Then we had dinner in a pub and ended up sharing our table with a Scottish serviceman just recently returned from Afghanistan. We wandered home late and tired but excited to get up and explore more the next day!
And, speaking of the next day, that’s when I’ll have to get the next installment in….I need to go say goodnight to my daughter. Look for a book review and the May Block of the Month tomorrow (with any luck.) And, if all goes well, more about London, too!