Saturday, September 10, 2016

discover London

hello there

oh, yes, indeedy, another set of holiday photos for you to all look at. i know, this blog has been dominated by such over the last few days, but there you go. consider it this way - in days gone by, look you see, you would get trapped in someone's home and be forced to watch a slide show of holiday snaps. and i do mean an actual slide show, with a screen and projector. here, at the least, you can simply turn the page of the internet to find something else if so wished.

this post, then, is as the title suggests more of a general look around at places we went to in London. it is by no means a comprehensive look at all that you can see in London, for we didn't do that and such a post would take an awful lot of time to be doing. it's just some of the places we strolled around and admired, then, that were not the previously posted Making Harry Potter tour or indeed the Natural History Museum.

the number one thing all visitors to London must see, it is universally acknowledged, is Fortnum & Mason. a relatively, indeed respectful, second to that would be Buckingham Palace. and so we made certain that we, at the very least, made it to this most famous of buildings.

as you can see, we the people are allowed to get rather close to the stately home of our Head of State, or if you like our ruling monarch. you can indeed go as far as entering the palace, on the proviso that you pay the fee to do so and that you have hours available to wait to do so. well, either that or get nominated (successfully) for a Knighthood, or become Prime Minister or the elected leader of some other, lesser country.

do, or if you like does, the constabulary and other assorted bodies assigned to protecting both Buckingham Palace and the monarchy carry any sort of concerns or worries about people hanging from the gates in the way the boys were? yes, no, maybe, really not.

this was the first time that the boys, and indeed my (considerably) better half, had encountered armed police since we were last in South Africa. they were all, as you can see, quite taken by the rather different approach here. should, after all, someone really be so foolish and silly as to try any sort of nonsense before the gates of our Queen, then the armed police would be the least of their worries. i have no doubt that the crowd gathered would take them to task, and not in a pleasant way.

as far as i am aware, there has always been an armed protection present in and around the Palace. we just sense it more now in these rather more fragile, fragmented times, when threats seems to come from all angles. it is a necessary presence, but as you can see a presence which absolutely does not distract from the experience.

James asked, knowing how much potential danger there was in the job, how much those who guarded the Queen and the palace were paid. we explained to him that it didn't matter - those who served that were considered worthy of being called upon to do so would gladly do it for free. not everything we do in this world, even the modern mess, is for money, after all.

my (considerably) better half looking regal before the palace? sure.

my (considerably) better half doing a funny face sort of thing in a family selfie before the palace? sure.

wow, it's been some four or so days since i started writing all of this one, sorry. just been busy. let me try to pick up and finish it off, hopefully without repeating myself. it's not like i am going back to read what i wrote to check.

on that note, as i might well have mentioned already, as far as i am aware Her Majesty was not in residence when we went to visit, for no flag flew over the palace. it's not like they stand and wave at the window when they are there (except for weddings and that), so it's not like that stopped us, or many other, having a look at the place with a sense of awe and wonder.

actually, if i had counted how many of the Royal Guard were on duty i would have known if the Queen was in or not. from what i remember, if there are two on duty she's off out, if there are four then she is decidedly in the building. here you go, here's one of them.

one only sees the Royal Guard, going on my experience, on a morning. on my previous two trips to London, i had been past the palace during the afternoon, when regular - but nonetheless very committed and if you mess with them bye - troops were on duty.

a picture of the boys having a nice sit down on a spot they had partially climbed, partially been helped up onto on the Victoria Memorial just outside Buckingham Palace? certainly.

it was indeed, as the lighting of the above picture i trust reflects, a most glorious, lovely and sunny day when we went out and about to see London. chronologically, for your interests, this was all (mostly) just after we had been to the Natural History Museum.

whilst we didn't pay the £60 or so in coins of money or use the many hours required to tour the actual inner, partially open to the people parts of Buckingham Palace, we did indeed have a stroll and a browse in the gift shop. and here's the boys sat in the foyer or if you like waiting area of the entrance for that shop, which is also where one would go to visit The Queen's Gallery.

what's in The Queen's Gallery? some quite fancy paintings, i would expect. most of them probably cost a lot of money too, so no doubt it was for the best that the boys with their fingers that wish to touch everything did not go into it.

from the Buckingham Palace area once could see, off somewhat in the distance, Big Ben. well, OK, pedantic sorts, the clock in the tower, what with Big Ben itself being the bell or something like that. William wished to go and see what we shall, for simplicity, call Big Ben, and so in that direction we went.

that's a sneaky, over the shoulder shot taken by my (considerably) better half. yes, indeed, we were walking along the road that led to Westminster Abbey to get there. the so-called Palace of Westminster, where one would find Big Ben, is right there.

the Palace of Westminster is, i think i am right in saying, where one would find Parliament, or if you like the House of Commons and the House of Lords. at least, now you do. apparently they are evacuating them so that some urgent repairs and renovations can, as it were, happen. the cost of this work at present is four billion pounds in coins of money. the scary thing is that if that's the estimate now, then the final bill will be more than double that.

a look at both the magnificent architecture one will find in the Westminster area and a look at the perpetual amounts of traffic on the go? done.

i mentioned only recently that we had a lovely, sunny day for when we went out and about around London. for some reason the period when we were in Westminster was quite grey, overcast and cloudy. sorry if that has made some of the pictures a bit dimmer, but it also serves to sometimes make them better.

like, for instance, this rather smart one my (considerably) better half took of Westminster Abbey.

as was with York Minster in an earlier post of our holiday adventures, what a magnificent, awe inspiring building Westminster Abbey is. atheism is great for those who simply just want to get along in a biological fashion, or indeed for those who for some reason equate informing everyone that they are an atheist is them being accepted as more intelligent, but rare is it that atheistic beliefs inspire people to create things like this.

onwards, then. to Big Ben. why was it that William was so keen to see it all as close as possible? we shall get to that, but first, since i have added it, another of them "from behind" sneak pictures by my (considerably) better half. presumably we were all being used for scale for the tower in the distance.

why the interest in Big Ben? well, why wouldn't you go and see it in person if you had the chance would be the obvious answer. the more relevant answer, however, is that William is quite the fan of Doctor Who, and more than few episodes of that space and time adventure show have featured the big massive clock.

why is that? well, basically it's because the BBC production crew really, really like being in London, and not in Manchester or Cardiff. they then seem to come up with quite a few adventures that, despite having a limitless universe available to them for locations, required the good Doctor to be dangling off of his Tardis spaceship over Big Ben.

yeah, sorry for how all dark it went when we took the above picture. i used all that photo editing stuff to make it a bit brighter, at the least. but, there you go, and there we are.

the above was taken, as many of you may well be aware, from the grounds of Parliament Square. that's where one would find the statue of Nelson Mandela, which featured in the first post i did off of our adventures. here's another family selfie from that same sequence, only this time it would appear that even less of my (considerably) better half is visible in it.

well, she does have a most formidable and i suppose appealing upper right forehead area.

my favourite areas of London? Tottenham Court Road Tube Station and Piccadilly Circus. there is one very distinct film reason for this, and i will leave it to you to work out what it is. beyond that, it is of course the case that Piccadilly Circus is precisely where one needs to be in order to engage in transactions with Fortnum & Mason.

the above is indeed the boys sat upon the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, enjoying an ice cream and a bit of a break from all the walking and Tube riding. and why not, for as you can see many others were taking a break too. and yes, both boys did indeed try and climb up and into the fountain.

one of the more famous sights of London, outside of the ten or so obvious ones, is the massive advertising thing they have on the go in Piccadilly Circus. it features as the backdrop to many films and that, and due to it often being quite the colourful ode to advertising and consumerism, it features on brochures, postcards and so forth. here we go, then, here's me and the boys stood in front of half or it, or so.

another picture of the boys sat on the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain? i don't see why not.

for my more regular reader who is used to my wishes and proclivities, eyebrows might have been raised about the fact that there has been limited mention of Fortnum & Mason in regards of our trip to the capital. that is partly because, horror shock, i did not venture in. well, i figured on my trip a couple of months ago i got stocked up, and it would be better to go and see the things that the 75% wished to.

i did, of course, however angle it so that we at the least walked past the fine establishment.

and yes, on my encouragement and suggestion, my (considerably) better half did have a little stroll through the tea and coffee section, just so that she could say she had been in.

will i return to Fortnum & Mason one day? i decidedly hope so.

one of the true wonders of London is that it's quite the case of finding a little slice of history and interest no matter which road you take or corner you turn. a simple stroll down Bond Street, for instance, allows one to see the magnificent bench featuring Roosevelt and Churchill.

James is, i believe, getting to the point in his education where World War II is taught and learnt of. he will, then, look back at this particular picture one day and be aware of the two figures he is sat between.

beyond not going into Fortnum & Mason, any particular regrets about things not done in London? seeing the other museums, or at least one of them, would have been wonderful. not taking any selfies with Spiros was a mistake, but there is only so much of him i can show off to you in any one year, i suppose.

other than that, not going to pay my respects at the Rik Mayall memorial once more was a shame. we went past it a number of times - two - on the bus, but did not walk around the corner of Hammersmith bus and train station to see it.

another time, then, but here at the least to finish off is a selfie of moi, which is implied in the term selfie, outside Hammersmith. 

i am indeed trying, and admittedly failing, to look as "Lemmy" like as i can. Hammersmith was awfully important to Lemmy; once his touring and drinking and sex schedule was so hectic that he could not arrange to sleep until he arrived here.

and that would be that for another lengthy London post. is there more to come? for sure, to be sure, but i think i need to take a break from them and recharge the batteries a bit.

should you wisely leave my writing aside for the most part, i hope that you, family, friends and strangers have enjoyed all the pictures!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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