Thursday, 14 November 2013

A long day and a Royal Occasion.

Wednesday seemed to be the longest day on record for us.  We rose at 5:30 and were away from the marina at 6:30. 


For the first hour’s cruising we needed the headlights on which was certainly a first for us.  The early morning mist, together with bright sunshine in our eyes, made progress a bit hairy in places as we couldn’t see a thing sometimes.


Never the less, we enjoyed the trip into Paddington – the towpath has now been cleared of the many fallen trees after the storm and the wood piles are there for any keen boater to collect.  Miracle of miracles, there were two or three moorings available in Paddington Basin when we arrived so we got tied up and settled in by 11:00.


With most of the day still available to us we decided to take a bus trip into town.  The bus was held up momentarily at Hyde Park Corner for 2 open Landaus with police outriders escorting them through the traffic.  Not sure who the VIPs were - no one really famous we think.  


Getting off the bus at Victoria we walked up to Westminster and passed the amazing Westminster (catholic) Cathedral.  The ‘over-the-top’ external appearance is in dramatic contrast to ……….


……. the inside.  It’s certainly awesome but the black brickwork gives it an oppressive feel.  There was a practice in progress for a performance of Mozart’s Requiem that evening – James is a real Mozart fan but didn’t relish sitting through such a heavy piece.


Our walking destination today was see the Remembrance Day memorials at Westminster Abbey and the Cenotaph in Whitehall.  The grounds of the Abbey were covered in thousands of individual crosses making it a very moving experience.  


The Cenotaph too was very thought provoking  - seeing so many wreaths in place, including those of the Royal Family.

Our evening was spent having a quiet drink in our favourite watering hole, “Comptons” in Old Compton Street where there was only candlelight to see by, due to a power failure in the street.  We had great fun chatting to the bar staff and watching them conduct their business without the help of the tills!  We arrived back at ‘Chance’ at 1:30 this morning 20 hours after waking up! P1000046

Today we decided firstly to have a look at the winter skating rink at Somerset House.  Forgetting to get off the bus in time we had to walk back up the Strand, past the stunning architecture of the Royal Courts of Justice ……..


…… and finally arriving at the equally wonderful Somerset House.  We’ve not seen this lovely building from inside the courtyard before and the atmosphere of the ice rink and the accompanying classical music was super.


Walking to Trafalgar Square next, we passed the Savoy (where we didn’t have time to stop for lunch – ha ha!) and got to the square  in time to see ………


…….. Prince Harry arrived to meet the teams of ‘Walking with the Wounded’  who are about to embark on their South Pole expedition.


He spent a lot of time chatting to the team and their sponsors …..


…… before officially wishing them Bon Voyage and receiving the flag they’ll take with them.  Before leaving he  spontaneously went to meet a group of school children and knelt down for a photo with them before speeding off with his blue light escort.


This evening we have an appointment to see Dame Edna Everage at the London Palladium – that should be fun!

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