"Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been?"
"I've been to London to visit the Queen."
"Pussycat, Pussycat, what did you there?"
"I frightened a little mouse under her chair!"
(16th century nursery rhyme)
My sister and brother–in-law put us up for a few days in Romford, so that Vero could see London. I was grateful that she came with us on the first day – I’ve lived far away from big cities and public transport for too long, and the number of underground/subway changes needed to get from one point to another had my head in a spin… as did the urgent need to chain myself to her in case I lost sight of her. Vero on the other hand hadn’t a care in the world – she knew there were two people looking after her (well, one was leading and the other one was pretending she was quite confident, teeth clenched to stop them from chattering… what a wuss).
And the crowds…it was full tourist season, and the queues to get into the Madame Tussauds waxworks were three hours long - four people wide and snaked round the four sides of the square – at £25 a throw, I reckon the owners are laughing all the way to the bank. Needless to say we didn’t go there.
London is now totally multicultural, you would be hard pushed to find the ‘true Londoner’ of old that you see in war films. Forget asking the way – not only would most people be unable to help you, but they wouldn’t understand what you were saying anyway. Thank goodness the same old buildings are still standing.
We took one of these to go round the main sights:
But here’s another type – London Duck Tours -
…All part of the delicious eccentricity that is Britain.
We watched the changing of the guard at Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, and queued for ages so that Vero could be photographed first standing next to a mounted sentry...
...and later one on foot.
She looks a little uncertain here due to the combination of self-consciousness because of the number of people on the sidelines impatiently waiting to be photographed, and her awareness of the look of terribly pained yet patient resignation on the face of the lad as he stood to attention. My sister’s breezy “Bet you wish you had a pound for every time you get your picture taken” was met with stony indifference. (And I’ll bet they get far worse taunts to have to ignore…). So that was another photographic box ticked for Vero.
Me, I became instantly besotted with the magnificent horses, and fascinated by the puzzling moves they’re trained to carry out during the changeover.
Another box ticked (the red phone box – oh do keep up)
After lunch at an old pub called The Duke of Clarence…
… Next was Trafalgar Square
(can you tell my feet were killing me?!)
(Canadian friends - spot the flag!
It's Canada House, the Canadian High Commission)
Nelson’s Victory in a bottle…
The Houses of Parliament and a gust of wind…
A ride on the London Eye…
A boat along the Thames…
...After which we headed home to Romford to collapse in an exhausted heap.
Next time – Romford market and Norwich.
From Lonicera's non-digital archive
More of Bristol
Shopping at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway
The woods near Blaise Castle
Another view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge -
this time at night.
Evening in Bristol docks.