Family in England 2000
|On the train to London Towne.
We had the use of a brand new flat owned by our niece in Kingston Upon Thames and since parking space in London proper is non-existent, we traveled to and from the heart of this majestic city via train and under-ground systems.
Traveling at 100 mph as the trains do at some points, was a little unsettling for me and now (between this photo and this writing) there has been yet another rail crash in England with deaths. This one is now blamed to faulty tracks...I am sure this will prompt a complete review of all the tracks in the country.
|The Tower of St. Stephen. Aha, you thought that was Big Ben, didn't you? Well, you are right, but it is the BELL that is Big Ben, not the tower itself. Probably one of the most photographed clocks in the world and there we were, high noon! Got to hear the whole lovely Westminster chime and twelve gongs. We were atop a double decker sight seeing bus, one of the best ways to get a good look at London Towne.|
|Lord Nelson's statue is atop this monument which is located at Trafalgar square.|
|I love the clouds in this shot. It tippled with rain not long after this picture was taken.|
|Westminster Abby built in the tenth century. The place all Kings and Queens have been crowned for hundreds of years. Many royal weddings also and the burial place of the most noble. From King Henry III who died in 1272 to Winston Churchill and including among many: Queen Elizabeth I; Queen Mary I; King Henry VII; Mary, Queen of Scots. There is a corner honoring writers, actors and musicians. some are buried here, others memorialized: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Handel. Of course there are older burials than these:|
St. Edward the Confessor is buried behind the high alter, he died in 1066.
In Medieval times there was a Monastery here. There is a Chapter house where they met and heard the Rule of St. Benedict read to them.
The Quire, where the monks prayed, is very ornate, carved wooden stalls where they stood. Each stall is slightly different and some even have initials carved in them done many years ago by some of the monks. The Quire is between the Nave and the High Alter. Surrounding the high alter are small chapels and all around are plaques memorializing the many who are buried here.
We only spent a couple of hours here, I am sure you could spend a week and not see it all.
|The Houses of Parliament across the Themes River. This is where the Members of Parliament do their business and run the government.|
|Tower Bridge. This was taken just an hour after passing Trafalgar
square in the sunshine. We had to switch to a covered bus.
more about the liquid sunshine in a letter note.
|This was taken from a boat on the Thames which was included in our bus ticket. You see the Tower of London on the bank of the Thames. The tower you may recall, was used a few centuries ago to imprison and dungeon and kill many people. And yes, that is rain on the window of the boat. There ARE very few days without some rain, but its not the horrible storms that many people seem to think occur all the time. Its quite often, as this was, just a brief shower (if not for the slightly lower temperature one might call it a 'summer shower')|
|Buckingham Palace is behind us and this is the beginning of the Changing of the Guard at the Palace. It is quite a long process which includes not only this band of bagpipes but a full band which is in another photo. They were separated so that the sounds did not clash at all. Its lovely to hear a group of pipers. As you can see there were many people here for the changing. It is done with all its pomp only once a week now and the change at other times is just a military change.|
|Here it is....the changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace! It is impressive...the pomp that the rest of the world misses. Of course the 'actual change' is quite simple.|
|This guard grouping included those to take over and now as they march out, contains those who just left their posts. We could only view one guard, the one in the photo above, but I think there were four posts in all; thus eight in this group containing the changes and escorts.|
|The full band retreating after the change.|
|There were so many Americans watching the changing of the guard, we had to squeeze glimpses through the side railings.|
|Buckingham Palace as seen from the monument that was in the background of the marching bands. Caroline wanted her picture taken with this huge Lion but was afraid to walk across to it, Lien of course raced over.|
|Trafalgar square! What more can be said. There are hundreds,
maybe even thousands, of pigeons here and all you have to do is whisper 'seeds' and they
are all over you. I did not have any feed. the girls had cups of food which
you can see is sold from the stand behind us. Quite a business!
Caroline said this was the highlight of the London trip for her; Lien liked best putting her ticket into the automatic machines at the train and under-ground stations.
|London Zoo. The Lion that Lien is watching above set up such a roar over the lioness at the right that we heard it several hundred feet away from the cages after we had left.|
|This lovely parrot speaks for himself.|
|We attended an animal show and this young man was very knowledgeable about the animals he showed to us which included not only this ring-tailed but several birds of prey. They included a kookaburra...yes, go ahead, sing the song!, an owl or two and others. There were wires and pirches around the arena that these animals flew or ran to and a 'demarcation' line on which we were advised NOT to sit.|
|These three creatures were amazingly not behind bars.|
|Gorilla, gorilla, gorilla|
|Caroline has become obsessed with guinea pigs. We foolishly suggested that MAYBE after our return state-side she could consider raising guinea pigs to sell and holy cow...the dam broke! Rod got her a book on guinea pigs and she drove us up the walls of the narrow boat reading snippets to anyone who would listen about the care and breeding of these little creatures. She is also obsessed with going into pet shops which here don't usually have more than feed, shops being NOT on the size scale of those in America.|
|Caroline wanted to be photographed in every pet shop in every corner, so we acquiesed to a few shots for her. Lien of course had to get into the act.|
|This is the backyard of a pub in New Malden, where we caught the train into London towne and this was a day that we just wandered around the small villages. My preference is really the small villages rather than fight the traffic in the large townes and cities, but its all part of this wonderful country. We have a routine when we travel.....breakfast and a light dinner in our accommodations and noon meal out. Usually in a local pub where we really get the feel of the communities and also often chat with the local people.|
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