London turned on another amazing day for us – 21 degrees, sunny and a beautiful gentle breeze. We are loving our hotel’s comfortable beds, amazing breakfasts in a sun-lit room, helpful concierge staff and central location. Today was our London Experience Day; an opportunity for us to make our own plans and enjoy this amazing city. Most people were up and about early, with great excitement and discussion at breakfast about the day’s opportunities.
In what turned out to be an incredible stroke of luck, we were in London for today’s Opening of Parliament; an annual event whereby Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and their entourage depart Buckingham Palace in their incredibly ornate golden carriages to visit the State Parliament. What an amazing parade, with thousands and thousands of people lining the streets to cheer and observe this special occasion. With so many of us attending, we have many wonderful photos of the procession from different vantage points.
We all insist that the Queen was waving at us individually, whilst Jeff was winked at by Her Majesty (yes, really), Kathy insists she received a text message, Elsie received a wink from Prince Phillip, Daryl and Sue were invited for a cup of tea afterwards, and Robbie almost ran up the back of one of the 132-horse processions on his bicycle. We were all incredibly impressed by the manure vacuum truck and we are considering a proposal to our local council that we have one of these trucks ahead of us at our annual ANZAC Day Parade. We witnessed the 41 Gun Salute in Green Park (a 21-gun salute for the Queen and a 20-gun salute for the Parliament) and were fascinated by snipers on the roof of Buckingham Palace, who seemed to be keeping a close eye on Brad and Kathy through their binoculars as they were taking photographs. Many of us were in close proximity to the Guards’ Bands who sounded amazing with their drums ringing through the crowd.
Many people also caught the hop-on hop-off bus to visit London’s main attractions , but unfortunately many of the streets were closed due to the Queen’s Procession, thus making it difficult and time-consuming to get around. Other events from the day included:
- Sunburn! Can you believe that we have many people with sunburnt faces, necks and feet? In London. I know! Riawena attempted the local pastime of sunbaking in the summer chairs in Green Park (along with the locals who like to strip off at the sight of sunshine) and is now quite burnt for her efforts.
- Many people visited the Royal Albert Hall – an absolute highlight! They even saw Rodriguez doing his sound-check on stage and many took a Hall tour. Sue and Craig even danced together in the Hall. Jeff, Nicole, Sandra and Wally, well they are excluded from this post due to Royal Protocol which prohibits me from mentioning whose box they saw at the Hall ;0)
- We mastered the Underground train system. I don’t think we’ve laughed so much in a long time. Our highlight was catching the Cockfosters Train to Green Park, with Elsie, Shirley and Riawena doing some pole dancing as they attempted to stay upright on the train.
- Nelson was overheard practising his tooba like a boss in his hotel room. Seriously though, a 17-octave range of chromatic demi-semi-gazemilly quavers is not enough Nelson. Please practise more.
- Many visited the Victorian Albert Museum, the National History Museum and the Sherlock Holmes Museum, whilst others visited Harrods, the London Eye, Westminster Abby and the Tower of London again. Some enjoyed a beautiful cruise along the Thames, witnessing the opening of Tower Bridge.
- Poor Grannymum (Shirley H), she unfortunately received an eye-full at some naked-man-statue in town, commenting that he should ‘Leave his hat on’ as Ali had suggested in her song earlier.
- In the evening, many caught the Tube to the West End Theatre precinct to see a show, with people attending Wicked, The Lion King and the Book of Mormon (very politically-incorrect, but OMG, funny!!!)
- The Steins packed a picnic and rode bikes through Hyde Park, and the Dawsons also enjoyed the hire bikes around town.
- Ian ‘Barney’ Vergini caught up with a second cousin in London.
- Roger and Shirley traveled to Dover to meet a dear friend for the day.
- Jennie and Neil met with Jennie’s niece, Yasmin, in London. Yasmin is a journalism student in London.
- Jacqui Ingram travelled to Cambridge for the day to meet with her brother-in-law who works as a Doctor /Professor in hand mechanics.
- Debbie, Alan, Brad and Kathy visited the famous Harrods teddybears, following which they were found enjoying venison, duck breast, cheese and champagne from Harrods in their room. #poshmuch!
- The Hills and Medhursts enjoyed vodka and oysters for lunch at Harrods. Phil also commented on how many older men enjoy shopping with their daughters at Harrods.
- Alan has been enjoying some Rolls Royce spotting around London!
- A special thank you goes to Karen the Peg Ponton for holding (and pegging) Robbie’s music during his international debut at the Tower of London yesterday.
- I should also mention the selfless act of Alex Wilson, who nominated himself as the Band’s Bodyguard and Protector and scored himself a night out on the town last night.
We were thrilled to see that the Black Dyke Mills Band mentioned our band on their FB page today. Please follow the Black Dyke page – we will be visiting them at their rehearsal tomorrow night.
Special thanks goes to all the people who have been following, reading and commenting on our posts. We love reading your comments and knowing that we have wonderful community support back at home. See you tomorrow in Manchester.