Friday, May 30, 2008

Egocentric Highlights from London

It was great fun chatting up this guard at Number Ten Downing Street (home to the Prime Minister). He spoke frankly of his world views and that included his country and mine. I was respectful of course, especially given the machine gun in his hands. Quite a few people felt like talking about our presidential candidates, which always took me by surprise. Apart from Gordon Brown, he of the unruly thatch of hair, I don't know any of their other politicians.

Earlier in the day when walking by the same place, I had inquired of these fellows where exactly Number Ten was. They gave a look amongst each other as if I had three heads. "Just there," one of them said, but I think what he really meant was "Just there, stupid." That's okay--I'm sure they hear every dumb remark and I was happy to give them another one.

It's very humbling being a foreigner. You don't understand the traffic signs, you don't know which way to stick tickets in, or why there are mashed peas in with your fish and chips.

Now if you want to talk grandeur and sheer august imposing wonderfulness, here is Parliament. Yoicks. I could stare at it without end. I have always thought that pictures of things without people in them are boring, so that is why I have inserted myself in so many. On second thought, it's a bit egocentric, I fear. Becky and Parliament. Becky and a chap at the pub. Becky and anything else--hmmm. We'll see.

So anyway, dear reader, my companion and I went into Parliament. We were given green tickets and ushered to a cordoned-off spot where we were welcome to wait 45 minutes to hear some debate. We had thought we could get in with our tickets and then wander about gawking, but they weren't having that. So we made a premature departure.
I wonder what they would have debated. If you've ever seen the House of Commons on the telly, you know how rudely they yell at one another. I suppose we could have done that.WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING? TELL US SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T MAKE US LAUGH!

This is the famous Eye. It is a giant Ferris Wheel that goes around over the top of London and I guess you can see everything from there. Several attempts were made to get me on it, but all were rebuffed.

Then of course there is the Princess Diana/Dodi Fayed shrine in Harrod's. I had heard of this, but it is even more surreal when you stand there at the bottom of what they call the Egyptian Staircase or the Egyptian Stairwell or something like that. The escalator runs up and down while a live opera singer serenades all with gorgeous love arias. A bit much after ten years? But I suppose a father's love is to be forgiven (Dad owns Harrod's).

The Chelsea Flower Show was a bit of a bust in my view. Can you see the throngs going into infinite space? This does not attract me. Also, I'm not much of a gardener and I don't know what I thought I was going to see. Something like the Rose Parade, maybe, with flowers doing things flowers aren't supposed to do. OH LOOK, A REFRIGERATOR MADE ENTIRELY FROM MARIGOLDS!!! My girlfriend and I walked the perimeter of the event and then bailed. Kind of a waste, but I'd rather sit staring at Big Ben.

Quite by accident, we encountered a thrilling parade by the queen's guards, who were out practicing for her birthday next week. We got very close to them and I took eight million pix, this being one of my favorites. Two very important looking guards standing outside Parliament were consulting with one another as I walked by later. I listened as hard as I could and I heard one say in a dignified voice, "I normally shave every day." Good going, bro!!

More to come later when I'm not so jet-lagged. It's always nice to get home. Well, sort of. I do like my American cup of coffee.
A bientot


At 1:11 PM , Blogger sandman1 said...

Welcome home! Your highlights have me reminiscing of my own trip to London a few years ago. I'd forgotten about the man in the Tube station who was compelled to tell us how dreadful our President is, politely but persistent, as if we might be able to do something about it. I was more inclined to agree with him, rather than take responsibility for it -- hey, where we come from, if we didn't vote for 'em, they're not our fault!

I also remember Number Ten -- I wasn't sure which one it was either! I asked my companions quietly.

We did go on the Eye -- it was interesting but over too quickly. The view was certainly different and expansive, but not exactly life-altering.

My uncle was with us and is a big military buff, so we saw lots of different guards and guards changing and guards parading. You'd be amazed what you can tell about a guard by the number of buttons on his coat!

At 1:49 PM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Yes, sm, and some of them have tremendous big medals attached, which I was trying to analyze as they marched by. There was a political demonstration nearby and someone asked the bobby what it was about and he said "no one tells me anything." Har.


At 6:08 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Great pictures Becky! Looks like you're having fun.


At 9:04 PM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Thanks, Jennifer!!!

At 7:36 PM , Anonymous Joanharvest said...

Well, it looks like you had a wonderful time. The photos were great. I would love to go there someday.

At 12:32 AM , Blogger Mark said...

So cool to see the pics of you in London, b. Keep them coming! What did you think of the pubs by the way?

At 5:24 AM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Joan, I hope you get to go. You will love it, I think.

Mark, we had our "own" pub, the Prince of Wales. I adored it of course and felt right at home despite the small cement step up at the entrance, over which I tripped several times.

At 8:38 AM , Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

You'd be so much fun to go on holiday with ... Thanks for your impressions. I love the Becky-slant on things.
Don't they have the sentries in their sentry boxes any more outside Buckingham Palace?


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