Monday – 25th
As I suspected, yesterday’s culinary indulgences had a price-tag to come. But first, I had to say farewell to my Croydon hosts. Anita escorted me via the mercifully short duration (6 minutes) sardine-crammed electric tram journey from Addiscombe to Croydon East train station. There, I bought my one-way ticket for the 30 minute train ride to
(change trains at Clapham Junction) Station in London.
My brother and I had arranged to meet (as millions do) ‘under the clock’ at Waterloo Station at 10:30 am. He had a planned walking tour of
sights and sites. I had one other place wanted to capture on camera, but as it
was not on his itinerary, I set off earlier so that I could ‘do it’ and get
back to the clock for the prescribed meeting.
My ‘solo’ trek was to the place where my wife had worked when she first left
to work in London,
more than 45 years ago. That place, still survives – it is the Law Courts
Branch of Lloyds Bank on the Strand. I thought
she would like to see a photo of it, so the round trip walk of more than 2
miles was worth it – though the hastiness of the walk made my legs ache - but I
needed to be back at Waterloo
by 10:30 am.
I was only five minutes late for the ‘meeting under at the clock’. We took the Underground (the ‘Tube’) under the
emerging at Embankment where a cup of coffee and a slice of minced pie was most
welcomed. I probably had not had minced pie in more 43 years! Thames River
Then the walking my brother’s part of the scheduled trip began. We passed St Martin-in-the-Field church (known as ‘The ‘actor’s church’) adjacent to the National Portrait Gallery in front of which a ‘film-shoot’ was taking place. I have no idea who the ‘punk-haired’ actor was, but he emerged from adjacent
I think Lord Nelson would have toppled off his lofty perch at the sight of the
apparent reprobate being filmed. Photos of Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square
abound on the internet, so I decided to offer a different one – a mermaid in
the semi-frozen fountain in the Square.
We walked past Admiralty Arch and down
Whitehall to Horse Guards Parade, which is
adjacent to the back side of Number 10 Downing Street. The Prime Minister was
nowhere to be seen, but you could see him on the ‘tele’ any day, but this is a
rare sight: - me and one of Her Majesty’s defenders, a member of the Blues
& Royals of the Household Cavalry (no longer called the Horse Guards.
Next, I marched toward the corner of
to see the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. I stood to look at Big
Ben just before noon was sounded out by the bell known as Great Tom. As proof,
I present this image: Westminster Bridge
Turning westward, we walked into St James’ Park – past dozens of species of waterfowl on the cold lake. The coffee I had drank earlier was telling me to head to the toilet, but my brother urged me to run past the loo, across The Mall in time to see the band of the Grenadiers Guards in their red dress-tunics marching into St James’ Palace. Once they were dismissed and disappeared, I made an equally hasty retreat to the loo, stopping only to look at two modes of
Relieved, I resumed my walk back across the park towards Wellington Barracks, from where most of the marching parades start. From the bridge over the lake, I was able to see, to the east, two of London’s more modern structures – the London Eye (a huge ferris wheel) and in the distance behind it, The Shard – a tall structure looking like pointed piece (a shard!) of glass.
At the west end of Wellington Barracks is
Her Majesty was not at home, so I had to pass up on the tea and crumpets.
Photos of it are all over the internet too, so I’ll not bore you with mine.
Instead, I’ll bore you with one of the Queen Victoria Memorial which stands
opposite the Place, at the west end of The Mall. You may agree with her famous
words, ‘We are not amused!’ On such a blustery and cold day, I’d have to
agree with her. Buckingham Palace
We headed eastwards now again passing St James’ Palace where took the liberty of photographing myself in front of two Grenadier Guards, one Black (note, they are not called ‘African-British), one ‘White’ – in their heavy grey coats. BTW, their headdress is a ‘bearskin’ – not a busby!
Turning onto Piccadilly, we walked east passing the Royal Academy of Arts and on to the statue of Eros (Cupid, if you like) in
Piccadilly Circus. There are no clowns, acrobats or
elephants here; ‘Circus’ was a Roman word for a circular road junction. Just
beyond there, I spied a pub at the end of a narrow street. The place had an
intriguing, though unappealing name – the Slug and Lettuce! It reminded me of a lunch I once had with my
wife and mother-in-law in Dublin
many years ago. The renowned restaurant on O’Connell Street had served our salads –
one with a tiny slug on one of the lettuce leaves.
Square – not a square at all; more like a rhombus,
but who cares, eh? This is where the actors and theaters abound, and is
adjacent to where we had begun my brother’s part of the tour - at St
Just up the road is
Town, adjacent to Soho – London’s theater and
‘red-light’ district. One establishment on the edge of China
Town boldly proclaims itself to be an
‘ ’. The other entrances
are marked by more traditional Chinese ‘arches’ or ‘gates’ – such as this one,
through which the British TeleCom Tower may be seen. Cheer now, if you have
internet or ‘mobile’ phone service in the Award Winning Gay
While almost everybody in
has a ‘mobile’ (‘cell’ phone to those in the US)
London has a
thousands of the old style red phone-booths – which nobody uses, except to be
photographed alongside! For whatever
reason though, there are a handful of old-style phone-booths that are not red,
Walking eastwards, we arrived at
Garden - an area that in addition to an opera house, used to be
home to dozens of stalls filled with flowers and vegetables. The glass-covered
buildings now house what is best described as a flea-market array of
merchandise. The ‘flower and veg’ stalls are now located elsewhere in London. One interesting remnant
in the Covent Garden complex is the Punch and
Judy mural. Now that is something you should revert to the JFGI action. I must
make a note to myself to search YouTube for videos of that ‘Victorian display
of violence for the entertainment of children’.
I was beginning, by this time, to feel a little ‘punched’ myself, as we had now walked almost 4 miles on my brother’s ‘leg’ (no pun intended) of this tour. Don’t forget, I had done 2 miles before he arrived!
So, a welcomed trip on the ‘Tube’ was in store. Well, if it had not been for that sardine feeling again, it would have been OK. Nevertheless, after a change from the Red Line to the Central Line (or some such thing) at Holborn, we arrived near
Paul’s Cathedral. It was too late to enter and see Sir
Christopher Wren’s handiwork on the ceiling of the dome and instead of the
usual ‘post-card’ image of the whole place, here is a simple one of St Paul himself.
We then walked down Ludgate Hill, looking toward Fleet Street, but turned on to
Street to Blackfriar’s Bridge where we turned west
to walk along the Embankment and across
(for the 3rd time today!) back to Waterloo Station. This last ‘leg’, from Waterloo Bridge St Paul’s, added a little
more than 2 more miles to my day’s marathon.
The train ride back to Woking, and the car trip back to
Guildford was not over soon
enough. I needed a bath, a beer and bed!
I had walked more than 8 mile today!
To be continued . . .