Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vacation in the UK-7

I'm going to try to finish up this saga in the next couple of days. But proofreading job and NaNoWriMo is taking up huge chunks of time right now. *smile* So we'll see.

The Sunday we left Scotland and arrived back in London, we had a late lunch invitation with friends of Kathy's—Sarah and Sam Wilde. So we cleaned up from our travels and headed over to their place. Sarah and Sam are the ones who introduced Kathy to St. Helen's Bishopsgate, and they met through a mutual friend, Jessica Barnes, who studied for six months over in Britain. Sarah and Sam made us feel right at home, and we had the added pleasure of meeting one of the vicars from St. Helen's, Andrew Sach. He's cowritten a couple of books that son, Randy, and I are reading. Right now, I'm using his Dig Deeper! in my ladies Sunday school class.

Sarah is also an excellent cook, we were treated to a three-course, very delicious meal. Then just before leaving for church we had tea with another dessert. Yum. *smile*

We were blessed with another wonderful service at St. Helen's. God does answer prayer . . . my prayer for Kathy to find a good church He answered the first full Sunday she was in London. He is so good.

Monday we decided we needed to backtrack to some places we'd already seen and do them a little more in-depth. But first, we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. We got there more than an hour early, but there were already lots of people milling around. I found a spot open right at the fence and told Roger to wander around and get his pictures. He also stopped by the Mews shop and bought me a guidebook for Buckingham (they only do tours inside a few weeks in the summer) and a book on the succession of kings and queens in England. It didn't take long for the spots on the fence on either side of me to fill up. Each time Roger checked in with me, he had to push himself through more and more layers of people. It was neat to see and hear the bands, the guards, the pageantry. But I wished I could have understood the commands better.

After the ceremony was over, we took a walk through St. James Park to near #10 Downing Street. Near being the operative word. Because of the heightened security, it's difficult to get very close, but it was a nice walk through the park. We'd planned to have lunch with Kathy, but she was unable to meet us, so we decided to go ahead with our plans for the afternoon.

We found the tube station and headed off toward the Globe Theatre, to cash in our discount coupon on the tour. We planned to cross the Millennium Bridge, but it was closed for maintenance. So we walked down to the river and walked along it to the Southwark Bridge that had a pedestrian walkway across it, stopping for lunch on the other side of the Thames.

We arrived at the Globe just in time for their tour. Neat place. Fairly new, but an excellent replica of the old Globe. It's off season right now and they were doing some work on the thatched roof, so we had to look around some scaffolding. But actually being inside the theatre,

sitting in the stalls, and walking through the extensive exhibit on Shakespeare, his plays and his times, almost made me wish I was still teaching high school English. What a treasure trove that made the plays come alive for me.

After the time at the Globe, we walked back across the Thames (the Millennium Bridge was still closed) and went by the College of Arms building. But it was too near closing time to make it worthwhile stopping in. We wandered down Fleet Street, noticing there were a lot less people than when we'd walked down it the first day we were in London. About the time we got to the Twinings tea shop, it started raining. The shop is very narrow, very long. And that day it was almost empty, making it much easier to find the gifts and tea I wanted to take home.

From there we walked to the tube station in pretty steady rain and made our way back to the hotel, ready to call it a day. Still raining when we got off the tube near the hotel, I pulled out our umbrellas for the first time since we'd arrived in London. (We really had excellent weather the whole time we were there! So we didn't complain about the rain.)

We rested for a bit at the hotel, talked to Kathy on the phone, and then decided to head out again to find a restaurant for dinner. We went to bed early, knowing we'd be up early to catch a train to Windsor Castle.

1 comment:

Jan Parrish said...

Very cool. Looks like you had a wonderful time.Those soldiers almost look like toys.