Monday, 2 March 2015

Wet London Wrap-Up

Wednesday 6 December 1995. Our final day in London and we awake to the sound of sleet hammering on the window. The TV news showed pictures of snowbound cars and we were thankful that we were to travel back to Blackpool by train later in the day!

Our 24-hour tour bus tickets are good until lunchtime so we hop on and ride down to Piccadilly where we jump off and walk a little way down the famous street. This is Fortnum and Mason, the famous purveyors of food to Royalty and Nobility. The original Fortnum had been a footman to King George III.

Piccadilly Arcade has bowed windows that are very narrow, this being a very difficult technique in glass-making for their day. If damaged I imagine they would be hideously expensive today also...

The Ritz, favourite for a spot of tea at the Ritz, you know! We were on a budget so we opted for a spot of tea at Manky Joe's...

At the far end of Piccadilly as you approach Park Lane, this is Green Park. It is so called because at one time deer were kept in an enclosure made of the upper park and at the time it was almost treeless. The deer cropped the grass so closely that the park was a great sward of green. We were trying to walk to Harrods, but the subway was closed and with a walk of half a mile in the wrong direction in order to cross the very busy road, we succumbed to the cold and got back on the bus! When we got to Harrods I was immediately pounced on by an officious little man in a top hat who pointed accusingly at the camera around my neck and snarled "You can't take photographs in here!" The lens cap was on and I wasn't showing any signs of wanting to eagerly snap away, so why so aggressive? I expect many of their customers, who would think nothing of spending hundreds of pounds on their dog's dinner, would be put off by hordes of flashbulbs going off, but sheesh it's just a shop... It must be shit being rich and having to keep thinking of ways to be obnoxious to people...

The gates to Downing Street. This short street is where the Prime Minister of England lives (at No. 10) and the Chancellor at No. 11. The gates were erected in 1990, to deny access to the public and terrorists. The IRA showed how effective they were a year later, when they lobbed mortar bombs from a parked van.

Once more from the bus and this is the Savoy Hotel. This short street is the only one in England where traffic drives on the right hand side of the road. This is to allow taxicab drivers to reach through their windows and open their passengers' door without having to leave their vehicle.

It looks beautiful and peaceful in films of Royal weddings and such occasions, yet Wren's Masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral sits facing Fleet Street, one of the busiest roads in the City. The view of a royal couple on the steps may be romantic, but they have an appallingly dirty and depressing view of a city street as they come out! This is our last photograph of the three days in London, though not the last one that I took. I took several photos inside St Paul's but the film was still in the camera at the end of the month when we were burgled just two days before Christmas. The camera, our NICAM VHS recorder (yes, I know - what the hell's that???) and a good deal of Fran's jewellery all went to make Christmas better for some unspeakable low-life scroat. Still, it gave us a reason to go again to retake some of those photos!

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