Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Sunshine, Soldiers and Big Ben


As you'll know we spent a week or so staying with my friend Abigail who lives in South London. Inconvenient for friendship, but very convenient for a day trip into the city. I asked Bella and Angus what they most wanted to do in London. Bella said, without a moment's hesitation, go to Buckingham Palace. Angus wanted to go on an underground train. That was it, nothing else. Because there were adults coming too we booked tickets for the London Eye - we didn't just want to ride public transport all day. 

We went to the palace first when little legs had the most energy for walking around. You know you're getting near royalty because everything gets very gold and shiny.


The weather all day was bright and blustery with clouds scudding overhead. The light was constantly changing. 

So many tourists. Do you ever look at all those strangers in your holiday photos and wonder who they are and where they travelled from? I do. It fascinates me. All those random people captured on camera, and how many stranger's photos do I accidentally feature in around the world? I hope I remembered to suck in my tummy.


The changing of the guard was approaching and so we found a good spot along the side of a road. Bella and Angus were expectant, to put it mildly.


We weren't disappointed. A band came marching past full of pomp and ceremony and very colourful and noisy too.


Angus has talked of nothing but the soldiers ever since.


We were too far from the palace to see the actual changing of the guard, so we walked up the Mall, past St James's Park and the very tempting looking deckchairs...


...to Trafalgar Square. The kids trailed their fingers in the fountain and we hung around and took lots of touristy photos.


I have to admit that when someone said "Look at that big blue cock!" my first thought was not a bird, and I was slightly disappointed to discover that it is indeed just a very big blue cockerel. 


Lunch next, then a short bus journey to the London Eye. The last time I went there was in 2006 when I was pregnant with Bella. We went about 5pm and the sun was setting over the city. It was incredibly beautiful. Today, we had an alarming big black cloud hovering ominously above us.


It did look quite threatening when we were high up in our little pod.


Then the rain came. It was wonderful to watch it move over London towards us.


And it arrived...


...then just as quickly moved away and brightened up. All in the space of thirty minutes.


I love this shot of the pod above us.


And my boys looking out of the window. Angus needs a haircut.


We felt quite smug about timing our trip just to avoid the rain - especially since I'd recklessly decided that morning that there was absolutely NO need to take any raincoats with us. Last of all was a short tube journey, mainly to satisfy Angus and you never saw anyone ride escalators or sit on a train with such an expression of complete joy and wonder on their face. He just grinned and pointed at things the whole time. Brilliant, all of it.

38 comments:

Emma Elliott said...

Looks like fun :-)

Mama Macfennell said...

I've never managed to see the changing of the guard - what fun! There's so much to see it's great that your children had a good idea of where they wanted to go. And I have to admit that your 'blue cock' comment had me laughing out loud! :) Helen

A little bit Country said...

Wonderful, wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing these. It is exactly 5 years TODAY since we moved back to NZ from London. I still get tummy flips when I see photos of London. xo

Amy at love made my home said...

What a sight that would have been to see in Trafalgar Square is all I can say! Good thing it wasn't what it at first sounded I guess.

Hope you had a great day out.

sustainablemum said...

What a great day out, it is usually the simple things that children enjoy so much especially if they are new to them. I grew up near London and loved going there as a child but usually only wanted to ride the underground and the double decker buses. We would spend hours playing escalators at home after such a trip!

SaraJ said...

Looks like a great day out. And one I'm sure you'll all remember. x

Homebird said...

I can't wait to take my little boy to London, he's a bit too young to manage it at the moment but hopefully he will love it. I always wonder that on photos too :)

Deborah Hamilton said...

What an interesting trip! Your pictures are wonderful, and your comment about the cock is hilarious. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

Grayseasailor said...

Thanks for letting us tour with you, Gillian! The Blue Bird and the height of the London Eye did give me pause, but I enjoyed seeing what your photos showed us, and am so glad you made good memories :)
Since starting my blog several years ago I find myself giving more thought to the folks in my photos, also.
Gracie xx

Tammy Chrzan said...

Ahhhh isn't it funny how we notice those little extra things when we are taking photos? Like your son needing a haircut! And I'm truly sorry you were disappointed by the big blue cock... (That did make me laugh)...
Oooooo I'm very envious of your little holiday!! It looks absolutely perfect! Rain & all!!
Tammy x

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing your day in London. I want to go there so badly. It just looks so interesting. I'm glad you had a nice time and such a good visit with your friends. Also: nice cock! Hahaha...

Sandra said...

What a wonderful day out in London! I love the rainy picture taken from the pod looking down on Big Ben! That bright blue cock is rather grand, though I believe that some folks have found reasons not to like where it is placed!

Xelenacrochets said...

Thank you, thank you for sharing these photos and your trip around London. I need to visit London again! It's beautiful and so picturesque from above.
Your description of Angus's happiness about the tube reminded me only of mr.Weasley from Harry Potter who got equally excited on muggle underground. ;-)))))

Karen said...

Oh how I love London! What a wonderful trip you had with Abigail, you packed in so much and it is always brilliant to stay with a good friend isn't it?. I love going to London with children - their eyes nearly go pop. Hell my eyes nearly go pop. Next time can i recommend a trip on a river taxi - we went from south bank down past the Tower of London, the fire of London monument and those amazing city towers. We ended up getting off and having dim sum before heading back. You get a real sense of history taking that trip.

CJ said...

Glad you had such a good time. I love visiting London too, but I haven't braved it with children yet. I left my littlest boy's hair a bit too long, and he gave himself a haircut - you have been warned. The barber had to cut the whole lot down to half an inch or less. I know what you mean about the joy of little people on public transport, it's wonderful. Beautiful photos as ever, you have a good eye.

Elisa said...

Wow Gillian what a great post for bringing back memories, I miss my weekend trips to the city, which were a regular occurance when living down the road in Kent, now back in York its not something that I can just do on a whim....
Lucky timing on the eye with the rain...lol...the city looks amazing from up there doesn't it.
Hugs Elisa xx

PinkCatJo said...

You packed in a lot! Glad the children enjoyed their visit to London! That blinking bird is certainly raising lots of eyebrows - I also posted about it. I think he should be called Boris - we all know why! PS: I agree with Karen on trying a River Taxi next time. The Thames Clippers are brilliant and a great way to view the city from the water. x

gilly said...

That sounds like a delightful day out - even the rainy bit! Isn't it always lovely to see things through the eyes of a child - they draw such delight from things we big peeps tend to take for granted.
Have a happy week,
xx

Anna-Marie Field said...

Hi Gillian,Thank you for the lovely tour!!!Someday I would love to see it for myself!!!Looks like a lot of fun!!!Have a great weekend!!!
Love
AMarie

mags said...

What a great day! love the palace shots with the blue sky! X

cquek said...

wonderful place to visit

Sharron said...

Oh you do crack me up Gillian!! The Big Blue Cock had me howling with laughter ;) Me thinks we may have a similar sense of humour! Your pictures are superb, and make me want to visit the capital right this minute. I lived there briefly and worked right by the Eye. I remember jumping off the Route-Master everyday, and walking into work with the view of the Eye right in front of me, and Parliament and Big Ben, and thinking wow this is so cool. I used to ride the bus, tube and DLR just for fun in those days. From one of end of the line to the other, just to see as much of the city as possible. Kids love it, and big kids like me love it just as much. Thank you SO much for sharing this wonderful trip with us x

Hannapat said...

It looks like you had a fab time in London and yes it is so funny how boys always only remember soldiers or men in uniform (so much to say here for nature vs nurture!). We love London, but have never taken the kids, maybe next year if I am a little more mobile. Had a good giggle about the blue cock, sorry it disappointed! You timed your London eye just to perfection!! Happy week to you lovely Gillian xoxo

Leanne said...

I for one would pay good money to see a bright blue cock...

I love taking the boys to London. There is an iconic building around every corner. Last time we were lucky enough to see the chnging of the guard. The boys loved it. And so did I - all that pomp and circumstance. Also the ice creams seller outside Buck Palace was cheaper than in St Ives.

Thanks for your lovely comments on my posts - they were going to be one of my weekly happy's, but I thought you might think that was a bit stalkerish/wierd, so I'll just admit to how happy it makes me here!!

Leanne xx

Bronwyn said...

Oh London! My favourite place in the world ( after home, of course!) I've never seen the changing of the guard, but it looks like quite the display. Planning a trip back again in spring of 2015. Perhaps I'll take my young ones to see it then!

jen said...

Oh I'm glad that London lived up to the kids expectations! And it's good that you got to spend some quality time with Abigail again. I like your rainy shots from the pod - very atmospheric. x

Jo said...

Next year our girls will be 6 and 4 and we are building up to a London trip because we have friends there (childless ones)so they keep asking us and we keep putting it off because they don't get it but I gonna go next year you have made me feel it is possible. Jo x

Julie said...

I've never seen the changing of the guard and it's years since we went on the Eye. I so enjoyed seeing it all again though through yours and the children's eyes. x

Chel C said...

I love your photos of the rain coming towards you, weren't you lucky to miss this on the ground! We went to Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square a few weeks ago and found that there were so many tourist squeezed into these two areas. We're off to Greenwich tomorrow to see if there is some respite there...and also to try rolling down the hill! xx

grace said...

Love, love, love London - so many fabulous memories, as a child and with my children now. Super photos, love the rain, looks like snow! Xx

pandchintz said...

What a brilliant day!!

Julia said...

I always look at strangers when we are on vacation and wonder who they are and where they are from. I'm just nosey like that! Your trip to London looks so lovely! I really want to visit there someday.

Amelie Pou said...

Aaaah isn't London great? Glad you had a lovely time! I love those pics of the London eye, those grey clouds look so menacing yet so pretty with the pods in the foreground..
I think I've been on the London eye in all kinds of weather now but I think my favourite is when the sun sets and the night comes in..

Col | Hello Olive said...

Gorgeous pics! All those years of living in the UK and I didn't make it to Buckingham Palace one time. But I have been to Holyrood - hope that counts

Ps love the blue, ahem, cock :-)

Lisa said...

First trip to London is such a special one and there was plenty there to make special family memories.
I nearly spat tea at my laptop screen when I read about the cockerel!
Lisa x

Jen Walshaw said...

LOndon is Mini's favorite place in the whole wide world

my little red suitcase said...

I love people watching, especially in London or on the tube! How mad to have a downpour while you were on the london eye!! Heather x

Coal Valley View said...

I LOVE these pictures Gillian! What a fabulous time you all had. And yes, giggles here over your blue cock too :-)