Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Queen is home but I am out

It's going to be hard keeping track of our experiences in London. Tonight again I am far too tired to retrieve the mental notes I made during the day. All that's left is bits and scraps but I'll do, well not my best, but I'll do what I can.

We took the tube to the center of London. Because I like horses we started with the changing of the Horse Guard. It was not conducted in the regular field as that area is being turned into a volleyball field for the upcoming Olympics. The entire city is preparing, not only for the Olympics in July, but the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June.

Anyway, after watching the Horse Guard, we wandered through Admiralty Arch and ate our peanut butter and banana sandwiches on the steps leading up to a bigger than life sculpture of someone or other then made our way up The Mall, the giant red carpet like road leading to the Palace. Along the way, The Mall passes through Green Park, a lovely area "acquired" in the 16th century by Henry VIII from a colony of female lepers. He desired a convenient place to shoot deer. But what can I say? The grim old structures, the gothic spires rising above the trees, the enormous royal residences and pompous towering halls of government facing The Mall had the desired effect. I was impressed. Even the obviously phallic stylized ship's masts topped by red and gold crowns lining the parade way between the Arch and the Palace hold their own.

As it turned out construction is also underway directly in front of the palace and the last part of the way barricaded. The flag was up on the Palace which means the Queen was in but we were out of luck. No big deal. Even with the construction, barricades and walk arounds, I am here to report that London is still a great show, an extravagant display of great world power, incalculable wealth, ruthless, fearful and magnificent.

But enough of that. M. Lee and I went for bike ride after getting back to Tooting Bec. It was rush hour so traffic was horrendous. The cool thing is that motorists are pretty accustomed to cyclists, much more so than in Nevada anyway, so it seemed quite natural being in the flow. This is partly due to the efforts of London's cycling mayor Boris Johnson who is bent on making London a more bike friendly city. We brought our own bikes with us. I think I failed to mention that before. Bromptons. Folding bikes. They take a little getting used to but are great fun. Along the way we stopped to pick up some maps of bike routes at Crazy Horse, a bike shop in Tooting Bec. We got to talking with the owners and discovered that the woman and I are actually related but more about that later. It's already too late. I've got to try to sleep now.


Roy said...

You are both related to King George?
(say it ain't so)

asha said...

Oh god, no. It ain't so. But she did say we are related to James Joyce.
She's my Irish cousin. When I pressed her on it she said, "Sure. It's a small island, you know".