Lively London

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by cheri

We had it easy last week, settling into a comfortable seat, sipping a glass of rose wine, while experiencing the Eurostar train descend from daylight into  darkness. We had left Fraaaance and had come to conquer London—seat of the unmatched Winston Churchill, the English monarchy, famous cathedrals and  fish and chips (in no order of importance)—and we were on route in much the same way another dynamic conqueror had come 950 years before across the English Channel. Well, sort of.

My husband fell asleep, lulled by the rhythm of the train and seduced by the darkness all around. He may have been tired because he was coerced into taking a French cooking class.

I sat wide awake and let my imagination run back to 1066 CE when one of the most dynamic and ruthless leaders of all time—Duke William of Normandy—commandeered his flotilla of over 600 ships, laden with war horses and men, and all the accouterments of war, across the English Channel to invade England in what most of us know to be the Battle of Hastings. He finished off the unlucky and decent English King Harold and marched into London, through Southwark, and held his coronation on Christmas Day, 1066, in Westminster Abbey.

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Westminster Abbey, built in approximately 1275 CE

 

As we rode into London( by car instead of destrier),  we found her  to be energetic, hip, chic, and  magnificent. The Queen’s 90th Jubilee brought thousands of well-wishers and two unsuspecting tourists into a sea of cheering humanity, picnics on the Mall, and a St. James Park in full bloom.
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Our friends from the blogging world and now from London, Richard and Glenys, took us on a historic walking tour during which we visited  the Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror in 1078, The Old George, a pub frequented by Shakespeare and Dickens, and  Southwark Cathedral, among many other stops. How Richard and Glenys walk so many miles without aching feet, I do not know. We ended our visit with fish and chips, beer and wine.

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My husband and I visited the British Museum the next day to see the contents of an undisturbed Viking  burial mound unearthed  in 1939 at Sutton Hoo in East Anglia. Think Beowulf and the hoard. The ship itself was similar in construction to some of those that the shipwrights working for Duke William constructed for the Channel crossing.

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This is the headpiece found in the burial site at Sutton Hoo, dating back to approximately 600 CE.

Oh, I could post the picture of some of the 250 naked men who rode down the side streets after the Queen’s Jubilee but I think not.

Instead, I’ll leave you with the sweetest image…of British schoolboys visiting the British Museum with their headmaster. I couldn’t help but compare their demeanor and dress with American junior high school students. I don’t think I’ve ever seen junior high boys in slacks and shirts!

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Next post: the Churchill War Rooms and Olive Christopher

 

 

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education, Life, My photography, People, Politics, The Bayeux Tapestry, The Dragon in the Lobby: a fairytale about Assisted Living and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Lively London

  1. Richard says:

    I don’t think I have ever read such a complete and accurate run in so few beautifully chosen words and ideas about some features of British character and history as represented by favourite tourist spots. Not only that, you paint a vivid picture of the Queen’s ninetieth birthday celebrations and produce original and interesting views of places, elsewhere hackneyed through overuse, intermingled with lovely floral studies and a particularly good picture of the Queen and the Duke.

    You chose well to feature the findings at Sutton Hoo.

    The schoolboys are, apparently, well behaved. Rest assured, we have our share of rowdy schoolchildren at places of interest.

    How you managed to gather all this in the unusually inclement weather beats me, and without one mention of the downpours suffered at the patron’s party. The Queen is notorious for attracting rain and making little of it, you seem to be made of the same strength and willpower.

    As for our walking stamina, well, that was just one day. You had six days of intense activity after a long flight and passage to London as well as an eventful visit to. Paris. Quite remarkable.

  2. shoreacres says:

    There’s no question that London has changed since my time there. Even my crossing of the Channel was different — I went by ferry, in the other direction. But you’ve described today’s city wonderfully well. The photo of the Queen and her consort is wonderful. I still remember the day of her coronation. We had television by that time, and even in black and white, it was something to see.

    • Cheri says:

      This description seemed so incomplete. That was the problem with London. So huge. What to see? Where to go? The Queen is amazing (and I don’t use that word casually). It was a thrill to be part of the festivities. Luckily, we positioned ourselves on some stairs, right next to an English couple from Stamford, but who told us they own some flats in London. She knew every detail about the monarchy and gave us a running monologue as every horse group came by. They were dandy. They asked us about Trump and Clinton. We asked them about Brexit. They said they philosophically agreed with the Leave campaign but because they owned property in London, and were almost ready to retire, they were going to vote to Stay. That told us something!

  3. Great views of London including an extraordinary photo of the Queen. I’m so happy Kate is happy living there—I’m always a bit envious though. You write so beautifully it brings it all to light.

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