Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Changing of the Guard and the National Portrait Gallery

Still no squirrels.

But I had a very productive day on Monday (yes, I know it's Saturday, but I am slack). First I talked to PhD in Caffeine Alternatives Girl (thoughts on your code name?), who reckons a movie should be made out of this blog, and that I should be played by this actress from the OC:
(she's also in Jumper, which is an enjoyable movie and I approve).

You'd need more of a beginning, middle and ending to make a good movie, though. Rising tension... climax... denouement. Ooh, maybe in the movie I don't have my visa, and I have to figure out ways of getting into the country illegally! That might work.

Anyway, after talking to PhD in Caffeine Alternatives Girl, I signed up to a dentist and made my way into the city for the changing of the guard.

Just to mention that Monday was a very hot day: 32 degrees Celsius. I got to Buckingham Palace (Christopher Robin went down with Alice stuck in my head) at about 11.15, and found crowds and crowds of people waiting outside. I ended up picking a really good spot, because by the end I was right against the railing and could see everything. The guards marched down the Mall (I think, I couldn't see but I could hear), around in front of the fountain and in the gates of Buckingham Palace. The gates closed. Very impressive.

I didn't know the changing of the guard took an hour. I'd thought it was ten minutes or so, but we were left outside in the blazing sun until half past twelve (though we did get to see lots of marching people and horses and hear the trumpets and things). Maybe they go and have lunch inside or something. I was very glad I'd put on sunblock, and felt sorry for the guards and beefeaters standing stock-still in their heavy uniforms.

The trumpets played things like a Grease medley, Can You Feel the Love Tonight and I'm Walking on Sunshine. Whenever the gates were closed, they opened up a walkway along the front of the palace so people could get through, and police yelled 'Move along please!' at people who tried to stop and take photos (kept thinking of Professor Branestawn and Pass Along P., and created an entire history of police presence at Buckingham Palace where police used to say 'pass along please' but changed it to 'move along please' when kids kept laughing and yelling 'pass along p!'. Probably not true. But it could be!!).

I nearly got to pat a horse named Katrina, but she was too far away.

Finally the guards marched back out through the far gate and we were allowed out of the pen-for-tourists. I had plans of a movie on Regent St, so I hurried through Green Park past all the lawn chairs for hire, past the Ritz (the actual Ritz) and on to the cinema.

The cinema was strange. You went down to the theatres, not up, and they played classical music while you waited for the curtains to open. I had a Haagen Dazs icecream (which I thought was well-deserved after standing for more than an hour in the heat wave sun. I hope the beefeaters get Haagen Dazs) and watched the movie, which was X-Men and very good.

Afterwards I wandered the streets, which is how I came upon M&Ms World. This is a four-storey store devoted to M&Ms merchandise: jewellery, t-shirts, golf balls, dispensers... You can buy M&Ms in any colour you like, and they have a large glass window through which you can stare at people in white coats.

Next I went to the National Portrait Gallery, and specifically the Tudor gallery. It's here they have all the famous pictures you think of when you think of the Tudors. The classic picture of Henry VIII standing with his hands on his hips is present in the form of a bigger-than-lifesize sketch, which would have been used to make the original mural which is now lost. A bit further around is the painting of Shakespeare.

I walked up the street and found what seemed to be most of the bookshops in London, had a peruse through, and carried on to a choir, where I met lots of nice people, and then home.

No comments:

Post a Comment

what do you think?