(This post was supposed to go up yesterday evening, but I couldn’t get the pictures to upload to WP. Appears to have beeen a problem with my phone, so apologies)
Well, it wasn’t really a visit, but we did wave at the Queen when we stopped at Buckingham Palace this morning.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people in one place at one time as there were surrrounding the front gates and circle in front of the palace. Not being a people person, we stayed at the edge of the crowd and didn’t risk the press of folks watching the changing of the guard but we did see the tops of their furry hats so that sufficed well enough. I must say that the place really lives up to it’s regal reputation. The gilded ironworks and statuary were very impressive. On our way out we passed through the Royal Gardens, a beautiful space, and saw a black swan!
From there we bussed over to the Royal Albert Hall. Though we didn’t take the tour, we did hit the gift shop, and the building exterior itself is quite impressive. We didn’t find any holes in it, so the question posed by the Beatles remains unresolvd by us. Across the street on one side is the Royal Academy of Music and apparently today was graduation day so the stairs and sidewalk between were full of frocked students.
On the other side of the hall is Kensington Gardens and looking upon the Royal Albert Hall is an immense monument to Prince Albert himself. Commisioned by his wife Queen Victoria and opened in 1872, the memorial is incredible, with the canopy reaching up 176 feet. Prince Albert himself is gilded and, with the lights at each corner, must be an amazing sight at night.
We took our time strolling through the park up towards Padddington and I fell in love with the green space. We saw ravens, magpies, various ducks, and plenty of swans in the lake that splits the gardens. It is truly a gem in the middle of London and I would spend a lot of time there if I lived here.
When we finally made it out into Paddington on our way to find the Padddington Bear sculpture near the station, we came across a barber’s shop. Now that would be quite unusual for me to mention as I’ve had hair past my shoulders for nearly 30 years and am probably more wary of hair clippers than a dentist’s drill.
It happens, though, that before we left Seatttle I decided to get a bit of a trim to hopefully keep the hair out of my face while we travelled. Well the lady who cut it did a butcher’s job and I came out looking like the litttle Dutch Boy. I bore it and thought that I might get it recut when we were here. And so we pass Headcase Barbers and the chair called to me, not to mention that the very name seemed to be appropiate to my situation and sensabilities.
Inside the shop we met a rescue greyhound and the barber was a delight! So now my hair is shorter than it’s been since I was in the service and I really quite like it. Mrs Crow likes it as well and she’s the one that has to look at me the most, so there you go. And no, I will not post before and after pics (this is a quality blog after all) but suffice it to say the floor was littered with 8-12 inch locks of white hair by the time he was done.
Finally at Paddington station we were slammed back into reality in the form of waves of tourists and travellers (and I say that with a straight face and a smidge of self-awareness). We never did find the bronze of Paddington Bear, which is probably lost amidst the construction expanding the station, but we did find a blue-flocked version underneath a bridge next to the canal.
Escaping there we bussed on to Harrod’s to marvel at 250 quid t-shirts and other things that would require a mortgage and sat in the adjoining square to listen to a rather good guitarist shredding it while wearing a set of Oculus VR goggles.
To get back to the hotel we took the tube for the first time. It was a two-train trip, but the signage to find the connection was excellent and other than packed carrriages (it was rush hour after all) the trip was very easy.