Diane Gaston and I began our first full day in London with a gentle stroll through the area around our hotel. Walking London, with no destination in mind, is a favourite pastime of mine, as one never knows just what one might see.
Can you hear me now?
Interesting rear elevations and roofs of buildings, above.
Would love to see what’s in that domed turret room, wouldn’t you?
Yes, of course I thought of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
This Ben needs no introduction.
Too bad it was so early in the day and this pub was still closed.
Will have to return and have a poke about.
“Look, Diane, Cockpit Steps. Let’s take them and see where they lead.”
They led us to Birdcage Walk!
We backed up a few steps so that I could take a look at Queen Anne’s Gate. In his diaries, James Lees-Milne relates that he and a friend were walking here just after a bomb had been dropped on the nearby Guard’s Chapel during WWII. Miraculously, all the houses in the Gate survived unscathed except for most windows. What’s the significance of Number 36? Until 2004, it was the headquarters for the National Trust but has been bought and renovated more recently. Read about it here.
Back in Birdcage Walk, we saw the Chapel James Lees-Milne had written about, which took a direct hit from that bomb that shattered windows in Queen Anne’s Gate. The bomb hit on a Sunday. During church services. 141 people, including the Chaplain, were killed. Heartbreaking.
You can read further about it here.
Before long, we’d arrived at the Palace, our home away from home, where there was a large crowd gathered. Something must be going on, thought I. I wonder what it is?
“Excuse me, officer, but can you tell me what’s going on?”
Honest to God, the cop looked at me like I had two heads and said, “Changing of the Guard, madam.”
More of Day Two coming soon!