On Thursday we three intrepid travellers embarked the train and trundled to the big City, approaching we recognised things like the sculpture at the Olympic Park, Canary Tower, O2 arena struts, the gherkin [which became our navigational beacon], grabbing a fresh baguette from one of the station eateries we dined al fresco in St Botolphs garden. With map in hand we headed for our destination, detouring through the Trinity Square Gardens we were across the road and glimpses of red between the bustling, mingling crowds we were at our destination.
We had all seen in the papers and on tv the beginnings of the poppies installation and as we approached the railings you cannot comprehend the evenness of the colours, that the poppies are not all at even height, how many that there are, as the installation has grown.
That morning HM The Queen had been to visit and place a wreath of poppies. there had been a light showering of rain drops which only brought out their vibrancy as the sun dapped through the clouds. As a piece of sculpture it is by itself astounding, without adding a name or face to each flower. No one flower is visually more noticeable than any other, all are equal, a feat in itself. The quantity, the spectacle is quite breath taking and I imagine at night when the wind whistles through them slightly, it would be quite eerie.
Did you know there had been a menagerie of animals housed at the Tower? As far back as 1210 lions were there, with a polar bear, monkeys, an elephant and a grizzly bear were added later. There were some incredibly exotic creatures housed. In 1832 the animals were ‘donated’ to the new zoological attraction in Regent’s Park. Through out the tower there re these wire sculptures of several animals.
The central and most common structure is the White Tower, patrolled by the Ravens. They are curious creatures, I think their utter solid blackness, even their beaks and eyes, the size of them, gives them an evil aura, though like many animals used to humans they’re probably quite characterful and funny in their ways.
The Jewel House [in the Waterloo Barrack Block] was incredibly dark as you entered, it took several minutes for my eyes to adjust to the pitch darkness. The screen projected montages of various coronations were interesting. Other items associated with the Coronation of a Monarch were informative [I never knew there were so many Maces!!]. The only item remaining of the original coronation regalia is the 12th century golden anointing spoon [Cromwell and his croonies dismantled and sold off everything else]. The bangles, sceptres, orbs, swords [and scabbards] were so finite in detail. The numerous crowns themselves were smaller than expected, but they do tend to sit atop the head rather than on the ears. Each sparkling beneath the led lighting and you glide past on the travelator. Queen Victoria’s tiny diamond crown she so often wore was baby sized in comparison. The solid gold salt’s were grand central table pieces, I know salt was highly prized but to pass the salt would have taken an army of beefy footmen! There is also the three foot across gold punch bowl that holds 147 bottles of wine. Plus the lilly font that all royals have been baptised from for centuries.
As were walking past traitors gate a Yeoman was making his way back to the tv crews and he kindly paused for a brief second to snap this photo. They do not often wear their posh-reds, as the air pollution does cause considerable damage over time. Did you know they have four uniforms? Each is a different weight, according to the climate [bet that means they’re forever changing them!]
After leaving the Tower we meandered along the Thames under Tower Bridge and into St Katherine’s Dock where by chance we spotted a couple of curious craft. The Queen’s Row Barge Gloriana and another ‘thing’ that looks like a dog.
It was after leaving here, making our way up St Katherine’s Way that I stopped traffic [I am going to dine out on that nugget for years]. Before making our way back to the train station we sat and watched the world go by at Tower of London Park, the sites that passed us, fashion has a myriad of ways it would seem!
Oh and a grey squirrel seemed miffed we didn’t have anything for him [or were in his way to get up the fence].
If anything was disappointing about the day, it was the lack of alternatives for disabled users, yes my ticket was discounted [by about 10%] and the carer got in free, but they have so many great videos on YouTube it is a shame there was not somewhere there, where you could have watched a continual loop of even a slide show of photos of the various exhibits that a wheelie cannot get to see and visitors do not know are there until they come across them.
Thoroughly enjoyable day though – utterly knackered and our legs, hips and backs are yet to recover.