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Halt! We went there

18 Oct

middletower

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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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11 Comments

Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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11 responses to “Halt! We went there

  1. Debs

    October 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    You make me want to plan a trip there; It’s been far too long since I’ve seen England. I also think it’s about time we did a face-to-face chat, AM!

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    • amgroves

      October 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Are you sure you want to risk your eye sight, Debs? LOL

      i am so glad we made the effort to go, we had been meaning to for years, it was one of those “One day” things but with the poppies it made us as they are only there until 11th November, then the poor volunteers have to collect them and prep them for mailing to those who bought one.

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  2. Kim

    October 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    So glad you all had a great time. Good weather, everyone well, and lots of happy sights and sounds to enjoy. A splendid day. I am grateful you had a eventful day/week. Good for you!

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    • amgroves

      October 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      We had fun .. our backs, hips and legs think otherwise, lol.

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    • amgroves

      October 19, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      There are more photos on Facebook :p

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  3. Bushka

    October 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Absolutely Fab ‘report back’ Ann! Love the description as much as the apt pictures. Clearly you had a wonderful time in ‘The City’….Hope you can go again. Hugs! xx

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    • amgroves

      October 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Thinking about Westminster Abbey [coz it is free for me and my carer] and maybe the Houses of Parliament. But not until next year and plenty of pennies saved up.

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  4. gillyk

    October 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Sounds a great day and so well reported, thanks. Suggest you get in touch with the people who run the Tower attractions and make your suggestions about disabled people :yes:

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    • amgroves

      October 19, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      I may do that … there is a ‘gallery’ and shop in the basement of the White Tower the disabled only access by lift, it could go in there. Imagine sitting in such a hallowed space seeing a slide show of what is above, it would be so atmospheric.

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  5. KEGGY

    October 20, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    What a great set of photos. The poppies are stunning aren’t they ?
    I saw a programme on TV yesterday called the travel programme. One of the hosts. Ade Whatsisname (the Olympic wheelchair basketball player) was visiting various ancient monuments in major cities in Europe and found that in Rome they have some really good facilities for wheelchair users in ..The Coliseum ! Who would have thought it ? They had videos like you mentioned from what I remember and some lifts and flat pathways.
    A few suggestions to the powers that be over here might get something more done.
    Thanks for sharing. I liked the pic of the beefeater. We didn’t see any on our visit. But we didn’t go inside the tower.

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    • amgroves

      October 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      They were amazing indeed Keggy, we are so pleased we made the effort to go see them. As the Queen had visited that morning the Beefy was in his ceremonial uniform rather than their usual daily uniform.

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