Monday 22 July 2013

Our last goodbye....

Twenty-one months ago my beloved Dad, Joseph Henry Dawson, passed away.   We couldn't have a funeral because he had bequeathed his remains to the University for medical research.  We did have a party a month after his passing,  on what would have been his 87th birthday, and then in March, this year, the University held a Thanksgiving Service for all those people who had bequeathed their remains in the previous 12 months or so.

On Friday, 26th July, we finally get to put my beloved Dad to rest, he has served his purpose and contributed to the learning of medical students, a legacy of which I am very proud.   The university have arranged his cremation, which all my family will attend, and we will say goodbye to my beloved Dad for the last time.

I love you Dad and I miss you so much. xxxx

Wednesday 10 July 2013

London 2013 Part 3.......

When we booked our trip to London we didn't realise that a great British event was due to take place on the Saturday, Trooping the Colour!  Of course once we realised, our sightseeing plans changed.  

We were up early for breakfast, wanting to get the first off-peak train to Green Park, the nearest tube station to where we wanted to go to watch the parade.    We arrived at Green Park station and made our way down St. James Street, towards St. James's Palace in Pall Mall.   St. James's Palace is one of London's oldest palaces and was commissioned by Henry VIII, on the site of a former leper hospital dedicated to St. James the Less, from which the palace and its nearby park retain their names; the hospital was disbanded in 1532.

 Of course I just had to join all the tourists and have my pic taken with one of the guards.
This soldier is a member of The Grenadier Guards, you can tell by the buttons on his tunic which are a single row and a grenade on his collar.   The five regiments who take part in Trooping The Colour all have a different arrangement of buttons on their tunics, see here for others.

We made our way down Marlborough Road onto The Mall,  the road running from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end, where we found a great spot at the corner of Marlborough Road and The Mall. to watch the procession of soldiers making their way to Horse Guard's Parade for Trooping The Colour before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, in honour of her official birthday. Horse Guards Parade was formerly the site of the Palace of Whitehall's tiltyard, where tournaments (including jousting) were held in the time of  Henry VIII. It was also the scene of annual celebrations of the birthday of Queen Elizabeth I. There were lots of police, armed and unarmed, on duty on the Mall, plus Grenadier Guards, who weren't Trooping The Colour that day.

There were also mounted police on duty.

We didn't have to wait too long before the first troops appeared playing and marching down The Mall.

Then the Royals in their carriages.   First Prince Harry, Kate (Prince William's wife) and Camilla (Prince Charles' wife).

Then Prince Andrew with his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie.

Then Prince Edward with his wife Sophie and daughter Louise.

Then the Sovereign's Escort of the Household Cavalry, made up of Life Guards and Blues and Royals, in their silver and gold breastplates and plumed helmets.

and another band

preceding The Queen's carriage.

Unfortunately you can't see The Queen but you can just see The Duke of Kent, who accompanied her because her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, was in hospital.

Following The Queen's carriage on horseback were the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) , who is Colonel of the Welsh Guards, the Princess Royal (Princess Anne), who is Colonel of the Blues and Royals, and the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), who is Colonel of the Irish Guards.

Then more of the Household Cavalry.

Unfortunately we couldn't go to Horse Guard's Parade and see the actual Trooping The Colour as it's tickets only, but we were so thrilled to be amongst the crowds watching the parade.  A lot of people stayed on The Mall to await the return parade but we had other things we wanted to see, so we walked back up St. James Street

 onto Piccadilly, passing The Ritz

to Green Park Station where we caught the tube to South Kensington to The Natural History Museum, where we had lunch.   The museum is one of three large museums on Exhibition Road, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Natural History Museum
This was in the grounds

Inside the museum, can you see me?
We headed for the dinosaur exhibition, we did take some photographs but it was quite dark so they didn't turn out so well but here a couple that you can just make out.

We spent quite a long time in the museum, by which time we were really tired, so we headed back to the tube station and made our way back to the Leinster Arms, near our hotel, for a meal before retiring for the night, ready for leaving the following morning for our journey home.

I hope you've enjoyed our London Trip. 

Wednesday 3 July 2013

London 2013 Part 2......

Our first full day in London dawned and after a good breakfast we made our way to the station to catch the tube for our first visit of the day, The Globe Theatre, Bankside, Southwark, on the south bank of the Thames.  We crossed the Millenium Footbridge across the Thames to get to the theatre.  Here I am on the bridge with St. Paul's in the background.

This was our first glimpse of the theatre as we crossed the Millenium Footbridge.

The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company  and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642.   A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named Shakespear's Globe, opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet (230 m) from the site of the original theatre.

The new Globe owes its rise to Sam Wanamaker who founded the Shakespeare Globe Trust to rebuild the Globe in London, and he played a central role in realizing the project, eventually raising well over ten million dollars. Sam, on his first visit to London in 1949 had sought traces of the original theatre and a was astonished to find only a blackened plaque on an unused brewery. He found this neglect inexplicable, and in 1970 launched the Shakespeare Globe Trust, later obtaining the building site and necessary permissions despite a hostile local council. He syphoned his earnings as actor and director into the project, undismayed by the scepticism of his British colleagues.
On the south bank of the River Thames, near where the modern recreation of Shakespeare's Globe stands today, is a plaque that reads: "In Thanksgiving for Sam Wanamaker, Actor, Director, Producer, 1919–1993, whose vision rebuilt Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on Bankside in this parish".  For his work in reconstructing the Globe Theatre, Wanamaker, in July of 1993, was made an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He was also honoured with the Benjamin Franklin Medal by the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of his contribution to theatre.

The Theatre is amazing inside, faithfully reproduced, as far as it can be, to the original.  Here are some photos, which really don't do it justice I have to say.

After a fabulous tour of the theatre we walked along Bankside taking in the sights.   Here's London Bridge with St Paul's in the background.

We walked a little further and came to The Anchor pub, where we had lunch.   You can see The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, in the background.

After lunch we walked a little further and came across The Clink Prison Museum, built on the original site of the Clink Prison.  The Prison dates back to 1144, making it one of England's oldest, if not the oldest prison.

The Clink Prison was used to control the Southbank of London known as "The Liberty of The Clink".  This area housed much of London's entertainment establishments including four theatres, bull-baiting, bear-baiting, inns and many other darker entertainments.  We didn't go in as we had other places to go.

We headed back to the Millenium footbridge and St. Paul's,

and onto Churchill'sWar Rooms, underneath the Cabinet Offices on King Charles Street, to see the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Blitz.  Construction of the Cabinet War Rooms began in 1938. They became operational in August 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war in Europe. They remained in operation throughout the Second World War, before being abandoned in August 1945 after the surrender of Japan. After the war the historic value of the Cabinet War Rooms was recognised. Their preservation became the responsibility of the Ministry of Works and later the Department for the Environment, during which time very limited numbers of the public were able to visit by appointment. In the early 1980s the Imperial War Museum was asked to take over the administration of the site, and the Cabinet War Rooms were opened to the public in April 1984. The museum was reopened in 2005 following a major redevelopment, as the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms but in 2010 this was shortened to the Churchill War Rooms.

The next photo is of Churchill's bedroom in the War Rooms.

It was a fascinating tour, the whole place is huge with so many rooms dedicated to different aspects of the defence of our country. When operational, the facility's Map Room was in constant use and manned around the clock by officers of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. These officers were responsible for producing a daily intelligence summary for the King, Prime Minister and the military Chiefs of Staff.

Our next stop was The British Museum to see the new exhibition, Life & Death Pompeii and Herculaneum, but as our slot wasn't until 4.20p.m. we had a bit of time to kill.  The sun was shining and we were thirsty so guess what we did?

Yep, we sat outside a pub opposite the museum and enjoyed a pint of real ale, what else?   Before long it was time to go over to the Museum.   The Exhibition is very popular but the tours are evenly spaced so it wasn't too cramped inside.  Once inside there is a short film explaining what the artefacts on show represent.

AD 79. In just 24 hours, two cities in the Bay of Naples in southern Italy were buried by a catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.   Preserved under ash, the cities lay buried for just over 1,600 years, their rediscovery providing an unparalleled glimpse into the daily life of the Roman Empire.   From the bustling street to the intimate spaces of a Roman home, this major exhibition takes you to the heart of people’s lives in Pompeii and Herculaneum.  

Photography was not allowed in the exhibition so I have no pictures to share with you, but if you follow the link here you can see what the Museum says about it.

After the exhibition we made our way to Covent Garden to a restaurant recommended by Morning AJ, Dishoom, a Bombay Cafe, where we enjoyed a lovely meal before catching the tube back to Bayswater and our hotel, to rest our weary bones after a hard day sightseeing, in preparation for more the following day.

Join me next time for more sightseeing in London 2013 Part3.