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London (& UK) last hurrah

And then my five weeks were up. I had one final day to tick off some final things before dad and I were due at Heathrow in the evening. Mum on the other hand would be staying on for another week to partake of some Diamond Jubilee events (including a concert with her beloved Russell Watson).

The weather was again amazing and it lent itself to covering a bit of ground on foot. Which wasn’t the best for dad’s knee but he coped admirably. He and I set off, leaving mum behind to catch up on stuff. We tubed to Trafalgar Square and trotted off down Whitehall.

The Cenotaph – tricky to get a clean snap through the streams of traffic

My main priority of the day was to go through the Churchill War Rooms.

Nice pose Father

The rooms were really interesting and I ran out of time to do justice to the huge wealth of information in the museum at the end. Needless to say, dad was done and dusted long before I emerged.

From the map room

Door to Churchill’s underground office and bedroom

Our arrival at the War Rooms had coincided with the arrival on Horse Guards Rd of a long ribbon of Foot Guards en route to the parade grounds. A really impressive sight and after cross-checking photos with information, I think all five army regiments from which Foot Guards are drawn were represented.

And as if through divine synchronicity, by the time I emerged from the War Rooms they were heading back.

Off to the marching grounds (shoes = immaculate)

Returning (shoes = filthy)

The Horse Guards parade ground – quieter than it was a few minutes before

I wanted to show dad Buckingham Palace and the NZ War Memorial in Hyde Park Corner so we did the Mall and Constitution Hill circuit.

St James’s Park

Heading off down The Mall, the various barricades and Jubilee preparations getting in the way of a usually very scenic walk through the St James’s Park area

Containing the masses outside Buckingham Palace

I had to do some tippy-toe contortion, around people and above their heads, to get a photo through the fence of the goings-ons in front of the palace

Walking to the NZ War Memorial

The wreaths may have been from ANZAC Day one month earlier

By now dad’s knee had had enough so we tubed back and found mum. The rest of the afternoon was sorting out stuff until it was time for us to do the final luggage heave-ho down to Paddington where mum waved us goodbye onto the express train to Heathrow.

Dad was well ready to be getting back to familiar surrounds and I had loved my time in the UK but was looking forward to getting back home to Mike and celebrating my birthday. (I had fleetingly considered timing the flights such that I would spend my birthday in the air, which on the return would mean losing a day… meaning I could avoid actually turning 40…)

I think dad was quite pleased to be going home

Just 24 hours in economy to endure first. Sigh.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great post Hayley and happy belated birthday

    27 October 2012
  2. You really did have some amazing weather for your trip! 40th birthday commiserations. Skipping it all together on a plane would have been good if only mother nature would see it that way. As it is, I made sure my 40th was one to remember – I’m not sure if you ever saw this ?? I hope hope yours was too!

    28 October 2012
    • I love costume parties! They happen all too infrequently though. I had a couple of nights out with friends which I think will probably appear in my next post. Yep we were hugely lucky with the UK weather as it turned miserable soon after dad and I left.

      28 October 2012
  3. Lu #

    I also spent my 40th in the air on the way to Iceland.. Alas no substantial time-zones were crossed from Gatwick to Reykjavik!
    24 hrs economy must be a killer…

    14 February 2013
    • It’s “ugh”! A small price to pay for what’s usually at the other end though. Iceland must’ve been excellent – it’s on my list.

      14 February 2013

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