London Day 1: Afternoon Delight

12 Aug
Spud getting our bearings in the map.

Spud getting our bearings in the map.

11:43 Board train to London.

11:45 Bored on train to London.

13:55 Train arrives in London.  Tilly and Spud hit the ground running.  Ow.

14:00 First things first – decide where we’re going to go.  The Tower of London it is!  Hub has pre-paid the Tube tickets so we just have to ask for directions.   Begin serious hammering of the Hub’s credit card by buying entrance tickets to Tower of London at Euston railway station.  What a strange world this is.

Some time after 14:00 (Tilly giddy with excitement; doesn’t look at her watch or remember to phone the Hub to tell him ‘Arrived safely’: Take Yellow Line* to Tower Hill from Euston Square Tube station, carefully holding tight to belongings as per Hub’s instruction not to get mugged.  Stand facing each other as directed so that we can see each other’s backpacks; realise we will have to walk like inverted pushmi-pullyu and decide to risk attack from larcenous Londoners in order to perambulate like sensible human beings.

*Not the official name; just the colour on the Tube map.

Slight moment of panic: Tube crowded – people piling off and on in free-for-all – Spud climbs on – doors begin to close while Tilly still on platform – Tube virgin mother (me) acts on instinct – reaches in to closing Tube and yanks son out with supermother strength – exasperated Spud scolds unrepentant mother – laughs – notice a notice on boarding next Tube that doors will not close if teenager trapped in them.

Q: Where did Beefeaters get their name? A: Nobody knows (straight from the horse's mouth)

Q: Where did Beefeaters get their name?
A: Nobody knows (straight from the horse’s mouth)

Later: Dismount at Tower Hill; make way to Tower.  Just in time for Beefeater* guided tour.  Laugh at all his jokes because he is a retired soldier with lots of ribbons and missed his calling as an actor.  Funny, too.  I checked his name tag: Simon Dodd.

*Officially known as Yo! Man of the Guard.

Later still: Marvel at standing on the very spot where a young Princess Elizabeth (the I) entered the Tower at Traitor’s Gate.

'Much suspected of me.  Nothing Proved can be.  Quoth Elizabeth, prisoner.'  Etched into a window in the Tower by QEI

‘Much suspected of me. Nothing proved can be. Quoth Elizabeth, prisoner.’
Etched into a window in the Tower by QEI

Marvel at viewing the very window where the young Princes are said to have last been sighted before their murder.

Marvel at Tower Green, where Anne Boleyn and Jane Grey and a couple of others were beheaded.

Marvel at the houses they stayed in; and where our present Queen occasionally stays*, the Tower being the Crown’s oldest residence.

*Accidentally typed ‘strays’.  I’m sure there’s never been any of that sort of business by our very moral monarch. 

Marvel to be in the very chapel where Katherine of Aragon and many another prayed; and where six people are interred, including Sir (now St) Thomas More.

Marvel at…well, you get the idea.  The whole visit was marvellous.

Later than that: The one thing I have ALWAYS wanted to do is see the Crown Jewels.  The queue was roughly twenty minutes’ long.  I’d have waited all afternoon.  The jewels were fabulous, of course; but what took my breath away were the swords: jewel-encrusted and simply beautiful.  The crowns were amazing.  Charles II’s maces were amacing (give me a break – I’m exhausted; you’ve seen my schedule).

Even later than that: Return to the use of present tense.  Visit the Line of Kings which is the oldest organised visitor attraction in the world and comprised of a bunch of old armour on wooden horses, representing the armour worn by kings; but not the actual armour worn by kings; but historical because old in its own right.  Only in Britain….

DSCN1610

Take call from frantic Hub, wondering if we’re still alive.  See off his outrage by whining, ‘Don’t be angry – it’s my birthday.’  Birthday not for another seven weeks.  Can’t believe it works.

Finally: Get chucked out of Tower (how ironic) and regret not arriving in London at the crack of dawn and spending all day there.

Last finally: Visit gift shop.  Buy tacky souvenirs for Hub.  That’s how much I love him for sending me on this birthday trip.

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17 Responses to “London Day 1: Afternoon Delight”

  1. Morgan August 12, 2013 at 15:08 #

    Any day in London would be a good day in my book 🙂

    Like

  2. Laurie Nichols August 12, 2013 at 15:31 #

    Methinks that the Hub and my hubby are kindred spirits as well. I am so excited for you! When you mentioned Euston Station you brought me back to when I lived in the dormitories at University of London a few streets down across the way. I loved visiting the Tower of London and seeing the jewels and the history. I am so happy for you!!

    Like

  3. SchmidleysScribbling August 12, 2013 at 15:33 #

    HaHa guilt souvenirs for the Hub. Love it. How about those black crows at the tower? Dianne

    Like

    • The Laughing Housewife August 12, 2013 at 18:03 #

      Ravens – the Beefeater said it’s not that they’re superstitious or anything, but they do clip their wings 🙂

      Like

  4. Katharine Trauger August 12, 2013 at 15:36 #

    Loved it. 🙂

    Like

  5. Terry August 12, 2013 at 18:11 #

    Wow, I loved your photos!

    Like

  6. Al August 12, 2013 at 19:58 #

    One whole day of Tilly in London and it still stands! Oh well, I guess if it survived the blitz…….

    Like

  7. viveka August 12, 2013 at 20:43 #

    London, one of the top cities in the world .. and the best thing is that most of the people speaks English. Grand post and … I really hope the Hub, liked his tacky gift. Never been to the Tower of London – been outside many times/. I suppose I never been a true tourist in London. Have to change that.

    Like

  8. sharechair August 13, 2013 at 16:22 #

    The Tower of London is one of my favorite spots. This last time I was in London we took a boat from the Eye to Greenwich, riding by the Tower …. and I tried to imagine how prisoners felt as they approached by water and it came into view. Didn’t use the Tube this trip and with your description, I’m glad I stayed away. I didn’t know that is where the larcenous Londoners choose to hang. I used the buses. The above ground crowd seemed pretty tame. 🙂

    Like

  9. Three Well Beings August 14, 2013 at 06:46 #

    What a wonderful trip! You definitely stood in the steps of some remarkable history! Glad you didn’t get lost, or trapped between the train doors!

    Like

  10. bluebee August 14, 2013 at 13:12 #

    Tilly does London; Kate does New York. What a treat for us armchair travellers.

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. London Day 1: An Enchanted Evening | The Laughing Housewife - August 15, 2013

    […] our busy and happy afternoon, I needed to sit down.  The Tower is sited next to the Thames, so Spud and I found a vacant bench […]

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Nicola Hulme Author

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