Friday, June 12, 2009

Awesome Anniversary Trip - Part 8

Because it has been so long since the last installment go back to this post if you need to refresh your memory (I did!).
A few Coldstream Guards remained after the others marched out. These guards, yes, you guessed it, marched around some more. In one split second one of them must have broken their tightly woven formation because a higher up stopped them and reprimanded this particular soldier. By reprimand I mean he grabbed him by his bearskin hat and shook it. I'm still not clear on exactly what happened but this poor guy looked close to tears (OK, I may have imagined that part. But he was very upset.) and - this is the saddest part - he was removed from the ranks and marched toward the back of the palace. He didn't get to march out the front gate with the rest of his fellows. They carried on, filling in the empty spot, and marched up toward the palace, by the gate, and then out. It was very impressive but I couldn't help but feel sorry for the one Guard who couldn't get it right.

The crowd began to disperse. Which meant that the female tourist who had been resting her arm on Prince Charming's shoulder (no, not me) had to get down and her male companion had to remove his head from right above mine. Close quarters is an understatement. After such togetherness, I was kind of sad to see them go. Not.

We wandered around the Buckingham Palace neighborhood before heading off to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. (That's a cool sentence, I must say!)
The tower is impressive but so are the lines to get in and the cost. We admired from the outside but decided to save time and money by not going in. I would have liked to have seen the Crown Jewels but hey, maybe next time. (Because there will be a next time. Right?) Anyway, the Tower Bridge is right there next to...wait for it...The Tower of London. Go figure. We got to see the bridge up (at which point Prince Charming took several pictures, all of which I have some dumb expression on my face and hair in my eyes because 1. It was windy and 2. I didn't know he was taking pictures. Of which the following is the least worst): The bridge was up to let this monster cruise ship through: After that ship passed by, the bridge lowered and we walked all the way across. Then we decided to look for a place to eat because it had been a long morning and we still had a long afternoon ahead of us.

We found a nice little pub where we ate in the upstairs dining room. The room was huge with several tables, couches, fireplace, and a great view:OK, just take my word for it: it really was a great view. We walked a long time along streets like this:I longed to be on every bus that passed. (What can I say? It was Friday and my feet hurt!) But we were on a mission to find this place: That's the Metropolitan Tabernacle. We're Baptist; visiting C.H. Spurgeon's former stomping ground is practically a rite of pilgrimage for any Baptist in London. Several things surprised us about this bit of site-seeing:

1. This church is not in a very good neighborhood.

2. We had to ask to be let into the bookstore. ("Yes, we really would like to come in, please!")

3. It really is kind of awesome to see things like this: So we made a few purchases, looked over their service and ministry schedule (which is interesting and a bit different from most churches in the US) and headed back out to the street. Oh yes, first Prince Charming went through a few doors that were closed to catch a glimpse of the auditorium. He didn't stand in the pulpit though, as so many of our pastor friends have described. A lost opportunity, that. Maybe next time.

Anyway, we were back out. But we weren't done with Friday yet. Not by a long, long, way...


Pastor said...

I love this story!

Pastor Dad

Kelly said...

If I ever write a children's book it will be about the one lonely guard who was outcasted from the rest of the guards, only to save the day and become Honorary Best Guard of the Day. Kind of like Rudolph, only no glowing red noses.

And I am being completely dead serious. :)

Pastor said...

There is NO crying in the Coldstream Guards! Nevertheless I would love to read Kelly's book; it would make a great Veggie Tale adaptation as well: "The Guards who don't guard anything." Sing it with me!

Karen@Candid Diversions said...

Yeah, and I used to think there were no women in the guards either. Illusions die hard.

By the way, I have the first copy of Kelly's delightful work. Please contain any jealousy. :)

Philip said...

Kelly's book is great! I'm ready for the sequel: The Lonely Guard Finds a Friend (or something). Just a suggestion. :)

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