Day 38 – Friday, June 1st

Changing of the Guard

Frances and her special friend

Big Ben

I watched this guy move to one side a pull his red “hair” out of a notch in the helmet. I guess that you just have to get out of character sometimes!!!

Michael very sweetly stayed at home to work and waited for Roy & Diane’s suitcases to arrive, while the three of us headed back to London for the day. We started off at Buckingham Palace with the “Changing of the Guard”. The crowds were worse than when I had been there previously, and we were not able to get up close to the fence. However, we got there about 30 minutes earlier and were able to see the band marching in and also 2 sets of troops, one on horseback, enter the palace grounds.

We also noticed that there were flags and banners hung EVERYWHERE, and that there were barriers along the roads leading up to the Palace. We asked a guard what was going on and were told that tomorrow (Saturday) was a practice for the “Trooping of the Colours”. This will be a part of the Queens Birthday celebration that will take place on June 16th. Her birthday is actually in April, but is celebrated in June. They have 3 full dress rehearsals before the final performance for the Queen.

We visited the “lone palace guard” that I have seen twice before and took photos with him. Unfortunately he was not dressed in the traditional fuzzy black hat, but had on a normal black uniform.

We moved to Westminster Abbey and spent time there. I saw many things that I had missed when visiting with Jenny & Jimmy. One of the inscriptions that we liked was for Brigadier General Hope which said “To those who knew him, His name alone conveys the idea of all that is amiable in the human character. Distinguished by splendor of family, a cultivated taste for letters and superior elegance of manner”.

We found our way into the Poet’s Corner and saw graves or memorials for Geoffrey Chaucer, Robert Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, George Elliot, Lord Byron, Lewis Carroll, D.H. Lawrence, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, George Handel and Noel Coward. It was fun to finally see names that we recognized, and not just those of British monarchy and people who were important in British history.

We returned to Oxford on the LONGEST and SLOWEST train ever seen. I don’t know what the trouble was, but it never came up to full speed. Plus, it made 15 or 16 stops during the trip so we thought that we would never get back home. We stopped at a Fish & Chips shop and picked up dinner for all of us and finished our day in the comfort of our house.

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