Hello one and all!
Today (Saturday) Miranda, Leonore and I trained our way to London once more. Miranda hasn't seen the changing of the guards before and neither has Leonore so off we set. I've seen it before but the guards were in their grey winter coats and that's no fun. We arrived half an hour early thinking that this might give us a slight advantage. No. We were forced through the crowds like mince in a mincer. This is bringing up images of Pink Floyd... Hmm...
Anyway Miranda found us a really good spot where we were only a couple of people from the front of the gate. At first we couldn't see anything but eventually (once people became sick of standing up) we wangled our way in. The three of us were making jokes about how to get to the front by coughing loudly and saying "Oh man... I never should have gone to Mexico" and "I've got swine flu? - Again?" The woman next to us had a chuckle. The guards marched in with the band in tow. I never realised before that it is actually a changing of guards from the guards who look like ice-cream men to the ones with the fuzzy hats. The different posses stand opposite one another and I said to Miranda "they're going to start dance fighting any second".
They marched about, saluted, stamped - the whole nine yards - and then the band started to play once more. Band playing - meh - we don't even know this boring song-- wait -- the band started to play "that's the way, uh huh uh huh, she likes it, uh huh uh huh" I kid you not. We looked at one another and began to boogie along to this hip medley of songs. It was so random. The Queen wasn't in today (her flag wasn't up) so I guess the band pretty much just do whatever they want.
An hour later the 'show' finished with a whole lot of guys in metal, roman style armour and helmets with swishy bits clip clopping down the street (they were on horses by the way - not in high heels). It was very elaborate and I'm glad I got to see it again to actually make sense of it all.
Then Miranda led Leonore and I through Kensington Gardens where we saw the Peter Pan statue which was actually financed by J.M. Barrie. It's pretty cool. We continued on, grumbling at the weather, to Kensington Palace. In case you were wondering the weather all day would be freezing as soon as a cloud blocked the sun and then boiling once it emerged. The whole day was spent in a state of uncertainty as to whether or not the jacket came off or stayed on.
Kensington Palace! The childhood home of Queen Victoria and also home to Princess Diana. They had this whole exhibition about the last debutantes as well as a bunch of Diana's dresses. Pretty random match up but I think they're designed to keep old bitties interested - I was. The tour starts by explaining the debutantes. So basically the elite were so good that when their daughters reached a certain age they would put them in a fancy frock, stick some ostrich feathers on their head and boot them in front of the Queen so that all the other blue blooded boys could choose their future wives. Sadly, this cattle exchange stopped in 1958. It was mostly because WWII was over and women were more independent but I think it was mostly because the Queen couldn't handle seeing anymore of these curtsying fools.
They had a bunch of hands-on activities like walking with a book on your head as a debutante must be poised. Way too easy. I would like to say that it was easy because I'm so graceful but more likely because the top of my head is flat. On the floor they marked out the steps for a waltz and the important of never making eye contact with your partner (romantic much?). Some old couple in front of us were arguing and stepping on one anothers' feet so Miranda and I stepped in and picked it up right away! I've never waltzed before so I must be a natural. All the old dears behind us were complimenting our sweet skills. They also taught you how to curtsy properly as that was the main part of the ritual. They were stories of girls being so nervous they fell over or got their heel caught on their dress and one girl even dacked herself! Ba ha ha! That'd be the girl I'd chose... the one with no skirt.
After learning about the elite meat trade we continued on into the State rooms of the palace. Wow. Pretty ritzy place - I'd live there. I saw actual bedroom of Queen Victoria which was restored with all her original stuff! Pretty amazing. The audio guide reminded me that Kensington Palace wasn't a lovely and happy home for all those who resided within it. Queen Mary died of smallpox there after having 18 children - none surviving. Yikes.
All in all Kensington Palace was pretty cool. After this we had a look at the Albert memorial. Man Queen Victoria sure did love her husband...
After that we went to this AMAZING cupcake shop that Leonore knew about and I had a Nutella cup cake. I've tasted heaven - who knew it was in cup cake form? We're planning another visit... a day of cake. Mmm...
We managed to work out how to get home because pretty much all the tube lines were down in various ways. Some were closed altogether whereas others were only running between various stops or only going west or some such nonsense. We made it home though! Stay tuned because Miranda only has one more exam to go and then it's party time! And by party I mean we're going to Hever Castle. We are such nerds.