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Archive for May, 2011

I have the greatest luck to live in a house that has a fabulous, secluded garden for my pleasure and entertainment.

the garden

The entertainment is provided by the creatures that call the garden; home!  We have pretty birds, pesky squirrels and a shy fox (or 2).

the fox on the verandah

The birds family is made up of blue tits, coal tits, robins, sparrows, chaffinches, nuthatches, the very occassional wren, lots of very annoying pigeons, a woodpecker that’s eating us put of house and home and a magpie.

the woodpecker - eating us out of house and home

There are squirrels galore, one of whom is named Sue! 🙂

a squirrel named Sue 🙂

and we have a fox.  Now the fox population changes and I have seen a dog fox which is rather large, 2 cubs (last year) a mangy bedraggled fox last autumn and a very pretty, petite dusty red fox this spring 🙂

This lovely creature has taken to strolling through the garden in the early mornings, and I have a sneaky suspicion s/he is using the air-raid bunker as a den. Not sure about that except for the fact that every time I see it, it’s walking up the stairs leading from the bunker.

So where does the self-installed alarm come into this tale?  Well over the weeks I have noticed, kinda subconciously that every now and then the magpie makes a hell of a din in the garden, shrieking and squawking like mad!  Initially I thought it was just the magpie doing what magpies do!

Then a few days ago I happened to look out the window and there in the rose garden was this beautiful little fox and right behind it, jumping up and down and flapping it’s wings, darting at the fox and jumping back and making the most awful din you could imagine was the magpie!

and suddenly it dawned on me….the magpie was trying to chase of the fox.  And it succeeded!

just a tail visible as it heads off into the underbrush

so now when I hear the din outside, I know that we have a fox in the garden! 🙂

fox in the garden

I am also way impressed at the magpie….it seemed to have no fear of the fox and was quite willing to give it a good blasting and eventually chasing it down to the end of the garden and then silence.

So I decided that a magpie that is prepared to take on a fox without fear of becoming breakfast, deserves a name!

so we now have a squirrel named Sue and a magpie named…..Chubb!

a magpie named Chubb

 

27.05.11 update!!! update!! 🙂 brilliant luck today….saw the vixen AND her cub in the garden today. managed to get some great photos albeit far away, these are the best

mommy and baby on the pathway

 

a grooming session on the pathway 🙂

 

on the lawn heading off to explore....

 

 how lucky I am!!!

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Hi folks,
You may recall over the last few months I have been part of two Virtual Blog Tours; 1) Roy Martina and 2) Tina Games, helping to promote these two already successful authors to get their new books onto Amazon’s best seller lists. Both were successful and the response they had was terrific and for me it was very exciting to be part of the tours! Not something I had done before, and interesting to see how this type of thing was done!
Subsequent to that I have been invited to become an affiliate for a different programme, slightly different this time in that it is not a blog tour but rather a webinar.
In this instance it is, as mentioned, an affiliate programme and the reason I enrolled in this is because once again the subject matter is of interest to me and in this case congruent with the direction I am taking my business; 3 Days in London. So it gives me great pleasure to invite you to participate in this webinar, the details of which are below. If you do decide to enroll on this webinar I look forward to hearing your thoughts and how it has been of help to you.  🙂

For Allison Maslan’s June 8th, 2011 Webinar
Six Steps to Reach Your Goals Once and For ALL!

============================================

Are You On Track to Hit Your 2011 Goals?

Are you among the many brilliant business owners who set goals but don’t have the time or the focus to bring them to fruition? Are you ready to change all that?

If you’re serious about getting out of overwhelm and becoming a focused, fantastically successful business owner, be sure to join this free call from business coach, mentor and strategist Allison Maslan (who also happens to be a best-selling author and millionaire!): “Six Steps to Reach Your Goals Once and For All! Your 2011 Mid-Year Success Check-Up.” Find out where you stand, and what to do if you’re not on track. Reserve your spot on the free call here  

=====================

Hope you enjoy the webinar.

27.05.11 p.s. I didnt mention above about the “Blastoff Business Blueprint” which comes as part of the webinar process.

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I have been living in the UK for almost 10 years now and of those, in London for the last 2 years, as well as approx 3 years on and off between 2002 and 2007!   I have explored the city and the parks, the churches and museums and the more I discover the more I realise that I haven’t touched sides yet!

so huge....takes a lot to touch sides, and that's just the Heath 🙂

For the last year I have been living in Highgate, quite near to the Heath which I have explored extensively……but it would seem, not extensively enough!   Yesterday I discovered Kenwood House! 🙂 and what a discovery it was!   I recently wrote a blog for GotSaga about the 5 Great London Parks for a Summer Picnic and one of those was Kenwood House.  So I thought I had better visit!

Wow!!! What a fabulous place! Firstly let me explain that when you look at the map of the Heath, Kenwood House looks miles away and I imagined that it would take ages to get there…..as it turns out it took less than 35 minutes and that included time for photos.   And as you can imagine, with my propensity for photographing everything I see… that takes up a considerable amount of time on the best of adventures!

I had planned to meet up with a friend at Kenwood House for tea and cake at 3pm, so at just after 1.45pm I set off for the Heath.  My route took me past the Highgate ponds and needless to say I stopped off to take photos! (I can’t tell you how many photos I have of the ponds now and yet they remain fantastically photographable!!)  I studied the map and set sail. Along the way I met some interesting folks that I stopped to chat to, one of whom, a gentleman asked what I was photographing………..”everything said I”. 🙂

Hampstead Heath

Suddenly, to my amazement and in no time at all, I reached the gates of the estate! What an delightful surprise it turned out to be.  Firstly the estate is way bigger than I imagined and had some amazing treasures and areas to explore and discover: Thousand Pound Pond, Sham Bridge, Wood Pond, a Henry Moore sculpture, Stable Field, a Bath Hoouse and of course the main house.  This was going to require more than one visit for sure!

kenwood house

a map of Kenwood House estates showing the different areas to visit

The woods are delightful and I felt like I had been drawn into a symphony of green and birdsong. A thick canopy of leaves towered above my head and on all sides thick green tangled undergrowth hid trilling birds and all manner of creatures.  The sandy paths are fabulously clean, meandering this way and that, taking you on journeys of discovery.  I approached the house from the south-east gate and on the way saw what looked like a bridge that on closer inspection turned out to be just the facade of a bridge.  weird!  I took some photos and thought I would like to visit the body of water I could see beneath the structure. 

As I walked the temptation to meander off and just follow the paths was strong, but I had to keep in mind the meeting for tea….most important!   So instead I carried on and as the path lead on up the hill I noticed a marvellous green lawn…..well a bit more than a lawn really, more like a very large field….but beautifully manicured and kept.  There on the left of this green sloping jewel was the pond, that turned out to be Thousand Pound pond!!  Across the south-east corner of this lake is the Sham Bridge (about 1767-1768, Listed Grade II*), attributed to Robert Adam, which consists of a timber three-span facade with a balustrade.

kenwood house summer picnics

Sham Bridge on Thousand Pound Pond

The pond is gorgeous and the bridge across the corner creates a glorious romantic image, offset by the wonderful greenery, reed and trees on the perimeter.   Spring is in the air and I noticed two sets of babies; 5 duckings and 2 goslings.  All happily pecking away looking for snacks in the grass.  I took loads of photos as you can imagine! Following the perimeter of the pond I noticed a derelict rowing boat beneath the trees, thick reed beds bright with yellow irises and onto the smaller pond; Wood Pond where I noticed a tiny stone bridge.

I got my first glimpse of the magnificent house on the crest of the hill, a massive cream structure, imposing and grand it looked out across the green wooded landscape, as I rounded the lake.

kenwood house summer picnics

my first view of Kenwood House from the ponds

  The lawns of the area known as Pasture Ground are beautifully manicured and lend a sweeping vista flowing down the slopes of the ground to the ponds.  After stopping on the Stone Bridge and takes loads of photos of the pond, I headed off uphill to see the Henry Moore sculpture.  The view from there was phenomenal.

Henry Moore sculpture at Kenwood House - 2 piece reclining figures 1963-64

By now it was close to 3pm so I headed for the house and to my surprise as I neared the house I noticed an air of unkempt faded elegance; paint peeling and shutters dusty.  Nonetheless it was grand and imposing.  My first stop was the Bath House; built in the early 18th century when cold plunge bathing was fashionable. Over the years it fell into disrepair, filling up with silt, but has since been cleaned up a restored. Fascinating.

inside the Bath House at Kenwood House

 Next I explored the kitchen, in the corner of which is a fabulous old fashioned oven, the gardens and then met up with Charmaine for tea and cake…yummy!  I chose a slice of the best tasting chocolate cake I have had for ages.

delicious cakes to eat!!!

a fab afternoon, a fab place and now on my list of favourite places to go!  and since it is so close, and in the words of Arnie……..

“I will be back”.

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Gothic London

and my latest London #walkabout.  Oh how I love to wander the streets of London! I am sure that if you had to track my journey on a map  my route would look a bit like a demented fly has been let loose!!!    My initial plan was to visit the British Museum, as I have not been for ever such a long time and wanted to see the Afghanistan exhibition as well as explore Temple.  So onto the bus and off I went.  Enroute CJ suggested that since I would be walking right past the Petrie Museum I should stop off there first….turns out the museum is situated within the University College London complex, which as it turns out is a complex maze!!!   But what an interesting maze!  I discovered a couple of really interesting items whilst ‘switchbacking’ as one does in a maze!   First was a lovely greek mural

mural on the wall in one of the many rooms I meandered through enroute to the Petrie Museum

and the second were the Koptos lions! Awesome. 

Koptos Lions

Finally I found the Petrie Museum, only to discover it was closed!!! hahaha.   Tuesday to Saturday = opening hours and hey….it was Sunday! Urgh.
Anyhow it was worth the meander, and now at least I know the easier access route.
From there I set off to find the British Museum.  One of the most sensible things the city has done in recent years is put up the ‘easy find’ maps.  These are positioned around the city on just about every corner and show you not only where you are, even if you are lost it still tells you where you are, but it gives a wider view of the surrounding area. Easy peasy find your way around. Very useful for folks like me who cannot be bothered to carry a map.

maps

When I got off the bus in Euston Road I was delighted to discover more examples of our  modern architecture. I am becoming quite a fan of the newer buildings. I also had a good view of the BT Tower so knew I was on the right track.
Never one to take a direct route I meandered here and there following whatever caught my eye. I discovered some fascinating places along the way:
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Bonham Carter House – which has a blue plaque proclaiming: The First Anaesthetic given in England was administered in a house on this site 19 December 1846. whoa!
a wonderful row of Georgian Houses
the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
University of London – Senate House and Library (brilliant building)
a delightful park
and the rear entrance via Montague Place to the British Museum 🙂 yay

british museum

rear entrance to The British Museum off Montague Place

The Afghanistan exhibition was meant to be booked, which I had not, so instead I visited the Iranian exhibition, where I got to see one of the first copies of the Qur’an F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. And if you have not yet been and if you live in London…….why are you waiting?
I am sure I wandered around the museum for at least 2 hours.  The exhibitions are marvellous.  I seldom get past the first floor so this time I made the effort and climbed the stairs to the next level to see what I could see.  Wow!!
in all I visited
Ancient Iran and the Middle East in the Raymond and Beverley Sackler Gallery – fascinating.
Enlightenment
Living and Dying –  with displays of some of the most outlandish coffins you could imagine, made by the Ga people of Ghana.
Living with Land and Sea – where amongst other fascinating objects I saw a parka made from seal gut!
and then I revisited
the Middle East exhibitions of which the Rosetta Stone was inundated with visitors as usual.
The Clocks and Watches exhibitions
part of the Hans Sloane curiosity collectables collection
as well as a number of others that I have forgotten the names of.
With well over 100 exhibitions and displays to visit you would seriously have to visit a dozen times to see it all.  There are so many wonderful treasures to see the mind can’t cope with all the intriguing artefacts and facts on display. Thankfully the British Museum allow you to take photographs for future enjoyment! 🙂

one of the many displays inside the British Museum

I left the Museum via the main entrance and stopped for a few minutes to visit the Australian exhibition in the forecourt. A journey through Australia’s varied and actually mind-boggling landscape.
Also in the forecourt were two vans 1) selling ice-creams and 2) crepes 🙂 and I had no money 😦
Outside the museum I saw a taxi decorated like a Pirate Ship 🙂

pirate ship taxi

and across the road on Great Russell Street, a row of terrace Houses #’s 67 -70 the first works of John Nash – architect 1752–1835.
then Bloomsbury Square
with a statue of Statesman Charles James Fox 1749-1806
the house where Sir Hans Sloane – benefactor of the British Museum lived 1695-1742
It was my plan to visit and explore Temple as well today so from Bloomsbury Square I headed off in the general direction and wandered along Southampton Row where I discovered the delightful pedestrianized Sicilian Avenue… a triangular area of restaurants and cafes. Wonderful.

Sicilian Avenue

Southampton Row is lined with wonderful buildings some of which are adorned with fascinating sculptures and reliefs.
On my way to Temple I walked along Kingsway and discovered the marvellous Aviation House!!
and quite by accident; Lincoln Inn Fields! I was delighted to discover this historic part of London and park. On the perimeter are a number of imposing houses one of which is where William Marsden – Surgeon lived 1796-1867 (I think) the plaque was too far away for me to read it properly.
I walked through ‘the fields’ (aka a park) and passed a beautiful memorial for Margaret MacDonald who spent her life in helping others.

Margaret MacDonald memorial at Lincoln Inn Fields

Enroute round the perimeter of the park I found a slightly decrepit bust of John Hunter; Surgeon, Anatomist, Teacher and Collector 1728-1793! Hmmm, little did I know what i was to discover next!
Leaving the park, I turned left and headed towards a marvellous red-brick gate and what looked like a church; eager to explore. And on the way I passed the Hunterian Museum!!! OMGosh!! sadly it was closed, but no matter at least I know where it is….will just have to find a quicker way to get there. Next stop was this marvellous gate et al and to my dismay I learned it was private property and No Entry! How rude. But I did find out through diligent questioning that they have tours of the place every Friday at 2pm!  So guess where I will be at 2pm on Friday!  I did not discover what the place was except that it has something to do with ‘The Law’!
And hey presto to my right was the rear of The Royal Courts of Justice…whey hey! Super duper.

The royal courts of justice london

The Royal Courts of Justice, London (rear view)

Of course I have been inside these magnificent courts and even got to play at being Judge in the high court last year on Open House weekend in September  2010. heehee.     CJ has a photo of me somewhere in my Judge regalia, wig and all!!
My destination at this stage was still Temple and I figured I would get there eventually. Walking past the courts I noticed an old building with a statue tucked away in a niche above the doorway; Thomas More – Sometime Lord High Chancellor of England, martyred July 6th 1535!   The Royal Courts of Justice are no less fabulous and imposing at the rear as what they are at the front. A must visit!!!
on my way I passed:
an old silver merchants shop ‘The Silver Mousetrap’ est 1690…mind-blowing
The Union Bank Chambers est 1865
and then delight of delights….King’s College London.  I had seen this marvellous building some months ago from the other side when I visited Samuel Johnson’s house, but had no idea what it was.  I had it in mind to find out and today I did….quite by accident mind.
Marvellous, marvellous. It looks like a fairytale castle and since the gate was open….I explored. I wanted to explore the building but got asked to leave by the very grumpy security guard. Yeah alright already! God! Instead I meandered the gardens, wonderful. I also met Confucius  😉
from there I did my demented fly thing and suddenly found myself at Fleet Street and the doors to Inner Temple, which as it turned out were locked and I had to do a detour!

temple

the doors to Inner Temple - beneath Prince Henry's Room in Fleet Street

And I will write a separate blog about that….in due course and by this stage I had taken over 400 photos! 🙂  some of which I have uploaded (32) in an album on facebook.

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Hooray! Finally after I do not know how many years I was able to attend my very first MeetUp!! 🙂

Thanks to my good friend Andrew who invited me to the latest MeetUp in London, the theme of which, as he mentioned, was to be TRAVEL!! So how could I not go?  And it was great. Somewhat different to what I was expecting. I had the idea that it would be quite formal and that there would be quite a structure to the evening, but as it turned out it was very informal and very noisy and very busy with a real buzz of excitement! and I loved it. Now I would like to go every week! 🙂

So we met up at Leicester Square station and had a pizza slice on the way and arrived pretty much just after 7pm as instructed and already the room was buzzing. I got to speak to a lass by the name of Sarah who as it turns out was from a London PR company and she had already visited my 3 Days in London website!!! and not only that but thought it was great!! Awesome. That alone has spurred me on to work even harder at what I am already doing.

Then when the meeting finally got started (by which stage I was beginning to panic a little as I had to leave at 9pm!) we got to hear from Paul of TravMonkey, Emma of TripAdvisor (only the most visited travel site on the internet) and Fulvia of Hotwire, who were hosting the evening.

I got to learn some tips about SEO and how important the first 100 words of the blog post are, as well as which to use the same words of the heading in the first 100 words! I implemented that immediately yesterday when I did a blog on our ‘Boris Bikes’!  I also learned that contrary to what some of the Internet marketing *Guru’s* teach you, you should keep your heading simplistic and relevant to what the blog is about e.g. Barclays Bicycles – use that in the heading instead of some ‘fancy obscure *hopefully* drive traffic to the blog with a fancy worded heading’! Duh!

Now you may wonder why I am somewhat sarcastic about that….well this guy has one of the top travel websites and I have been following the ‘guru’s’ advice so the bounce rate on my website is quite high!  Seems I am more likely to trust his advice than theirs! Especially from now on!

But on the whole all is good. He also recommended that as a travel blogger we should endeavour to make our site a resource for travellers rather than just a great blog, which is terrific coz that is exactly what the New Media Angel genius and I were talking about last week and how we are (read: she is) 🙂 going to restructure the website now.

I also got to meet and chat to Jorgen of Link Humans.com who are promoting the Plan-UK campaign #Blog4Girls.   I would urge you to click thru on this link and find out more.  It is a tremendoulsy important issue they are tackling and certainly one that needs to be addressed if progress is to be made.  I am partial to these smaller charities rather than the big super size organisations, mostly coz they get to really make a difference and the money goes where it’s needed rather than through the Government coffers and into a Swiss Bank account somewhere or other!

In all a great evening.  I look forward to the day when I can be free to attend these evenings more frequently.

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the weather, a daily occurance!

When I first arrived in the UK I learned pretty quick that most Brits have a thing about the weather.  No matter what you are doing or where you are going, someone will always ask “what’s the weather like?” or “look at the weather” or “what miserable weather” or “it’s really miserable out” or “do you know the weather is for tomorrow?” or whatever……adinfinitum.

One day I decided to find out what the story is and why is weather such a hot topic of conversation.  The answer to my question was “we talk about the weather because that is a fairly safe subject. It upsets no-one and doesn’t offend.  We don’t talk about politics or religion so that leaves the weather.”  This seems to me to be quite a shame!

There is nothing more enjoyable than a good debate on the merits of Politics or Religion, especially if the other person/s are passionate about their points of view.  It is exceptionally enjoyable to sit on the fence and argue the points put forward.

So why don’t we discuss Politics and Religion more often. Or is weather just too safe.

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I found this absolutely fascinating video on youtube today via facebook…… (hey you gotta love social media). My jaw dropped with amazement as I watched. I wondered at the vast difference between a London Market and a Bangkok Market.

London Market:

London Market Stall....safe on the sidewalk

and a Bangkok Market Stall

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South Africa from inside a metal box

So the tickets are booked and paid for and on 14 June 2011 we are going ‘home’.  Such a weird word to use in this context coz of course South Africa is no longer my home.  I left South Africa in October 2001 and have lived in the UK since July 2002 and I now call London ‘home’.  The last time we visited South Africa was in 2008 for my sister’s 50th and to catch up with family and friends.  How much has changed since then.  The purpose of this trip is to visit my daughter’s grandparents, both of whom are in their 90’s now and both of whom have had major health issues in the last year or so.  Last year her grandmother fell and broke her hip, she recovered from that but has now fractured a vertebrae.  Her Grandfather is still recovering from prostrate cancer and last month fell and broke his hip.   They are so fragile now.  So this trip is to spend some time with them.  I recall the last time we saw them back in 2008 how they and we cried when we left, thinking it would be the last time we saw them, and this time it may well be. So it is with gladness and sadness that we make this trip back coz the reality is that this may indeed be the last time we see them….personally I hope it’s not.

Alan, Dixie and Cémanthe - Natal 2008

Of course the trip is twofold coz we have not seen the rest of the family for an equal amount of time and the children are growing up fast (my sister’s grandchildren) I have not seen my younger sisters since 2008 either and my Dad….not even sure where or when last we caught up! It may well have been here in London, but so much has happened in the last few years that it feels like a blur. I have seen my brother and sister-in-law; at the beginning of this year for about 5 minutes when they were in-transit to Hungary last January.
Now you may or may not know that South Africa is rather a large country and the UK could probably fit into it 6 times over if not more. So going home is always a challenge! Why? Well mostly because the family are dispersed over such a vast area and we spend a lot of our time travelling from one place to the other. For e.g. the grandparents and one Aunt live in Natal; my Dad, 3 younger sisters and 2 brothers-in-law live in the Cape – none of which is anywhere near one to the other; and my other sister and family all live in the Transvaal, as well as my daughter’s father, her brother and sister and their families. Besides which there are friends to visit and catch up with as well. So it’s a matter of a few days here and a few days there and a couple of days somewhere else, and before we even have time to breathe…..it’s back on the plane to the UK. So the result is that you only get to spend about an hour or two with the people you care about.
On the emotional side of things, I always find it a real challenge to go ‘home’ – one because it is no longer my home and I have no emotional attachment to the country at all, which I know folks always find strange, and two because the person I was back then is so completely different to the person I am now that I feel like a fish out of water, it’s like landing in a foreign country. When I am back in South Africa, it feels like a blanket has been thrown over me; I feel stifled.
London is now so home to me and I find it really difficult to go ‘back’. It feels ‘back’ in every sense of the word and I spend the next few months after I return to London trying to shake off the emotional turmoil of the trip. It’s always wonderful to see the family and to catch up with friends, but saying goodbye again is dreadful. That’s besides the feelings of claustrophobia I feel when I step off the plane.
I hate the vastness of the country, I hate that I cannot just walk out the front door and go to the store, I hate that I cannot take a train into the city centre and go walkabout, I hate that when I am driving in a car I have the fear of carjackings and have to make sure that the car doors and windows are securely locked. There are many other things that I loathe about going ‘home’ besides the above, but the biggest is the feeling that I suddenly lose my identity.
I lose my sense of self, my sense of freedom.
I recall the last time we went home, my daughter’s father was driving us from the airport to his house where we would be staying for a few days and the area we were driving through was wide open and spacious and yet the overwhelming feeling I had was one of claustrophobia. (see pic above) That came as such a shock to me! I was sat in a metal box, doors securely locked, with wide open country in front of me and I felt so closed in and trapped. A feeling that usually catches me as I step off the plane.  I hate driving around in a metal box, doors and windows securely locked, fearful of carjackings, locking doors and windows at night; burglar bars and barbed-wire fences the norm.  I hate that I can’t just walk to the bus-stop and get on a bus to the station, wait for the next train and whizz off into London. Total freedom! I can walk where I like, sit on the banks of the river, meander here and there without restriction and really enjoy my surroundings without fear!
I dread the flight; it’s 1.5 days of airports and planes, I dread the country (?), I dread saying goodbye, I dread going back!
And all of that aside, it will be wonderful to see the family; the hugs, the laughter, the catching up on news we don’t always get, re-establishing realtionships, playing with the grandchildren, creating new memories, loads of photos of shared moments in time and filling up the coffers of family love till the next time we……………go home!

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…..and then I will try my best not to post any more articles about the Royal Wedding.  I am sure by now you must be thinking I am a ‘royal pain in the ass’ 🙂  But bear with me on this one!  I love statistics and many moons ago, back in South Africa I decided to do a course on Sales Management. One of the modules was statistics and if the course hadn’t been so boring (?) I would have eventually achieved a certificate of achievement! ‘Whatever’!!! 🙂

But it was incredibly boring and I chucked it in after about 2 months.   However, my love of numbers never went away and I especially love statistical numbers.  So in view of this, one of the first articles I read after the Royal Wedding was the statistics.  This is what I found:

The Royal Wedding in numbers:
9 million page views for the BBC’s royal wedding live page
24.5million people watched TV coverage on BBC and ITV
400million people watched online
2,400MW power surge immediately after the wedding service = 1million kettles being boiled

5,000 Police officers on duty
35 sniffer dogs on duty
11,000 barriers were used
55 arrests were made
60 known demonstrators excluded from the area
130 street cleaners cleared up
140tonnes of rubbish
£10m = estimated cost of policing, preparation and clearing up – horse manure was the biggest issue

1,900 invited to the service at Westminster Abbey
1,000 of the guests were family and friends
50 were members of the Royal family
40 were members of foreign Royal families
200 members of Government, Parliament and Diplomatic Corps
80 guests from Prince William’s charities
60 Governors-General and Realm Prime Ministers
30 members of the Armed Forces

5 hours and 15 minutes between the first guests arriving at the Abbey and the RAF fly-past
4 minutes for Kate to walk down the aisle
2.7 metres length of the train
2-3mm spacing of stitches on each lace motif
30mins – to keep the lace pristine workers washed their hands every 30 minutes
3 hours – to keep the needles sharp they were renewed every 3 hours

5,500 road closure requests for street parties
2million sausage rolls sold by Marks & Spencer
120,000 royal wedding cupcakes sold by Morrisons
200,000 Union Jack napkins, plates and cups sold by Tesco
120 miles of bunting sold by Tesco
700 miles of bunting sold by all UK supermarkets – enough to wrap around Westminster Abbey 100 times

1 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI (1977)
1 State Landau (1902)
1 State Bentley
9 horses made up the Grey Escort
911 officers lined the route of the royal procession

650 guests at wedding luncheon
300 people attended the dinner at Buckingham Palace given by Prince Charles
10,000 canapes served at lunch reception
2 cakes – 1 fruit, 1 chocolate
1,700 biscuits used to make Prince William’s chocolate biscuit cake and 17 kilos of chocolate
17 different kinds of flower decoration on the traditional cake
900 sugar paste flowers on the traditional cake
21 chefs helped prepare the food

RAF fly-past was made up of
1 Lancaster
1 Hurricane
1 Spitfire
2 Typhoon’s
2 Tornado GR4’s
and:
2 crazy ex- South Africans amongst 1million spectators that lined the route.

royal wedding 2011, the royal wedding in numbers

having fun at a Royal Wedding

 
ooooops, nearly forgot the credits:
statistics via The Times 30th April 2011 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13248642 various sources

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royal wedding 2011, william and catherine

all the Queen's Horses and all the Queen's Men...photo courtesy of Stop and Think Photography http://stopandthinkphotography.wordpress.com

I had the great fortune last weekend to be a part of what was one of the most well-publicised and delightful weddings in many a year.

If I live to be 100+ I will never forget the fun, the excitement, the joy and the sheer exhuberance of the day and the people who shared it.

I learned a lot over those 2 days and this is a light-hearted look at some of the things I learned:

1) People still believe in fairytales – we love a good romance and the romance between a Prince and a Commoner still has the power to spellbind most of us!

2) Princess Diana is still dearly loved by millions of people – I heard hundreds of people speaking about her over the 2 days and many, many bloggers mention her in conjunction with their reporting of the day.

3)  You don’t have to be British to be a Royalist – thousands of people travelled from all over the world to share in the day and wish this lovely couple a bright and happy future.

4) The British know how to throw a good party – all over the country people put out the tables and the bunting, blew up the balloons, cooked up a storm, put on a good bash and put the beer industry into profit for the next decade!!!!

5)  The British are Top of the Pops when it comes to Pomp and Pageantry – the sight of those horsemen coming down The Mall, the sound of the horses hooves on the ground was overwhelming! The sheer power!

6)  There are thousands of people who truly love the young Princes – despite their priviledged upbringing and the illusion of freedom, many people are aware that they live in a gilded cage and still have their wellbeing at heart.

7)  We love that Kate is such a down-to-earth lass with no airs and graces – I loved the moment she stepped out her car at the Abbey and waved to the crowd, and then when she said ‘Wow’ as she stepped onto the Palace balcony and saw the crowds.

8)  I learned that people are prepared to endure the most uncomfortable of nights for a good place to view the proceedings.

9)  That people are essentially honest – we left our bags outside the tent all night and no-one touched them.

10) The Mall is very gritty and with thousands of people walking by the amount of dust generated could put the Sahara to shame!

11)  That it is easier to sleep on the ground when you are 16 years old than when you are 56!!! 🙂

12)  That people who are complete strangers are more than happy to share their worldly belongings and engage in conversation, even thought they don’t know you.

13) That even in this world of me, me, me……there are many generous people still around.

14) That the sun comes up real early at this time of the year and Buckingham Palace looks fabulous in the early morning light.

15) That I can survive without eating for longer than I thought 🙂

16)  That I can hang on without going to the loo for 14 hours!!

17)  That some people are very enterprising – the number of memento vendors I saw on The Mall the day before was entertaining!

18)  That people are not afraid to dress up in ridiculous outfits and make a spectacle of themselves – bravo to all of you!

19)  The words of ‘God Save the Queen’!

20)  That the British on the whole are MAD…. mad/ly patriotic that is –  there are many, many people in Britian who sang this lustily and with pride.

21)  That they sang the National Anthem with equal pride!

22) That the Policemen on duty carry lunchpacks in little brown paper bags. 

23)  That my camera doesn’t work too well when its clogged with dust!

24) That pop-up tents don’t pop-down as easily as they pop-up!

25) That after only 3 hours of sleep a cup of tea tastes like nectar.

26)  That despite only 3 hours of sleep from the night before, I was wide awake when the fun began.

27) I learned that I am truly grateful for my bed.

28)  That my daughter is a real gem; prepared to give up her home comforts to accommodate her Mother’s mad impulses and sleep on The Mall.

29)  That London is the best city in the world………but that I already knew! 🙂

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