Posts Tagged ‘Westminster Abbey’

ben & jerry's ice-cream leicester square free cone day april 12

my chocloate extravaganza at Ben & Jerry's free cone day

How many ice-cream cones could you eat in one hour? Today I got the opportunity to test this out…..and my score = 4!!! Yup! That’s right, 4 ice-cream cones at Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day.
“The Ben & Jerry’s tradition of saying thank you to loyal customers with free ice-cream is as old as Ben & Jerry’s itself. Back in 1979, after 1 year in business, they decided to give away free ice-cream to the loyal customers that made it all possible, and have been doing it ever since.”
Never in my life have I heard of anything more sensible than giving away free ice-cream. My good friend Andrew brought this event to my attention on Sunday, thinking that I could tweet about it for 3DaysInLondon, which I duly did. I was disappointed that this give-away was to be on Tuesday, which is not a day I am normally free (excuse the pun). ūüôā

Andrew & Vanessa eating Ben & Jerry's ice-cream

However, the Universe works in strange ways and due to an administrative error by someone else I was able to swop my Monday afternoon off to Tuesday!!! Hooray!! So with no further ado, I set off to kill two birds with one stone. I had been wanting to traipse around London again to take photos of the 2012 Olympic Clock and the April 29th Royal Wedding preparations for my 3days blog, and today proved to be the perfect time for it.
We woke to a fabulous day, bright sunshine, puffy white clouds and¬†with a hint of¬†chilly breeze….just perfect for my escapade.

a fabulous spring day in London ūüôā

I set off at 2.45pm and headed straight for Charing Cross. First stop to take another photo of the 2012 Olympic Clock in Trafalgar Square

2012 olympic clock trafalgar square

the 2012 Olympic Clock in Trafalgar square

and then at a fast pace I headed off across the city to Westminster Abbey….the venue for the Royal Wedding of the decade.
Along the way I stopped off at Westminster Gardens to take a few photos and ended up on my back like a beetle with my legs and arms akimbo. Lesson 1 when taking photos: look behind you when walking backwards in case there is an obstacle that you could fall over!!! hahaha. Fortunately this is something I do fairly frequently so it is no longer an embarressment!

royal wedding of william and kate westminster abbey

the north side of Westminster Abbey, the wedding venue for Prince William and Catherine (Kate) Middleton

At the Abbey I made the most of the crowd-free grounds and took some more intimate photos of the decorative carvings, gargoyles and sculptures that adorn this magnificent building. Across the road the organisers of the wedding are busy setting up stands for the press corps…..damn, I wish I was a Press person!

royal wedding william and kate

setting up the stands for the Press Photographers

¬†Then at a quick pace I made my way to Buckingham Palace via St James’s Park which is looking just fabulous with the spring flowers now in full bloom in the gardens laid out by John Nash. The Swire Fountain was in working order and the waters splashed with joyful abandon. London in spring is exhuberant with all colours of the rainbow and more, light breezes, summery sunshine, April showers, and hundreds of people very sensibly making the most of it.

st james park swire fountain royal wedding

the Swire Fountain in St James's Park

Besides that, London was strangely empty of traffic this afternoon, not sure why, but it was great being able to just cross over the roads at will. It got a bit busier as the afternoon wore on. At Buckingham Palace the signs of a Royal event were evident: the flags are being raised along the Mall, Green park has a huge area closed off, the Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain is closed off, and parts of the Memorial Gardens are also closed off.

royal wedding preparations

Memorial Gardens in front of Buckingham Palace - closed off in preparation for the Royal Wedding

¬†Then at a fast march I charged along The Mall and on to Leicester Square where I met up with Andrew and Vanessa and joined the queue at Ben & Jerry’s.

the queue at Ben & Jerry's free cone day in Leicester Square

My first choice: Chocolate Fudge Brownie, a burst of flavour that set my taste-buds a tingle; hard to describe the sensation as the overload of chocolate exploded in my mouth. We strolled around the perimeter of Leicester Square chatting and slurping the fast melting ice-cream and re-joined the queue on the other side of the square where I had the Cherry Garcia: cherry ice-cream with cherries and dark chocolatey chunks, (heaven on a cone). Once again we set off round the perimeter till the cones were depleted and re-joined the queue. This cone I chose: Phish Food; a delectable mix of chocolate ice-cream with marshmallow, caramel & chocolatey shaped fish. I never found any fish but the ice-cream was delicious. We set off once again, and by the time we arrived back we were ready for what would be the last for the day (this dear reader, is only coz I had run out of time). My next choice was the Strawberry Cheesecake: a tantalising mix of strawberry cheesecake ice-cream with strawberries and cookie swirls. Delectable. And that was me; replete. I was totally ice-creamed out, and now I will need size 18 trousers!!! ūüôā heehee.

By now it was time to head on down into the underground to face the crush of the homeward-bound commuters. As it turned out, it wasn’t that busy and I manged to secure a seat till my destination and thence to home.
What a great afternoon; right up my alley: a walk round London, sunshine and ice-cream. What more could a girl want?
Footnote: alongside the free ice-cream give-away B&J’s have partnered with a few charities and there were people with buckets collecting for Great Ormond Street Hospital and NSPCC (those are the two that I donated to). I surely hope that people were generous and contributed to these worthy charities.
p.s.I am now a dedicated fan of Ben & Jerry’s Ice-Cream.
p.s.s. B&J’s are committed to being 100% FAIRTRADE by end 2011. Excellent.

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I very sensibly put in for a few days of leave over New Year determined not to work again….for the first time in years.¬† Leaving Highgate on Thursday I made my way over to Twickenham, looking forward to spending a few days with my girl.¬† The evening was very¬†therapeutic for both of us; we covered some tricky issues and managed to discuss some painful subjects and without realising it, I made a comment that suddenly gave her a completely different perspective on her current situation and opened a new door, completely inspiring her!

Friday I decided to make the most of my London Pass;

my London Pass

¬†the intention was to visit places I had on my list and try to see as many as possible…. a quick pop in and pop out visit and gather material for the 3 Days in London blog.¬† I managed to persuade her to come into town with me and we stopped off at Waterloo station for Starbucks (of course) and a chat. We then parted ways….she to Tottenham Court Road to do some shopping (part of her Xmas present I promised was a DVD player), and me to one of my favourite places in the world…. Westminster.¬† I had a list of 4/5 places to visit.

I walked past Big Ben

Big Ben - 11 hours and 17 minutes till 2011

¬†stopping only to take a few photos and then made my way¬†to the Jewel Tower opposite the Sovereign’s Gate at Westminster Palace. I had been passed the tower but never yet visited…and it is great. The remains of what¬†was part¬†of the wall of the Westminster Palace complex.¬† It’s a really interesting place to¬†visit and there are some great items on display, amongst which were remains of original 14th Century¬†wooden foundations, removed when the building was underpinned in 1955.

14th century wooden foundations

There is a fab view of the Sovereign’s Gate from the 1st & 2nd levels.

view of the Sovereign's Gate

The stairs, ceilings and walls are original;¬†it’s really weird to walk on stairs where Kings and Queens once trod.

the Kings Privy Tower

From there I walked towards St James’s park via the grounds of Westminster Abbey. I had intended visiting but the queues were too long and I did not have time to waste, so made my to the Churchill War Museum; a place I had so wanted to visit in the past but never had the time.¬† It was awesome. I was allowed to take photos inside and made a few videos too.¬† The bunkers are set out exactly they way they were during WW2 and are quite simply awesome!!

The War Cabinet Room has been laid to show exactly how it would have looked on Tuesday 15th October 1940 at 5pm, shortly before the meeting of the War Cabinet

There is a recording of Churchill’s speeches as well as others and on one you can hear an air-raid siren.¬† Brilliant.

Then I went back to Westminster Abbey and finally the queues were short enough to join. I am so glad I went!¬† I have visited the Abbey before, a few years ago and had quite forgotten how¬†incredible it is inside.¬† The Abbey is so beautifully designed and filled with the most amazing memorials and tombs, and¬†intricate carvings that defy belief.¬† I was totally entranced and enjoyed a very happy 2 hours wandering about, visiting the various tombs, the Shrine of Edward the Confessor, Henry VII’s Lady Chapel, Poet’s Corner, Chapter House, Pyx¬†Chamber

Pyx Chamber

and the Cloisters.  The High altar is magnificent and the ceiling in the Lady Chapel is breath takingly beautiful. The Coronation Chair is currently being restored and situated in a glass room near the Great West Door.

Great West Door

Afterwards I made my way back to the river via Big Ben and walked along Victoria Embankment, intending to find a suitable spot to stand and wait for the London Eye fireworks

31.12.2010 - London Eye at 4.30pm

….except that¬†I suddenly didn’t feel like standing for what would at that stage be 8 hours!!! So instead I went up Charing Cross to the South African shop to buy some eats, then along to Trafalgar Square to see the Norwegian tree that they send over each year at Christmas

the Norwegian Spruce Tree at Trafalgar Square - sent over each year at Christmas as a gift from the Norwegians

 and then back to Embankment and onto the tube to Richmond and home.

We sat on the couch listening to music, chatting to my sister & her hubbie¬†in SA¬†via skype and then saw in the New Year and watched the fireworks on TV! Exactly what I had said I did not want to do…..see the fireworks on TV, but I was with the most important person in the world to me and we had a fab evening.¬† A few hours later we finally crawled into bed, eyes heavy and ready to sleep, already well into 2011!

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I went into town (London) yesterday for a meet up with my daughter for a business¬†‘Power Hour’. I am having a bit of difficulty with the business plan for 3 Days in London,¬†so went along to get things in order.¬† She is a genius at unravelling stuff and by the end of the session I felt like finally we had a workable direction….

After the meeting I decided to take a walk along the SouthBank to see the German Market and check out the ice-rink at the London Eye.¬† First though I walked across the Thames via Hungerford Bridge….the view is so fabulous that I can seldom resist if I am in the area.

view of St Paul's from Hungerford Bridge

Then at a quick trot along the embankment…..it was freezing, I whizzed past the stalls absorbing the heavenly smells that whafted through the air.¬† The stalls looked cosy and gay; decorated with lights and tinsel and baubles.¬†There are¬†a number of stalls giving you an array of choices that tempt your tastebuds: crepes, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, fudge and chocolate.

german market southbank london

fancy a Crepe (pancake)? go wild and have one with nutella and cream ūüôā

There is a gaily painted carousel, the horses dizzily whirling by; a blur of colour and light and sound, the snow a fitting background.

carousel on south bank

gaily painted horses whirling by at a dizzy pace

From there I walked up to the ice-rink in front of the London Eye and watched the skaters whizzing around; thrills and spills! Looked like great fun.

london eye ice rink

thrills and spills on the London Eye ice-rink

By this stage my camera didn’t want to work, it was so cold it felt like I had lost life in my hands;¬†I had no feeling and my face felt like it was going to fall off!

snow in london 2010

view of Big Ben from South bank

The lamp-posts, walls and sculptures were all covered with snow and looked incredibly pretty.  As the light waned it got colder and colder, so at a quickening pace I walked along to Westminster Bridge and back over the river to Big Ben, Westminster Palace

christmas tree at big ben london

Big Ben at 4pm. the Christmas tree in the forecourt is very pretty

and Westminster Abbey.  The Christmas Tree in front of the Parliamentary buildings looks gorgeous and I watched the clock strike 4pm. Then a quick walk over the the Abbey for a photo or two.

westminster abbey london

Westminster Abbey looking ethereal in the diming light

Then it was back onto the tube and home.¬† It was a delight to step into the house that although cold at the best of times, is a whole heck of a lot warmer than outdoors.¬†¬† It took me about¬†10 minutes to defrost and a lovely cup of tea helped warm me¬†up ūüôā

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Something arbitrary:

If there is one date that nearly everyone in England knows, it is 1066 when the Normas invaded England.   William the Conqueror became King when he invaded the country after Edward the Confessor died.

Edward was King of England but he wasn’t like most rulers of the time; he was a peace-loving man of God who put all of his energies into building churches.¬†¬† His most famous church was Westminster Abbey.

It was built on marshy land by the River Thames in London, and it was Edward’s chief delight to watch the building grow.¬†¬† When he died he was buried in his new church – as lots of kings and queens and famous people have been in the centuries which followed.

Lots of rulers have nick-names: Edward 1 was the Hammer of the Scots; Richard 1 was the Lion-Heart; all very warlike.   But Edward was called the Confessor because of the way he lived his life witnessing to his belief in Christ.

So each year on 13th October we remember the King who was a saint.

Nicknames or not?

All of these are nicknames of real rulers from the past:

Charles the Bald; Eric Bloodaxe; Ivailo the Cabbage; Boleslaw the Curly; Pippin the Short; Niall of the Nine Hostages; Ragnar Hairy Britches; Louis the Stammerer and there was a Viking king of Dublin called Glun the Iron Knee – but I don’t think he was into recycling!

sourced from Coleman’s Hatch cronicle for October.

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