I never understood this silliness - what would one of these toy soldiers do if some Arab women had a plastic explosive breast implant - stick it with his bayonet? They guard the queen. The bear skin hats come from Canada. Tradition run amuck. Kodak used to love it.
The weekend was busy here - lots of tourists in town. Sunday - it rained off and on all day. It would be bright sunny - then rain- then bright sunny - you get the idea.
Our day started out with a bus tour around town. Dan and Ann came along with Lulu's class. We had an excellent guide - we toured Buckingham Palace changing of the guards - St Pauls Cathedral - life along the Thames - and the usual highlights. Our guide had tons of humorous stories about the royalty.
I still do not get all this kings and queens stuff. I love the Brits - they sound so civilized - are very friendly - and seems so proper. But then they start in on all this royalty stuff - and fall all apart. At one time they ruled the world - the sun never set on the empire - but now it is so much living in the past. Lots of money is spent on this royalty stuff - now they seem to justify it for the tourists. I wonder if anyone would come here if they didn't have all these palaces and graves to gawk at. I write this freely - because they do not seem to have an ounce of reprisal in their bodies.
I was able to land a pair of front row tickets for Dan and Ann Novey to see Billy Elliot on Saturday night - the musical. It is my favorite "Broadway Show" and they were not disappointed. Lulu took her class too - but they were up in the balcony. On the day of the Billy Elliot show - they sell a very limited number of front row seats for the discount price of 27 pounds. There were only 8 available and I was able to land the last two. It sets up a funny situation. You have people in row one paying 27 pounds and people in the second row right behind them paying 150 pounds ($225) per seat. I just love the reaction on their faces (schadenfreude) when I tell the husbands behind me I only paid 27 pounds!
Now it is Monday morning. Everyone is gone. Lulu has her class somewhere. Dan and Ann left a note that they went to Tower of London and St Paul Cathedral. Suzanne and Margie (our other guests) left a note saying they went to Westminster Abbey and Tussaud's Wax Museum. I have the apartment alone - or at least part of the time. I was in bed at 9:30 - and there was a light knock on my door. The maid said something - I grunted. She came into the room and proceeded to clean around me! I felt like that French guy naked with the sheet pulled over my head. I do not even know what the maid looked like - but if she grabbed my underwear - my DNA might be in The Daily Mirror over here as I type. One thing comforting to us white trash is that all the maids here are citizens and white. After they left - I quickly ran upstairs to make sure all my money - cameras - computers - and other toys - were still laid out on the fireplace mantle. They were - and I started typing this story.
The big news is that we landed a neat side trip for Dan and Ann. We found a package on Expedia - they are going to Paris for Tuesday/Wednesday. They will take the chunnel train - leave here 5 AM. The cost was rather high but at the last minute - they were happy to pay the 250 pounds ($375) each for the package. Ann said she may never see Paris again - so it was a bargain. Dan better watch out for the maids over there :-)
Now - after I get dressed from my maid visit - I am going to a Vespa scooter dealer. They sell a hybrid Vespa scooter over here. It is not cheap - 8000 pounds - but it runs on gasoline and electricity - and both at once. When in the power mode - it can go 0-60 in 5 seconds - faster than many Porsches - but yet it gets 140 MPG. Supposedly it can go 20 miles strictly on electricity - then you can either plug it in or use the gas engine to charge the battery while you drive.
This pretty lady is Queen Anne. She looks like Marilyn Monroe here - but in real life she was 4 feet 8 inches and weighed 300 pounds. She had 11 kids and only 3 made it into childhood. She supposed like gin - and her statue faces the liquor store. I looked and she was really facing the cafeteria :-) That is St Pauls Cathedral behind her.
This is Lulu's class and their guide - Lulu is on the left. In the background is a footbridge crossing the Thames River.
Students love to go to FSU's London Campus because in England you still can drink at age 18. Since Lulu's class is the only graduate class over here - all of these students are 22 or better. Our favorite pub is Marlborough Arms - and first night in town - Lulu takes them there for supper. Many like it so much that they return many times. FSU picks up the tab - I paid for mine. A bartender tried to throw me out - he was convinced that I was not in this group of 20 pretty ladies.
Lulu and I look forward to this month every year. We get out of the hottest and humidest month of the year in Tallahassee - we get to travel for virtually nothing - we see new things - have a great apartment (right downtown in Times Square) - don't have to do house work or cook - we see tons of great shows - and Lulu gets a kick out of teaching her multi-media students in a fantastic environment. My plane ticket was paid for with frequent flyer miles. Drew found a credit card for me that awarded me 150,000 FF miles - enough for this trip and a trip to Brazil in the fall. I may get my chin lifted and belly tucked on that trip.