What return-to-college experience would be complete without a good road trip?
Last weekend we headed to London. Catching the 9:00 a.m. train to Paddington Station and then the Underground to Westminster, we started our Friday with a visit to CARE to observe how faith might be played out in the political and/or legislative process. The Christian Action Research and Education is a non-profit that seeks to bring a Christian perspective to public policy. Our next stop was at the Halls of Parliament – first, the most expensive office building, at least at the time, in London for a meeting with Christian in Parliament – an “All Party Parliamentary Group”. Then we were escorted into the Parliament building that houses the House of Lords and House of Commons for a meeting with Baroness Cox — more on that in the next post (POST – “I Can’t Do Nothing”).
After a busy, but beautiful day in the Westminster area of London, I found my way to a basic Hilton hotel for the night. The following morning I was greeted by still magnificent weather, so I headed out for an early morning run around the town, followed by a long walk exploring other parts. I ran by Covenant Garden and Leicester Square and then headed over to see the Churchill War Rooms, from where the Prime Minister conducted much of WWII. On my way I started to see a lot of people out and an especially large contingent of bobbies. Barricades lined The Mall (a broad street connecting Quarters for the Honor Guards to Buckingham Palace. Curious, I finally asked one of the constables, who very politely explained that it was the Queen’s birthday and that there would be a procession with the Queen later that morning. Really! Matson luck again. Me and the Queen, and tens of thousands of her loyal subjects. Then I learned that she would probably not be coming by for another two hours. Now I’m not particularly known as the most patient guy, despite some marked improvement over the last two years, but standing there for two hours just to catch a glimpse – I wasn’t sure. So I kept heading for the Churchill War Rooms, figuring that I could come out at the last minute and still see the Queen – I figured it wasn’t worth a two-hour wait to be in the second row as opposed to the sixth row. I’m tall enough, I thought I would be able to see enough. So, here’s some views of what is formally called The Trooping of the Colours.
After my short visit with the Queen (there was quite a ticketed event where the privileged families – dressed to kill – watched synchronized matching, horse and carriages, a 41-gun salute, and other choreographed activities of the Honor Guards). For some reason, my ticket never showed up.
After the Trooping I headed past St James Palace, through Piccadilly Circus, and up to Hyde Park. Another lunch of fish & chips and I was off to the British Musuem to catch-up with some of my classmates. It rained while we were in the museum, but the clouds were clearing as we exited and we headed to dinner for some (cooked) Japanese food. We completed the evening by seeing A Chorus Line in the West End (the Broadway of London). Whew!