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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Buckingham Palace Back Yard

On Monday, Sept. 22nd, as a late birthday present to myself, I toured the State Apartments and back yard. (Okay, the English would say "garden" but I didn't really see any flowers out there save a few that were growing by accident.)  This tour is only open during late summer months when the Queen is off in Scotland and not camping out over her office weekdays during the rest of the year.

On the way over there I passed by the entrances to the  Royal Mews, and the Queen's Picture Gallery, which can be seen almost year round.

Here is a picture I took of the entrance to the Mews.  Years ago my mom and I toured them.  The Picture Gallery is separate from the one you see in the State Apartments.  The coaches and carriage horses are kept in there, and also, you can see some of the saddles, etc. the queen used when she was a child.

Almost directly across from the Mews entrance, is a shop which sells souvenirs of china and all manner of things, including these corgis.  Yes, you can shop on line.

They won't let you take pictures inside Buckingham Palace, due to security reasons, however, you may see a few of the 19 state rooms on this page.  Included in the price of the ticket is an audio guide.  For just a few pounds extra, there is also a guide book which includes all the state rooms you see.  This year there was a special exhibit on "Royal Childhood."  It features toys, clothing, and other object (including a mini-Austin Martin, made for Prince Andrew) that the royal children wore or used.  Some of the items were from as far back as those used by Queen Victoria's children, and some were from the present day - including the sailor suit the then 4 year old Prince William wore on his uncle Andrew's wedding day.  There's a little movie shown of the Queen when she was a little girl, after the little "Wendy house" was installed at Windsor.  The royal great-grandchildren still use it to play in.  The special exhibit changes every year.

Once you go through the palace, you may go out into the "garden."   This is the back of Buckingham palace.

This is the back of Buckingham palace. The white "tents" are temporary to house a cafe.  At far left just below the trees you can make out the glass roof of the palace swimming pool.  The curved room center badk is the music room, and the room to our left of it is the fabulous white drawing room.  The Queen's more "private area" is on the far left side of the palace, i.e. the north side.  You can see the White drawing room if you look at the above link.

The cafe has a lot of nice desserts, sandwiches and other goodies.  Here's a look at one of the desserts.

 **Food porn alert **

 ** End food porn alert **

There's a nice walk way around the perimeter of the garden, and a huge pond. According to Marion Crawford, shortly after Queen Elizabeth's father became King and they moved into the palace, the then 10 year old Elizabeth got a little too close to the water's edge and fell in.  Quite a number of the trees are labeled with a small tag to tell you what sort of tree it is.

The Queen's garden is close to 40 acres.  Given there is a lot of nice well trimmed green grass plus the pond it's not surprising there are some animals who've found a home.  I spotted some geese... 

...along with a heron.

Here's another view of part of the pond.  In the upper right corner, you can see the swimming pool in full.

You don't get to walk around the whole garden, so I thought it might be useful to use google earth to show the grounds from above.  You can see a tennis court in the upper left hand corner.  Staff are allowed to book it.  If you search for 7 Buckingham Palace Road, London, you should be able to pull up the same results I did.  The little blue "dots" are markers for where people took pictures, so you should be able to click on them for other views.  I notice in this shot, the area immediately behind the palace seems to be denuded, so I assume they were going through re-seeding the lawn, which was golf course like plush when I visited.  The area to the  left of the denuded area is, I believe, marquees set up for garden parties.  So I expect this satellite view was taken just before or after garden party season was over but before the marquees were put up or taken down. 

If you have bum knees or other "issues" don't worry. There are plenty of benches and other places to sit inside the palace, as well as outside.  When you book your ticket, let them know if you need disabled access, then can also provide a lightweight folding seat.  I took advantage of this, but only needed the folding chair a few times, when I wanted to camp someplace a little longer in one of the "smaller" rooms which didn't have as much seating.  

I was able to use the lifts when needed.  My knees survived very well, and I came away unscathed in that respect.  If you use disabled access, you also get to use the inside restroom afterwards when you come down the lift at the end.  The thing was huge.   There are also "loos" once you get outside.

When you leave, you can have the back of the ticket stamped and you may return as often as you like without paying again.  Your pass is good for a year.  It's like that at other royal places too at Windsor Castle, for instance.  Separate charge for that, but again, the pass is good for a year if you get it stamped.  BUT anytime you wish, other than a few days of the year, you may go see Vespers in St. George's chapel at Windsor at no charge. Just line up at the bottom gate shortly before the service.  You should be able to easily get a seat in the choir during the winter months.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Out and About: Animal War Memorial-Reagan Memorial-Tyburn Convent

This past July 4th, I was out and about.  I had decided to go see the Reagan memorial, as well as the Tyburn Convent.  Between those two points in the fairly wide median strip in Park Lane (the road that runs along the right hand side of Hyde Park) there is a wonderful and touching Animal War Memorial.  Most visitors to London know of the Cenotaph, where a wreath to honor the fallen is laid by the Queen or her representative each November 11th.    But many visitors are unaware of the Animal War Memorial - it's a nice tribute to various animals that have also served, dogs, donkeys etc. Apparently in WWI alone some 8 MILLION horses, donkeys, mules had died in service, along with some 100,000 carrier pigeons.   Endearingly, poppy wreaths are also laid there.     This memorial is just south of the Marble Arch, and the Speaker's Corner on Brook Gate, the most northern place to cross on the Park Lane median.

Somewhat irritatingly, it's only marked on my small A-Z Visitors' Atlas & Guide.   Quite easy to miss if you just have a regular sized A-Z, because it's not showing on either the standard A-Z or the wire bound more detailed mini-pocket A-Z that most London residents have.

The memorial runs for the width of the median.

Not far from the War Memorial is the US embassy on the west side of Grosvenor Square.    On the SW corner of the square stands the relatively new Reagan Memorial.

Sadly, some pinhead spray painted some green crap at the base of the statue.  There is also a nice bronze plaque and encased bit of the Berlin wall nearby. The plaque has a lot of nice quotes from people regards the freedom garnered by Reagan's bold moves of not accepting the status quo.  Thatcher, John Paul II, Lech Walesa are quoted praising Reagan for his championing and actively working for the freedom of Eastern Europe.  This is just a small portion of that plaque.    You can see a bit of the concrete wall.

For anyone clueless about Reagan's contribution to freeing millions from the yoke of Communist oppression in Eastern Europe, read this excellent Time Magazine article how Reagan, with the collaboration of the Vatican, achieved this goal.

About 150-200 yards west of Marble Arch, along Bayswater Road,  is the Tyburn Convent.  The nuns there are dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration.  Very near the spot was the Tyburn Gallows.  Some 105 Catholic Martyrs were executed there for their defense of the faith.   You may see an exhibit of the relics on the 1st Sunday of each month in the afternoon, and get a lecture on the history of the covent and also of the martyrs .  A sister is available for guided tours of the shrine daily at 10:30, 3:30 and 5:30.

If you're in the area, these places are worth a look, and all within easy walking distance of each other.

Tara Evans is blogging again

Tara has a new called God sees the heart.  Tara lives in Utah, and blogs about God and dogs and food and lovely things and prayers."   Go and see her latest post about her retreat stay at Mt. Angel Abbey.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

For Viterbo -- I did answer but Fr. Blake Disappeared it.....Re: Veils and Muzzies

Vit: The burqa crowd drives me nuts. I "go off" on them elsewhere! As for the veil thing -- It's a generational thing. I can't stand the thought of them for *me* because a) if you were required to stick a **** Kleenex on your head if you didn't have one when you went to catholic school mass, it made you feel like a perfect jack@$$ and you know **** well the boys wouldn't have been subjected to something that stupid and humiliating - but you had to just because you were a girl and b) Paul didn't have some lace frippery in mind, more like a burlap sack c) I can prove from the rubrics of the solemn high mass the clergy know it's tripe too. because 1) if you buy into Paul saying what he did about women covering their heads then you'd have to buy into what he said about men uncovering THEIR it wasn't manly for them to cover blah, blah. given that logic you have to look at the priests sitting their with their birettas on their head during the creed/gloria. You could argue, well, they're sitting there thinking about lunch, not praying wanting to be manly and buying into what Paul said. but then what happens? 3) the priest lifts the biretta at the mention of the Holy name, which means he **** well WAS listening and praying which would seem to indicate 4) Paul was full of it when speaking of this issue. and 5) they know it and 6) why gullible females buy into it is anyone's guess. And 7) I'm not having it.
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