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Published: December 8th 2013
The View of the Bridge
the morning of the Lord Mayor's Show
We know that we have been late with getting a blog update, but we have been busy as you will see from the photos. London is definitely a place that has activities going on all the time –the challenge is to figure how to fit it all in!
Since getting back from Malvern we have been able to listen to excellent music, make it to a few museums, catch up with cruising friends we had met early as well as make new friends here. We have been able to see the annual Lord Mayor Show which included seeing the Tower Bridge open. Saw a Christmas tree lighting at one of the many locations in town. Took advantage of a couple of talks being given on various places we want to cruise and planned a trip to Germany to see friends. Bob even decided to fit in getting a head cold and Janice worked at not getting a head cold–difficult tasks on a 40’boat, but fortunately she was successful.
One of the tasks we have is finding out what is going on in London and then deciding what to do. We (that means Janice) sorts through various brochures we find
The Gloriana, the Queen's Barge
is moored in our marina. It was given to the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee.
at the well-stocked visitors center, checks on events we hear about from fellow cruisers at our weekly coffee get together and of course finds info on the internet.
One of the museums we checked out was the British Museum. It is so comprehensive we knew we were going to need to visit more than once so we bought an annual plan for unlimited use of the audio tours. We have visited twice and only been through the Egyptian section. We had always heard of the Rosetta Stone but had a chance to see it from less than a foot away. For those of you who don’t remember the Rosetta Stone provided a key piece of information that enabled archaeologists to decipher hieroglyphics. The stone is in fact a 4’x 3’carved stone that details a proclamation generated by one of the pharaohs. What makes this so important was that it was written in both hieroglyphics and ancient Greek. Since ancient Greek was well-known by archaeologists it was a relatively easy matter to decipher the hieroglyphics and thus provide the understanding to read all other hieroglyphics. We found out that one night a Columbian dance/music group was performing in conjunction with
The Gloriana - The Queen's Barge
used by the Lord Mayor to travel down the Thames powered by 18 oarsmen.
the temporary exhibits on Columbian gold at the museum. We made a point of going and had a wonderful time– with most of the audience being from Columbia we got caught up in their enthusiasm and love for their native music.
Almost any day of the week you could find a concert of some sort and most are free. We made it to hear a wind quartet at St. Martin’s in the Field (Bob has music that had been recorded here –as he says it was interesting to find out it was actually a church & not a field!) Another day we had a chance to enjoy listening to 4 singers performing Wagner & Verdi pieces. The London Jazz Festival has been running every November since 1992. We took advantage of that and made it to a few of the venues to hear some great jazz from around the world. We saw everything from a wonderful singer named Kai Hoffman who hails from Cape Cod to a jazz group with an outstanding trumpeter from Finland. Cruisers (Mark & Jennifer) that we had first met in the Azores were in town and Janice met up with them. We went to
The Tower Bridge Opened
for the Gloriana and many other rowing boats on the day of the Lord Mayor's Show.
listen to a pianist playing Duke Ellington music (unfortunately Bob was sick so missed out on this).
As if we don’t have enough to do we became members of the Cruising Association which is based close by in Lime house Basin. They have lots of great information to share about various cruising areas and have an extensive library we can use as members. They also have talks once a week in the evenings which are informative –we attended two of these and look forward to checking out their schedule for the coming year as well.
We have found two couples that enjoy playing a game called Joker and they were willing to be patient & teach us the strategy of playing. We already have had a couple of fun evenings playing. Bob has been working with another cruiser with some electrical work helping them put in some new lights on their boat. Fortunately for us they invited us over for a lovely dinner as thanks. We are meeting such nice people here at the marina which has made our time here very pleasant. It is definitely not mandatory but most of us meet every Tuesday morning for coffee.
Rowing the Gloriana
joined by many other rowing boats for the celebration.
This a great time to catch up with each other as well as learn about happenings around town and ask questions about “where do we find a hardware store”or anything else that you might want to know. Fortunately there are quite a few that have over-wintered here before so they are a wealth of information.
There are so many museums that we would like to go to which we haven’t had the time for yet –we did pop in one day to the National Gallery –this is another one of those that needs more than a few hours. Fortunately the majority of these large museums are free so you can “pop in”as many times as you like so you don’t have to feel like you have to do it all in one day. The challenge is to find another day to come back to see more sections.
One of the highlights was being here for the annual Lord Mayor’s Show held on November 9th
. It consisted of a 3 mile long parade including 7,000 people, 250 horses and over 150 floats. It is a celebration of the new Lord Mayor taking office. The Lord Mayor travels in the
A Hardy Lot
The rain did not turn the crowds away from seeing the Lord Mayor's Show.
parade in a golden coach to the Royal Courts of Justice and to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The history of the position of Lord Mayor is a very long one with the first one being elected in the year 1189. In 1215 the Magna Carta confirmed the City’s right to elect the Lord Mayor as long as the Mayor is “shown”to the people –this was the start of the tradition of the Lord Mayor’s parade. In 1422 the Show took place on the Thames with actual “floats”. This traditional parade became such a major celebration each year with each being more spectacular than the last that in the 16th
century it took on the name of the Lord Mayor’s Show. If you wish to take in the show for yourself you can start planning your trip, in 1959 they fixed the date of the show for the second Saturday in November.
We could have watched it on television but decided that this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a part of something that was very British. We are glad we did, nobody does pomp and circumstance like the British! Unfortunately it rained like mad that day, but it didn’t stop
The London Bobby's
were working to make sure the crowds stayed back for the parade to pass.
the crowds staying where they were and seeing the parade through to the end. It was such a long parade that it took about an hour to pass by where you were standing. It was fun getting to see the crowds waving their British flags, holding their umbrellas and getting excited when the Lord Mayor passed by. There was a Boy Scout group standing near us and we had a chance to chat with one of the father’s and his son –another great encounter with those that live here. The current pageant master has been doing the job for over 20 years and he took over after his father died who did it for 22 years. The Lord Mayor’s Show is the largest unrehearsed procession in the world and is timed down to the second. With the closing of roads, securing of manhole covers, the laying down of sand on the streets for the comfort of the horses and synchronizing the marching bands, floats and guilds it is easy to see that it takes a year to put this together. Despite the heavy downpours during the event the procession proceeded with only a few small minor delays between the many
Gog & Magog
traditional guardians of the City of London made it in the parade.
groups that participated.
When the procession first started the Lord Mayor traveled to Westminster by float on the Thames, then later changed to horse drawn coach. The Lord Mayor’s coach was built in 1757 and is the one that is still in use today. This coach costs more and is older than the one used for coronations. When not used on the day of the Show it is on display at the London Museum.
The National Archives sponsored a talk titled “Burlesque!, Artistic, Rowdy and Raucous”so of course we put that on our list of ones to attend. It explained the culture at the time that Burlesque became popular and how the local population felt about it. What was surprising was that the London County Council monitored all types of entertainment which included music halls, plays, and film from 1889 to 1969. A playwright had to submit to the council for review and final approval before a play could be performed. Fortunately the council notes held in the National Archives were very detailed quoting from the play and then giving the councils recommended changes. As a result we can learn what the playwrights were writing even if in
A Very Serious Look
on the young one playing the cymbals in this band.
fact it never saw the light of day. This was done with all entertainment including stand-up comedians with the archived documents including the jokes that were not approved!
We have been trying hard to take advantage of all that is offered here in London- only problem is we would need to be here for quite a few years to accomplish that. We will do our best and keep you posted on what we see and do!
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