Thurs 3/3: Ethan arrived from Utah.
Friday 3/4: Here we are on the plane ready to start our 6 1/2 hour trip.
Saturday 5 March 2011: Arrival in London at the Allen House. You can see Ethan waving in one of the topmost four windows.
Here we are in London after a nap and sorting ourselves away with the flat, etc. Saturday 3/5: We ride in the top of a doubledecker bus. This is one of the "Routemasters," an older bus they keep running for historical purposes.
We saw these cakes on display as we passed by... wow!
Our Routemaster bus, route 9.
The London Eye near Westminster Bridge.
We listened to Big Ben chime 1 PM, a magical sound.
An interesting shot of the London Eye.
Ethan was not terribly impressed with the skate park on the Thames Embankment.
A shot of St. Paul's seen through the trees at Tate Modern.
At Trafalgar Square - the National Gallery. We visited the Portrait Gallery next door.
In Trafalgar Square. A Million Women Rise - To Make Me Dinner!
Yeah, we're here. Check out the daffodils!
London has really cool heraldic insignia. This was on the Tower Bridge.
On the Millennium Bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral.
A must-have photo-op.
We walked around the Tower of London; we'll visit later this week.
I'm pointing out something or another.
I saw a scene in a movie taken from this precise spot, Boudicca statue in the foreground, Big Ben in the distance...
Some street art seen across from the Parliament Building protesting war.
In the Underground.
My Churchillian facial expression.
10 Downing Street is well guarded. From TV you'd think you could walk right up to it. No, you can't.
Congestion at Piccadilly Circus.
Sunday 6 March - we began with a visit to the Tower of London. Outside by the Roman Wall near the Tower.
Roman London Wall plaque.
Sunday 6 March - we spent five hours in the Tower of London... it was very cool. Ethan and a Yeoman Warder ("Beefeater").
This fellow is the Yeoman Warder who talked to us; he was the best of the three I've heard so far. Very animated.
Stupid and inappropriate display of armor in the White Tower. The background changed colors. It looked like a nightclub. Boo, hiss.
More of the ridiculous display within the White Tower. The Beefeater encouraged me to write a letter of complaint. (They hate this display as well.) I think I will.
Update: I did. http://wesclark.com/temp/tower_letter.html
Ethan and a very big sword.
The Norman Chapel within the White Tower.
Henry VI's (restored) chapel.
Poor Henry VI. The founder of Eton College was supposedly beaten to death here.
Henry VI chapel plaque.
Plaque under the staircase describing where the bones of the princes in the Tower was found.
Wooden horse display.
A board game within Edward I's Royal Palace above the Traitor's Gate.
A restroom in the Tower of London won "Loo of the Year!"
Tower Raven. Note clipped wings. The story is that England is safe as long as there are ravens in the Tower. With clipped wings, they aren't going anywhere.
Ethan and the White Tower.
A prisoner's hand seen in a chamber.
Store window display... this is supposed to be King Arthur. Looks like Joan of Arc.
After we left the Tower we stopped to get treats at a KFC. If you see these "malts/shakes" in the U.S., don't bother. They taste like they were blended out of water with bits of malted milk balls therein.
Later on Sunday we went to Tate Modern since it had a 6 PM closing time. (A lot of my logistical decisions are based on closing times.) Cool shot of Millennial Bridge seen from Tate Modern. In fact, this was by far the best thing I saw within the premises.
I maintain that most avant-garde modern art works better as a background for photographic portraits than as art. In Tate Modern.
Eros in Piccadilly Circus.
With the Thames at low tide, Ethan and I went out to look for clay pipe fragments. We didn't find any. Found lots of plastic trash, however.
These annoying Eastern European women kept blocking our way to things in the Tower... and they showed up in a store in Piccadilly Circus.
If you stay out late enough, this is what you see along HIgh Street, Kensington: the trash.
Monday 7 March was really awesome. We took the tube (this photo - we were halted for about 30 minutes!) to Battersea Power Station for a photo-op, did Tate Britain, took the Tate Boat up the Thames to Tate Modern and crossed the Millennial bridge to the area in front of the Royal Exchange, where we ate a Pret a Manger lunch, visited the Bank of England Museum, then visited St. Paul's, climbed the dome, checked out the cathedral and the crypt, and finished the day by checking out the Blitz Experience and the 1940's House at the Imperial War College. Even by my usual standards for effective tourism logistics, today stood out!
World's smallest Mercedes-Benz, seen on the way to Battersea.
The Battersea Power Station as seen on the 1977 Pink Floyd Lp "Animals." Ethan wants his picture taken with this in the background. It figures. We fly 3,675 miles across the Atlantic to the home of magnificent museums, impressive castles, mansions and cultural attractions and my kid wants to replicate an album cover. :)
Well, we took the tube to Pimlico and found this iconic building. Happy Ethan.
I often take photos of the odd signs I see in London. "Avoiding steps?"
In Tate Britain... our images were also upside down. You can see a filming going on behind us.
Reach for modern art. Tate Britain.
This guy - an art lover, presumably - was walking around Tate Britain looking at art. He was connected to a computer monitoring his heart rate and being filmed all the while. An odd thing.
As during the last trip to London in 2009, I found another painting used on the Lp cover of a Vaughan-Williams symphony.
One of Francis Bacon's disturbing works seen at Tate Britain.
There can be only one flippant two word caption for this work of art, and Ethan and I came up with it at the same time.
Sheep sealed in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst, an artist Ethan is learning about at school...
Uncle Joe Stalin, everyone's pal.
The Palace of Parliament, seen from the Tate Boat.
On the Tate Boat, past Westminster Bridge.
By the way, the day was sunny. A first for me in London. It was quite nice out... a cracking day for a river trip!
Construction on the Blackfriars' Bridge.
Millennial Bridge, St. Paul's.
Here's where we ate our lunch, in the financial heart of London in front of the Royal Exchange in The City.
The interior of the Exchange building, now a swanky mall.
Plaque about the RE.
Travel across the Atlantic and you'll still encounter Springfield.
Seen in a store window near St. Paul's. This fashionable shirt is only possible because Confederate flags don't have the same connotations in the U.K. as in the U.S.
St. Paul's Dome. We went to the stone walkway and also to the top, the "golden" walkway.
Hanging out of the stone columns to get a shot with the point-and-shoot.
Again with the head out of the columns...
Sometimes the steps got REALLY cramped!
It was a mighty haul up the steps...
Hahahaha! Graffiti all around the walkway... terrible.
What an incredible view...
Here we are atop St. Paul's. What a view! Wesley's Tourist Tip: Forget about the BA Eye, go atop St. Paul's instead (if the "golden" walkway is open). Much better view and less expensive, too. And you can stay as long as you want.
Ethan's own photo.
View of London atop St. Paul's "golden" walkway.
The bookend of the photo I took from the Tate Modern of St. Paul's.
View of 10 Downing Street while aboard the top of a double-decker bus.
Interior of Imperial War Museum. An amazing collection. Best war museum, ever.
A photo for my pal Mike who collects WWII uniforms. The Imperial War Museum is incredible!
Hahaha! There's a photo of his grandfather doing exactly the same thing! And, by the way, this is the actual bronze eagle atop the Reichschancellery. It has bullet holes in it from the Battle of Berlin!
Ethan jumped the barrier into the living room of the 1940's House. (AMERICANS.)
The view we saw leaving the War Museum from atop a double-decker bus... the way to see London.
We had Cornish Pasties for dinner. Here's how they're made. In Cornwall! End of day, a splendid day out!
Harrods at night courtesy of Ethan's iPhone and its high dynamic range (HDR) camera. This thing takes good photos!
Tuesday 8 March 2011: Ever since I was a teenager I've wanted to visit the battlefield site of the battle of Hastings (1066), where William the Norman fought Harold the Saxon for the English crown. So Ethan and I took National Rail 60 miles south to Sussex, the little town of Battle, where Battle Abbey is located on the site. What's the first thing we see in town? This lout in what looks like a Welsh rugby shirt....
Main Street, Battle, England. A nice little city. After William conquered England he erected a chapel, which later became an abbey. The town grew up out of the needs of the monks at the abbey.
Maybe some of the Saxons suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome.
A cool pub sign. The place was closed, out of business.
Ethan was hungry, so we stopped here, at Ye Olde King's Head, for fish and chips. Which king, Harold or William? When I asked the owner he didn't know! Note the LOW door, built in an era (the 16th C.) when guys weren't typically my height.
The low ceiling of the King's Head Pub... they had a fire going in front. It was very nice and cozy. And great food. So... when at Battle, stop here.
Tia the pub dog watched us the entire time; we played fetch.
Note the low ceiling... the front section dates from the 1500's! Our meal was excellent.
The town of Battle from in front of the entrance to the battlefield park.
The attraction entrance, a medieval abbey.
In the visitor's center. Ethan looks a proper Saxon. (The helmet didn't fit me.)
We begin the battlefield walk down the slope from the visitor's center. I cannot account for the cloud of purple around Ethan's head. Sunlight effect? It was a very sunny, nice day.
The Norman attack begins! From an interpretative plaque.
The slope of the battlefield can be seen rising from right, where the Normans started, to the left, where the Saxons had their shield wall.
At one point the word had gone out among the Normans that William had been killed. So he lifted his helm (it's in the Bayeux Tapestry) to prove otherwise.
The abbey wasn't there during the battle, of course. But this shot gives you a Norman's eye perspective.
A shot towards the abbey, again. They say the ponds weren't there during the battle.
...and at the bottom of the hill, where the Normans began their attack. However, there's a bit of a puzzle. History doesn't tell us where Harold fought when he was killed, but the place is marked by a stone in the ground just to the right of that rightmost building peak. So that may or may not have been the center of the Saxon line. Or Harold fought on the Saxon left. We don't know.
As a last trick, the Normans launched arrows at the shield wall. Legend and the Bayeux Tapestry have it that one struck Harold in the eye and killed him. Maybe, maybe not. Scholars argue about it.
My thumb is up on the Saxon side, down on the Norman side - which gives you an idea of which side I prefer. (Actually, my emotions about this battle are complex.)
The slaughter of the Saxons in the final phase of the battle.
The slope as seen from the Saxon's viewpoint. Imagine Norman foot troops, knights and archers, all charging up the hill and badly wanting to kill you. The site mentioned that the slope was heavily terraced and altered by the monks, who farmed here.
Yes, William Victorious.
Here I stand about at the Saxon line, looking out and wondering "What if..."
The daffodils were out!
One curiosity appeared to me... the Hastings Giant. Looks like a guy with a log through his chest. It's an odd combination of trees that formed this...
The layout of the grounds. Note that they shown the terrace and the battlefield to the left of the site where Harold fell ("Presumed site of 11th C. High Altar"). This suggests that Harold fought on the Saxon left. I would think he'd be in the center to try to direct things...
In memory of a reenactor, perhaps?
There were some cellars that we went into, the "undercroft."
In the cafe some interesting quotes were painted on the wall.
Yes indeed. And some Americans.
Ha ha! I have this satirical book....
A plaque near the Norman church, which was heavily built upon in subsequent centuries.
Here's the site of the high altar.
I sit on the plaque with my hand over one eye. Get it?
From a plaque in the little museum. Oddly enough, there are all sorts of artifacts from the abbey on display, but no metal pieces dug up from the battlefield. Why not, I wonder...?
Ethan's use of the plaque is a bit more dramatic.
"Fusion." Yeah, right. I think the Saxons would have called it something else.
There is a school on the site of the battlefield.
Students leave class - as seen from the museum.
In the museum.
A really bad portrait of William the Conqueror I've never seen before. What's with the scimitar?
In the gift shop. I bought a post card and that's it. Stuff was too expensive. (And the exchange rate wasn't helping any.)
On the way back to London we passed a rugby field.
I liked this sign. Date from World War II, possibly?
Gahhh! A London Tube ad featuring Iggy Pop.
I once saw this very portrait (by Lorenzo Lotto) in D.C., at the Smithsonian, was impressed by it, and couldn't find it again last October. No wonder. It's now in the National Gallery, where Ethan and I stopped for an hour when we pulled into Charing Cross.
As they closed the National Gallery I took this shot of the Nelson column and Big Ben from the entrance.
Wednesday 9 March 2011: Today was awesome. We went to Westminster Abbey and did a special private prayer to St. Edward the Confessor, who has been dead for nearly 1,000 years, got drizzled upon at Covent Garden while we ate our meat pies, and I cracked a tooth twice. Here we are in the Allen House's lift, which measures 2 1/2 foot square. A bit cramped.
Kept seeing this ad every morning. My Clark Family was originally from Yorkshire. Bearded Northerners!
Saw this weird, throw-back ad in the Tube. Drink this beer and you'll be James Bond? Or a James Bond type? Or a Greek fisherman?
We see this odd little street sign every morning on the way to the High Street Kensington station.
On the Tube, off to another adventure - this time Westminster Abbey.
We couldn't take photos inside - well, not officially - but here's the north entrance.
Inside, I examine Britain's Oldest Door. I think offices are beyond it.
Ethan in the Chapter House.
We saw these William and Kate books everywhere. Do you suppose merchants will be upset if this wedding doesn't happen? (Yes.)
Ethan outside of the Abbey, in a chapel garden.
Afterwards we walked to London's most photographed telephone box. I have a photo of Meredith at this same box.
We walked down The Mall in St. James' Park, where we saw this fellow.
Ethan wanted to visit a Soho art gallery which specialized in the art of Stanley Donwood...
More Donwood prints. He does the artwork for Radiohead recordings.
I have never heard a Radiohead recording.
Here I am in front of what seems to be a political Donwood sentiment, having a spiritual moment of some kind. Beyond this door to the left was a little chamber where a projection was going on.
Here's the projector show. Random words, images and noise. There was a comfy chair and a footstool there; I liked it. Nice of Donwood.
We saw this cool neon sign over a pub. I wanted to see it lit.
Charing Cross Station; we also visited the National Gallery again and saw the stuff we didn't see the day before.
Ha ha! The State of Virginia presented a statue of George Washington to Trafalgar Square... it's in front of the National Gallery. You had to surrender an army to him, Brits.
Buckingham Palace. The flag is up, which means that the Queen is therein. In an era of heightened anti-terrorism, this policy seems questionable.
But this Bobby is at the gates to make sure nobody gets in.
The daffodils were out in Green Park.
A cool pub sign... the nicest I've seen yet.
We saw this at a public restroom in Green Park.
Stopped at Soho Square to check it out. I've not seen it yet.
Charles II and a 17th C. little building in Soho Square.
Palm trees? In London? Yes, in Soho Square.
The London sky and some Soho Square trees.
At Covent Garden. We looked for a pasty store that is no longer there, but found a great meat pie place instead and ate outside and got drizzled upon a bit. I liked this toy store sign.
In the toy store... Punch.
Thursday 10 March 2011: Today we visited the Museum of London and the British Museum, shopped around for souvenirs, walked down to Covent Garden, Leicester Square and spent a few minutes looking at the lights on the Victoria Embankment, on the north bank of the Thames.
This photo (London Museum): Well come to your newe thatched home in the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Lundenwic! A spaycious 15 foot square hut awaits you... if you lived here you'd be home by nowe!
The Angles and Saxons didn't want to live in the square mile of Roman London (in red), so it was abandoned and recent excavation has revealed the location of Anglo-Saxon Lundenwic.
Cool mail shirt in the London Museum.
A painting of a dead Charles I - with his head sewn back on!
Ethan liked the little replica Victorian shopping area. Here's the toy shop.
The coolest pendulum clock...
Beatles dress in the modern London section.
Geez... check out the width of this dress. Wide Load.
The Lord Mayor of London's coach.
After the Museum of London we made our way to the British Museum. There's a comedy series on called "Little Britain"; Ethan got a kick out of this street sign.
The British Museum.
Ethan shooting a photo of the famous Rosetta Stone with his cell phone camera.
Did they have wristwatches in ancient Assyrian times?
Small Greek and Roman statuary.
I have seen this medal in nearly every Arthurian history book I've ever read. Explained next photo. Note the "Lon" at the base... that's London. (Well, actually, Roman Londinium.)
Ethan regards a death mask of Napoleon. He wanted to know why there wasn't also a mask of Napoleon Dynamite.
Turquoise Mexican Mask. The collection of the British Museum is staggeringly large. You just can't go in the there and see everything - you have to target what it is you want to see. By the end of about three hours I'd walk into a gallery and think, "Oh, no. Not another pre-Roman gallery of Etruscan artifacts!" And I like that sort of thing...
A really funny clock built by Sir William Congreve, the maker of the Congreve Rocket used by the British Army in Napoleonic times. Congreve rockets pretty much landed wherever they wanted to go - including, occasionally, back at the British.
The timing mechanism was a metal ball going down this inclined path, then setting off a balance which shifted it the other way. Daft!
Unreliable timekeeper. I wonder why?
In the Greek armor case. Wow. I have never seen Greek or Roman foot guards before... weird!
Greek helmets are so cool...
We ate at the Battersea Pie Shoppe in Covent Garden. Ethan had a steak and kidney pie. I settled for chicken and bacon with mash (potatoes). It was delicious!
Hahaha! From a show in Covent Garden. This very British looking bunch is supposed to be, from left to right, Sam Philips, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Sam Perkins. If this image said "Trainspotting" under it it would look more accurate.
From a Battle of Britain monument on the Victoria Embankment. Note the cheeky soldier, blowing a kiss to the girl!
A medieval English face at the Museum of London.
A similar Mexican face at the British Museum.
We called it a day and went back to the flat. Whew, were my feet tired!
Our last day in London, Friday 11 March. Ethan consults his iPhone at the Tube station as we start out.
First stop: We walked over to Christoper Wren's Monument (The Monument, as if there were no other), which commemorates the great fire of 1666.
The base of the Monument, showing Charles II directing aid to an exhausted London.
The neat thing about London is that you see some truly ancient grafitti. On the wall inside.
311 steps is a long hike up!
The view is certainly worth the 3 pounds admission!
The gilt fire at the top of the Monument. The structure is the correct height so that if you toppled it, the flame would reach the home in Pudding Lane where the fire began.
Monument and street sign.
Then we went to the banks of the Thames at low tide to look for clay pipes, "mudlarking"; a docent at the British Museum told us where to look - at the base of where London Bridge was anciently, north bank.
Ethan found a couple of bowl sections washed up by the tide. Clay pipes were made pre-stuffed with tobacco and disposable. These can date from anywhere from the 1500's to the 1700's. Guys used to smoke 'em and then pitch them off the bridge into the river. See http://www.thamesdiscovery.org/riverpedia/clay-pipes-from-london
I found a bunch of clay pipe stems and bits of blue and white delft tile.
The next stop on Friday was lunch. At a sandwich shop. In America we Smoke. Pot.
The we visited Guildhall Art Museum, the underground Roman Stadium and the Guildhall itself, a structure from the late 1400's. This is a statue of Gog, a fabled London Giant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Guildhall#Gog_and_Magog
On the other side is Magog.
In the Guildhall taking a well-deserved rest. We were on our feet all day.
Outside the Guildhall within the "square mile" that is the City of London.
Waiting for the 15 bus at St. Paul's...
Then we visited the V&A, the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is open until 10 PM on Friday nights. This is a fascinating medieval statue of Jesus on a donkey. I like the expression on His face.
We visted the "plaster court" in the V&A - a collection of amazing plaster cast representations of famous sculptures. Here, Ethan regards the memorial of Richard I, his First Cousin 26 times removed (according to my PC's genealogical software).
I tried on some medieval clothing and replicated the pointy-surprised look of many old illustrations.
Ethan liked the small bronze displays in the V&A.
Trajan's column in the plaster court. This thing was enormous; a man's height is about half the height of that base. When I asked about it, one of the docents let us in to look up at the brick structure that the casts were mounted to. Those Victorians were amazing!
For his last evening in London, Ethan wanted fish and chips in a pub, so we ate at the Goat Tavern on High Street. Kensington. There has been a Goat Tavern at that location for more than 300 years!
We had a great meal... Ethan had a giant cod and I a hamburger.
We stopped by the local Tesco to get some breakfast food for the morrow. We saw very very few big fat people in London. Why? They don't eat as much as we Americans do. This was the sum total of the ice cream section of the freezer.
Saturday 12 March was a travel day. As we left Kensington for Heathrow we passed a small horse parade down High Street held in our honor. :)
At Heathrow there was a London Olympics 2012 shop; these are the ill-advised mascots. I forget their names.
From the plane, goodbye Heathrow and London!
7 hours and 25 minutes later, this is the crooked arm of Cape Cod as seen from the south. The island of Nantucket is below it... we're arriving like the Pilgrims from England did. Hello, USA!
Ethan and I had a great week in London!
What follows are some photos Ethan took with the camera on his iPhone, in no chronological order. In the McDonald's where we used the WAN, Ethan arranged some trash to make a face.
Ethan's stealthy photo of the tomb of Elizabeth I. (No photography was allowed in Westminster Abbey.)
That Allen House lift was crowded!
Where the Saxon shield wall was more or less located at the Battle of Hastings site.
At a comic book store in Soho. We used to get a kick out of this particular issue. Why does Batman feel compelled to wear different colored costumes?!?
Pub in Covent Garden and trash guy.
Ethan and Moai in the British Museum.
Another stealthy Westminster Abbey shot, this of the great ceiling of Henry VII's Mary Chapel.
At the gates at Buckingham Palace. I admit that I have bad hair, but this guy's is far worse than mine.
Going up the St. Paul's staircase - a major hike.
Arriving in London after being up nearly all night on the flight. The older I get, the less well I handle jet lag.
From the Victoria Embankment.
In the British Museum. I am doing a pose that Cari did in one of our scrapbook pages.
I really liked this. So much so that I bought a fridge magnet with this sentiment on it.
Seems like a great way to close this photo album, and so I do.