London, part 2

Hello, here’s a little phlog to start 2015. It’s the photographic evidence of my second trip to London in November. This time, I went on a boat trip down the Thames. I was reading The Boleyn Inheritance on this trip, so thought it very exciting to be travelling to the Tower of London in the manner of Catherine Howard (one of Henry VIII’s less fortunate spouses). First impression: the boat leaked. Not good. On balance, however, it is preferable to being beheaded, so I decided to count my blessings. Also, the boat was leaking from the top rather than the bottom – surely another plus.

Initially, I was pretty disgruntled: the boat moved from one side of the river to the other, then we just sat there for a long time (presumably waiting for more customers). Very dull. I made a note of the cruise name (that’s how cross I was). I was sitting next to a child eating Doritos and thought, not for the first time, how utterly revolting they smell.

Things got better.

Once we were on the move, a very (VERY) Cockney geezer gave us a running commentary which was mildly amusing and vaguely informative. I liked hearing about the lions, positioned along one part of the Thames, which were used to determine flooding levels.

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When the lions are drinking, London is sinking.

Nowadays, of course, we know that London is not sinking; rather, the water level is rising. Perhaps they just enjoyed a rhyme in those days. Anyway, there’s a blue telephone box next to the lions (centre of the picture, just to the left of one of the lions - see it?): a man would go and check how close the lions’ mouths were to the water line – if they were ‘drinking’ from the river, he would make the call to alert the city of imminent water damage. Fun with flooding, hey?

The rest of the ‘cruise’ passed in similar fashion. The tour guide (who said he wasn’t a guide) continued to regale us with below-par anecdotes and semi-interesting facts about the city. Upon disembarkation, he held out a bucket for money. I didn't appreciate this second cost and did not make his bucket any heavier (can’t remember how much the cruise was to start with, but it’s best not to think about prices when you’re in London, anyway – ruins the whole thing).

I got off at the Tower of London and immediately lost all inclination for visiting it. Now, this was the primary reason for taking the river trip! Weirdly, however, I suddenly found it distasteful to be considering wandering round a site where innocent women were beheaded in front of their court. I must be going soft. But poor wives.

So I departed, heading for a nearby bridge (something like 32 bridges across this here Thames, if I remember my guide’s words correctly. But I think this particular one was London Bridge).

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From here I watched cannons firing for the Prince of Wales’ birthday – see all the smoke? The Tower of London is behind all the smoke.

The rest of the photos from my day are below. It was a very grey day, so they're not the most colourful set of images, but they are very London. Obviously, I could have jazzed them up in post-production, but I'm still not a fan of cropping and 'shopping my pictures. Keeping it real into 2015!