Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crowds and Weddings and Quiet Places . . . Home from London

Sadly, thanks to a combination of limited camera and unwillingness to cross a wide and busy street, you'll have to click-and-enlarge this photo to spot the graffiti on that brick building wall just to the left and below the large, curved billboard. Even without clicking, you might be able to discern the large, Union Jack-patterned letters spelling out KATE -- above them, also in coloured capital letters, is the admonition, "Don't hate on."  So, at least in noticeably poorer East London (we were on our way to Shoreditch, where we found two wonderful jean shops -- more on that later), the princess-to-be has garnered public support (or at least a plea for tolerance). Don't hate on Kate, indeed, and how could one, with all the drama and finery of a royal wedding?
 The always busy Regent Street was festooned with bunting weeks ahead, in anticipation. Watching the news on TV after safely and gratefully arriving home last night, the traveller's usual sense of existential disruption was magnified by watching coverage of streets we had only just been walking in. . .
In fact, just Tuesday, we walked past the huge section of park given over to housing media equipment. Pater's first estimate was that there was at least a football field covered by vans, trucks, satellite dishes, but he soon revised that to several fields

Here's the explanatory sign

I'm sure the closed footpath will be forgiven in return for the promise of a good show. Hideous to imagine a wedding, though, with such a throng of spectators. . .

As for the two of us, while we wish William and Kate at least as many happy years as we have so far enjoyed together, we were quite happy to be getting out of the city before the wedding. Even walking from Hyde Park through to the National Gallery on Tuesday was too much crowd and media for us as we saw media crews walking cables and big fluffy mikes and other sundry equipment into place and as we heard roars coming from the crowd pressed as close as possible to the gates at Buckingham Palace.

We were much happy, earlier, that the cooler weather (18 degrees after the weekend's 26) revealed Hyde Park's bucolic fields

But then, we've been seeking out the city's quieter spots . . .  Cemeteries . . .
Canals . . .
Places where breathing is just a little bit easier, walking doesn't always require a strategy for overtaking the slower-moving sidewalk hogs. . .

But that's another post. . . .

For now, let's just sit back and enjoy the show, wishing Kate and William a beautiful wedding, a long and happy marriage, and maybe, just maybe, a few quiet moments of their own tomorrow.


  1. Welcome home. And here's to quiet moments all around.

  2. Welcome home Mater!

    Your running commentary and our waning interest in travel, has us more or less agreeing we won't spend 6 weeks in Paris & London next Spring. Three weeks maximum.

    It really is unpleasant imagining the crowd of spectators gawking at the royal wedding. I refuse to watch.

    Sidewalk hogs! Can't wait to hear how your strategy for dealing with them :-).

  3. Welcome home! It must be lovely to be back - especially knowing the crowds you're escaping.

  4. Welcome home! Your pictures are a treat, as always. I LOVE that canal pic and may borrow to add to my "serene" screensaver slide show.

    I have less and less tolerance for crowds as the years go by, certainly would NOT want to be in London about now!

  5. The calm before the storm- your timing is terrific! Such serene, verdant fields. Welcome home, wishing you a peaceful re-entry.

  6. Glad to hear that you are home safe and sound. Surreal indeed to be watching all the hoopla when you were just there hours ago. Tomorrow I'll be at the British Embassy here where we'll watch the wedding then celebrate with a street party afterwards - I helped decorate today, bunting abounds!! P.

  7. Welcome Home!
    I hope the sun has come out for you today...our weather has been dreadful while you've been gone.

    I have enjoyed the images from afar.

  8. Susan: While we've agreed that we didn't need to use six weeks as we did -- and I agree that three weeks split between the two cities would be plenty -- there were many ways that the six accommodated elements involving our relationship, and our individual relationships to home and away. I hope to speak more about this later.
    Tiffany/Lisa: thanks -- I'm glad to be far from the madding crowd . . .
    Pseu: I'm glad you like it -- and I like your idea of a customized screen saver of serenity.
    Duchesse: The timing really was good, especially since we paid not attention to the wedding when we booked and could have ended up there right now -- what a mess!
    Patricia: Sounds like fun -- have a lovely day!
    Hostess: It's so much cooler than what we'd gotten used to (a clean drop of 10 degrees!), but at least it's gorgeous and sunny here in Vancouver today. Let the spring begin!

  9. Welcome home! I love to hear those words from US Customs and Immigration. Perhaps Canadian Customs and Immigration say them also? It's far better to be in London either before or after a Royal Wedding. I was there a few weeks after Charles and Diana's wedding and got to see the wedding gifts on display (with admission going to charity) - everything from homemade tea cozies to sapphire jewelry from one of the middle east potentates.

  10. SL: Yes, it's great to be welcomed back to Canada, altho' I wouldn't say our officials are as consistent in their greetings. Viewing C&D's wedding gifts sounds both interesting and memorable.


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