When my daughter turned sixteen, we had a mother and daughter day out to The Shard in London. It was a deal with hotel booking and The Shard paid for as one. Unfortunately, the day we arrived from the hotel, the lift in the tower was not working for the first time. We stoically returned to the provinces by coach.
My daughter was not impressed and neither was I.
A courtesy visit was arranged and we travelled by train which is far more comfortable. (On our way home, the train stopped and we had to walk 100 yards or so the nearest station. Two trains were finally organized according to one’s destination. We discovered someone we knew was on that train too.)
In the feature photo you see Tower Bridge. A lot of tourists think, mistakenly, it is London Bridge as it is by the Tower of London. It is a lifting bridge and traffic is halted when a tall boat or ship sails through. It was built in 1894–1896. Wikipedia calls it a suspension bridge. No, it’s a lifting bridge like the one near my home.
There were bomb threats here in the 1970’s during The Troubles in Ireland.
The boat you see here is HMS Belfast. It is open for visitors like a museum. The River Thames is tidal for many miles inland but here we are fairly close to it’s estuary. There are many blocks of apartments, they are highly expensive and a prestigious. Sadly, many Russians, Japanese, and Arabs have bought a lot of property in London which keeps prices very high indeed.
People who work in London get paid with what is termed London weighting. Their pay reflects some of the cost of living there. My sister was a nurse on the outskirts and we’d go shopping together. I had a friend who had been a private nurse for Jacqueline Dupres, the famous cellist. While I knew her she was a private nurse for one of Prince Charles’s godsons’. He had a castle in Scotland and a huge apartment in Holland Park. She drove me to Heathrow when I moved to the US in his converted MPV which had a bed, fridge, and microwave. He, too, had M.S.
I also used to stay with friends in Worcester Park, and at my brother-in-law’s former flat in Croydon. I did work in London for one week with my job. That was enough.
I am always happy to go to London and always happy to leave.
To the right in the background are the Walkie Talkie and The Cheese Grater, nicknames given to tower blocks because of their shape. There is The Gherkin further in near The City of London.
The City Of London is the financial center and where the Guilds (craftsmen professions, Journeymen) have their home. The City has its own Lord Mayor and a few other distinguishing features like parking rules. St Paul’s Cathedral is in The City and was occupied by members of Occupy London after the financial crash. Some of the clerical staff resigned after it was notoriously decided to evict the occupiers of tents etc. It was a huge argument about what a church is and does.
While we were up in The Shard, a storm appeared in the north above Wembley. We watched it roll over London and over us before it went out to sea. The rain stayed with us on and off. It was quite exciting to see the lightning so high up.
This is Tower Bridge seen from London Bridge. We went down to the Underground Station of the same name to get some lunch. The are armed police down there since all the terrorism in London and in the rest of Europe. We ate hot dogs and Cherry Cola.
Although this was August, it was overcast and raining towards the end of our visit. We got very wet walking back to Waterloo.
This is a theater on Shaftesbury Avenue which we walked through on our first trip. Cat Stevens grew up on Shaftesbury Avenue, which is very famous for its theaters.
One of many pubs in Covent Gardens/Soho which we walked through on the first trip. We had a good pub lunch in a similar hostelry.
On our first trip, we filled in time by window shopping on Oxford Street. It’s like shopping anywhere, despite the fame of it. But the brand stores are eye-wateringly expensive.
A month or so later, my daughter’s friend wanted her to go to London on their own. I forbade this unless an adult met them. London is dangerous for young women and Black people.
This is a sign written by Transport London.
Published in In Living Color