Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Lion, the Horse Guard and the Old Father

Well, another week has passed so quickly and I can't believe it's the weekend already!  Are you finding this too?  Let's continue our journey in London and visit 'The Lion' (Trafalgar Square's lions), 'The Horse Guard' (Horse Guards' Parade) and the 'Old Father' (The Thames)!  

After leaving the National Gallery we continued on our rainy journey through Trafalgar Square with the proud bronze lions.  Did you know that the perfectly sculpted bronze was made from the melted French and Spanish cannons that were aboard the battle ships at the Battle of Trafalgar?

Trafalgar Square is always busy but this isn't due to pigeons anymore.  Yes, there are some that still visit but hawks are occasionally flown here to keep the overpopulated feathered visitors at bay. Instead there are plenty of street entertainers, well apart from when it's raining.  Today the air was filled with the haunting melody of echoing bagpipes as this bearded gentleman blew his way through a Scottish melody.

Today it was a bit of a thankless task, but he continued regardless to entertain the soggy tourists.

The rain was slowing leaving puddles in its wake and the open London bus tour had obviously reached the National Gallery with the obligatory white rain macs for those who had sat upstairs on the bus.

Trafalgar Square, as wet as the fountains that flow within it!

We walked along towards Westminster and joined the crowds outside Horse Guards Parade.  The flash of red was a joy to see on this very grey London day.

Today was very different though.  Whenever I see the pomp and ceremony within the City of London, I feel proud and in awe of the all the work that it takes to organise.  But today, it felt tense, unnerving in fact.  The Horse Guards were like coiled springs, keeping charge of their horses but at the same time wary of anybody that came close for the typical photo opportunity.

They were checking everything, where the person was standing, who was taking the photo, who was passing.  Their eyes were everywhere and it felt uncomfortable.  In amongst the crowd, a now all too familiar figure of an armed policeman looking straight back at the Horse Guards, again watching every movement.  The expression hidden by a warm piece of material and only his eyes showing any movement.  Yes, the times we are living in now ensuring that the soldiers on display were safe.  After walking past here and looking in Horse Guards where the police were all on alert, it became much more apparent that protection was key.  It is saddening, upsetting and filled me with an unusual anxiousness that I have never felt before in my home town.

We walked towards Westminster and over Westminster Bridge which was absolutely full of a different sort of entertainer than Trafalgar Square - the con men!!  Three cups, which one is the ball under?  You know the one! There must have been at least ten of them, all blocking the paths.  Maybe they were taking advantage that the Police were needed elsewhere for more pressing matters, but how they annoyed me and others! Can you see the bottle neck they were causing on the right...

Let's just look at the flowing and calm Thames instead... that's better!

Things were a little calmer over on the South Bank and the street entertainment here were smiling and happily interacting with the captive audience!

The London Eye in the background slowly lifting above the bare trees.

And some singular quiet entertainment for someone on the river...

By now we were getting tired, after all we had done Selfridges, the National Gallery and a walk down to the River, so after a lovely hot chocolate on the South Bank it was time to head home.

And so, that was another day in London Town.  Guess what we are doing next week?  Yes, you're right, we are back again but in the Docklands this time.  A spot of ice skating amongst the towers of Canary Wharf awaits us!

Once again, thank you so much for your lovely comments (especially those of the Ugly Duchess!!) and welcome, welcome to some great new followers.

Have a wonderful Valentines Day if you are celebrating.  We have a certain Mr Teen's birthday, so we don't get sucked into the commercialism of the day of hearts and chocolates.  Instead we have candles and cakes... and this year, driving lessons!!

Take care.

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  1. I had no idea about the cannons/lions - it makes total sense and is wonderfully interesting though. Happy Birthday to Mr Teen, I hope you have a great day and that the driving lessons don't prove to be too scary!! xx

  2. Have fun with the driving lessons (a bit of sarcasm there!) I am so happy that Mr. Badger will come to you. You'll show him a good time! Such lovely photos, Chel!

  3. So interesting about the lions. We went to Trafalgar in 1992 and actually had a picnic lunch there along a stone wall. And there are pigeons everywhere! One of the children with us allowed them to perch on his outstretched arms. It was a hot summer day. I enjoyed your perspective in your photos. Happy Valentine's Day to you. xx Pam

  4. I always learn something when visiting here Chel! I love the lion statues...so beautiful and majestic! The London Eye is always a favorite for me. I definitely hope to have the opportunity to visit there and ride on it someday! Hope your trip isn't as wet and soggy this time. Have fun! Oh...happy birthday to your son as well....:) H

    Hugs, Vicky

  5. Love all your photos of London! This is someplace I hope to visit one of these days.

  6. This really brings back memories for me! I love these places. Thanks for the great tour and the tidbits of history.

  7. I adore London too Chel. What great misty shots, and so...umm...London-ish....lol! Fabulous...Mimi xxx

  8. Thank you for the fascinating tour!
    Have a lovely birthday party!

  9. Wish your daughter a great birthday party Chel. I enjoyed the London tour very much, it´s such a wonderful city. I was wondering what Nelson should think when he was alive, standing up high on his statue, watching over Trafalgar Square.......

  10. Lovely post, Chel. I always learn something when you do these posts. :o)

  11. It must be really difficult for the guards to stay accessible but safe. I wouldn't have thought that a soggy bagpipe sounded too good,

  12. Another wonderful visit to London with interesting snippets of information (like the melted French and Spanish cannons to make the bronze for those famous lions!) The red of the Horse Guards' coats looks wonderful - especially as, dare I say it, it was raining again! That bagpiper's auburn beard is very impressive!

  13. Like you I have no idea where this week has gone. It just seems to have flown by. Oh I was sad to read that things felt very tense, it's sad to think people have become so wary of each other. Last summer when we were in London those street con men drove me mad and it annoyed me that people took them on. I loved your final shot of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament in the background. I hope your next visit is drier, darn rain. Have a lovely weekend.
    Ali xx

  14. Thank you for the lovely tour! We are off to London in a couple of months so I am busy planning where to go this time.

  15. Oh it is like I am there...my son loves the London Eye, never seen this up close like that! Beautiful Chel, just beautiful!!! Blessings

  16. Hello Chel! Just waiving hello from a wet Oxfordshire today. You are my 'tea cup' friend so just having a nosey here to find out more about you and your interests :). Beautiful photos. London Eye is one of my favourites in London :). Big Valentine hugs, Asia xx

  17. Chel,

    What a treat to find your blog this COLD morning, through Miss Patsy's blog. And what a lovely thing to have this tour of a Place-Of-My-Heart.

    I'd have been sitting right there on those wet paving-stones, beside those incongruous Thom McAns, in practically a religious experience as the piper played. I took off my own shoes when I stepped down from that tour bus in Scotland.

    I'll be back to enjoy your fascinating archives. Hope you're well and warm so far away!


  18. Happy birthday to you son Chel and Happy Valentine's Day! I bet Londin is so nice and fun even in the winter! Thanks so much for sharing and the wonderful tour. Have a fun weekend and don't eat too much chocolate! Hugs, Julie

  19. Even tho the weather was not ideal your pictures your so lovely. I especially like the very first one with the lions. Such a stunning composition!!

  20. It was nice seeing London through your camera, though I guess any capital is a little more stressful than it used to be those days.

  21. A very enjoyable and interesting post and your photos are superb, I like all of them. The saluting man is brilliant, they really do look like statues. The Horse Guards look wonderfully regal.

  22. What a busy day out in London town! It seems that every tourist spot in the world has to be on high alert all the time now - keeping everyone safe in busy locations. It's too bad things have taken a turn in this way, but I guess we can all feel safer knowing that someone is watching, foiling any nasty plan anyone may have!

  23. Such a great to see that fabulous city through your eyes.
    Regarding the security - it's the same here, sadly.

  24. Beautiful captures ... I love the vintage edits, like going back in time! The Scottish man with kilt and red beard looks so original and charming - like the Horse Guards Parade ... Thank you for taking me to London, Chel!

  25. That was a fun trip, thank you and hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day
    Happy Birthday to Mr. Teen also.

  26. Great photo's it rained a lot when I was there, love that town.
    That photp of the bagpiper is great, how did you do the black and white?

    1. Hi Yvonne, if you go to Picmonkey and then go to 'edit' and choose your photo. Then go to 'effects' and then on to 'focal b&W', you can then choose an area that you want to keep in colour. Enjoy! x

  27. I have some wonderful photos of Mallory in front of the lions. Trafalgar Square was one of my favorite places when we were in London. Even though that was on our first day and we were all extremely jet lagged.

  28. So it's not just me, Chel, who is finding life rushing by at a swifter than usual pace! Last ear flew by but this year is going like the clappers! We find ourselves saying - gosh not..day again already! all the time!

    Love your London photos- you must bump into my friend Nell who is visually impaired, a textile artist, and photographer, who manages to get to London as often as she can; I'm sure you and she MUST have been stood next to each other on more than one occasion! Lx

  29. Some very atmospheric photos - I often think that cities can look good in the rain. I didn't know your fact about the lions, and am reminded of our trip to London and Trafalgar Square back in October :)
    Cathy x

  30. Thank you for the tour of London. Looking forward to the next trip.
    Have a great week,

  31. Gorgeous photos! That bagpipe player looks perfectly in place in the grey rain, even if he's a bit far south.

  32. I must take a leaf from your book and do some more exploring, re-visiting in London. I'm not sure where you live, it must be quite straight forward for you to get there. Saying that, I'm only 90 minutes from Paddington myself! Sometimes you've just got to do it haven't you? The trouble is I'm not sure the teen can be persuaded to come, and I have to get back for the dog! and save up my pennies for the train fare, so many excuses! it's lovely to read and feel inspired by your visits though. X

  33. Some great composition, processing and engaging storyline. Special mention for 1, 2 and the last one. It's always good to look for something different when the weather is grim and the reflections work well with the technique shown in number 2.
    It's sad to read of the latest security threats and generally how London is always a potential target. I've only ever day tripped on the train and remember the IRA days, my last visit back in 2010 was a relatively peaceful affair.


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