01.09.2010 - 06.09.2010
I am actually sitting on my porch in Amagansett, NY but it is cloudy so this is the perfect time to update you since my last post and give you more details on my time in London.
I had a great few days in London and really enjoyed being back and just wandering around. However here are a couple of interesting fun facts from my touristy time at Westminster Abbey and my tour of the houses of Parliment:
- Queen Elizabeth I is interred above her half sister Queen Mary Tudor (not Queen Mary of Scots she had killed), although the inscription on the tombs says they are equals and shall be so in the afterlife - if so, shouldn't they be interred side by side?
- allegedly, the term "Lobbying" comes from the the houses of parliment where members of the public were able to meet with their representatives. The representatives would leave the interior chambers and meet them in the central lobby of parliment. Interesting, this doesn't so much happen anymore in London, but we all know the influence of lobbyists in the states.
- Nearly all of the building of Parliment was recently rebuilt within the past few hundred years after the original building suffered 2 fires since its original construction. They have continued to keep the same style to maintain the appearance and history. There is however one main hall dating to about 800 a.d. It is the largest part of the hall and from time to time is used for funerals/laying in state and significant public appearances by heads of state. Winston Churchill was the only commoner to lay in state here.
ok, enough history. Aside from visiting my old neighborhood and enjoying some pints of beer in the pubs, one fun thing we did was go to an event called Secret Cinema. This is what would be called a fancy dress party in London - or a costume party in the states. One buys a ticket to see the mystery movie and they give you clues as to what the movie will be and you are supposed to dress in costume in theme to the movie. The organizers provide actors, staging, and food and beverages. Our clues were along the line of needing to meet up with our beduoin tribes for which we should bring floor cushions and rugs. We had correctly guessed the film was Lawrence of Arabia (although some poor souls were guessing Aladin) and tried our best to find some appropriate gear at the Portobello road markets. We arrived to see beduoin fighters on horseback and had time to wander through the "souk" or market and watch the belly dancers before the movie. All in all I think it was a fun way to just see a movie!
I have updated my photo gallery with pictures from all stages of my trip so far, so check out pics from VT, Italy and London (including some fun shots from secret cinema)!
Also, here is an update of what I have been reading. I will fess up to the bad british chick lit (really it was that or an italian german dictionary that were left at my hotel...) was Undomestic Goddess, by the Sofie Kinsella - same women who writes the Shoppoholic series. It was a super quick read and it you are lying on a beach you could do worse, but I wouldn't really be buying it unless I was desperate. I followed that with Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd. My friend in London Barb passed this along although she put it down as she couldn't get into this Jane Austen inspired murder mystery and I will say I was just about to do the same but suddenly it got much better so I stuck it out and was glad I did so. The plot really picked up at the end of the novel and I enjoyed it. I just finished Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (this time a strong recommendation from Barb) and it was great and a page turner. It is also a murder mystery, but set in Russia at the end of Stalin's reign of terror. I don't have a lot of knowledge of the normal goings on around that time and loved that the persecution of "anti-state spys" was woven into the story. I would highly recommend it!!