The wilder part of the day started at 7pm…
But let me tell you about the first part of the day first.
I got to meet up with my former colleague and friend Dave Squires at a pub – had a Guinness together at an outdoor spot in Leicester Square – worked with him at University College London Union in 1994! Comforting to know we can pick up again so easily and grateful for the ongoing friendship…
I also reconnected with the cool, well-traveled, lovely, smart, Victoria (lived with her here that year) at the Wallace Collection – “a world-famous range of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with large holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms & armor, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 25 galleries.” She is a tour guide there and knows so much about this museum and British culture in general – it is inspiring. Sitting there the tearoom was so pleasant and so easy. Another gift of friendship…
Met up with Marg and another Semester at Sea RD, Greg (our team is growing!) at the Wallace and I was so happy to introduce them to Victoria….all around wonderful.
As Greg was joking about trying on some armor for fun Victoria said, “Oh well yes, actually you can try on some replica armor downstairs.” We all just about fell out of our chairs and proceeded to the armor room – pictures take of course (see evidence tomorrow) – good times!
Walked around for a while on a dinner quest. Views on the way of Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St. Margaret’s (Whelehan) Church AND by chance happened upon this annual event – Beating Retreat – check it out!
“The Household Division’s Beating Retreat – a spectacular evening pageant of music and military precision drill, including horses, cannon and fireworks – will take place on the 11th and 12th of June this year. These annual concerts are performed on Horse Guards Parade in front of the beautiful backdrop of St James’s Park each year on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings preceding the Queen’s Birthday Parade, or “Trooping the Colour” as it is often called.
MilitaryBeating Retreat concerts have a long tradition dating back to the 1690s. Originally the beating of the drum was used to order troops to break off fighting and withdraw to the safety of camp as darkness fell, later it signaled the closing of the camp gates at the end of the day and called troops back to base for the night. Today a Beating Retreat is an evening military concert with a marching display and usually marks the lowering of the Regimental flag at sunset.
The Household Division is a collection of elite regiments each with a distinguished service record that extends across many generations. It comprises of the two Mounted Regiments of the Household Cavalry and the five Foot Guards regiments. The Guards can trace their roots back to the 17th Century when the new Model Army was founded by Parliament after the English Civil War. Regiments have served continuously as the Sovereign’s official body guards ever since the Restoration of King Charles II.”
And we got to see it – right time right place…so cool to witness this CENTURIES OLD tradition surrounded by Londoners and world travelers on a summer night. Oh plus fireworks, cannons, bagpipes, horses, French Foreign Legion band and choir, Scottish pipe and drum, 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 140 member choir singing “O Fortuna”…clip below is from June 12, 2014 🙂 Ok then.
Followed by a fantastic beatbox street performance at Piccadilly Circus and fish and chips (and peas!?) in a pub with the Beatles (music, not the actually the Beatles) playing in the background served by a man with full (FULL) body tatoos.
A full day indeed – the never-ending cycle of history and possiblity London provides is humbling.
Have a Historical Nothing New Day! ~Kristin