Third night of my latest show and audiences haven't been too bad.
Tonight though, someone was laughing pretty loudly during the death scene. Very hard to keep a straight face.
The previous evening, the Canadian Guides had invited me to join them at the changing of the guard, so after a very quiet breakfast (the Americans had departed at something like 5 am for Paris), I packed up my bags and left them in storage before heading to the tube station.
It was a nice sunny day and we made quick time to St Jame's Park and so to the palace. There was a while to wait until the changing, but people had already bagged places by the railings. We got a spot pretty close and waited as the crowds gradually filled up. Half the group moved to the rail by the road to get a view of the bands as they marched.
Then there was movement in the guard house, and we could hear a band in the distance. The changing of the guard began, with lots of people walking about checking things, and sometimes just walking along before turning around and going back. The all walked in pairs, either with sticks, swords or flags. The band had fun with the music, starting with 'It's not Unusual' before moving onto a sci-fi compilation of music from Star Trek and Star Wars, before finishing with 633 Squadron.
Eventually, all the guards had been changed and the old guard marched out of the palace gates. The group gathered together again and we made our to have some lunch. After that I bid farwell to the Canadian girls and headed back to Pax to collect my luggage and head home.
The journey back was pretty uneventful. It was a brilliant week and I loved chatting to all the girls and leaders. Now I am back at the main computer, I shall post more of my pictures, as the ones posted this week have been taken with my tablet.
Strange thing today. I don't know if it was the uniform, but I had at least three people stop to ask me directions.
Today was service project day. We split into two groups; one went to Hampstead Heath to do weeding or something, I went with the group to a boat at Angel..
The coach that took us relied on gps and so went a very funny way to get there. Eventually, we were greeted at the narrowboat by the volunteer that look after it for a charity. We did some cleaning of windows and brass, then we went for a motor down through the Islington tunnel. It is 1km long.
A quicker journey back got us to Pax in time to change for the BBQ lunch with ladies and gentlemen from the local old people's homes. The sun came out for that, so it was very pleasent.
The afternoon was free so I took a map of Hampstead from reception and went to explore. I had a look at the heath, which is vast!, went past Keat's house, found where Daphne du Murier lived and discovered the tomb of John Harrison. I had a bit of time to kill, so wandered to the local supermarket to buy twiglets and curly wurlys. The leaders from America and Canada had not heard of them, so I thought they should try something very British.
The evening was a pizza party with games. First we had to use spaghetti to build Pax Lodge, i.e. what it meant to us. The other three groups tried creating the actual building. My group did a different take and made a picture of the flag break to symbolise the coming together and friendship we find here. We won! Then we did silly games where you had to move sweets by holding a pretzel stick in your mouth.
At the end we got our badges and certificates, and had a pinning ceremony.
We got up and made our packed lunches as normal,then after flag break, we walked down to the station to get the underground. Our first stop was the Tower of London.
We went straight for the Crown Jewels, which was a good choice as later the queue was much longer. The crowns and things are very sparkly. The groups split up then and we could spend as long as we licked in the Tower, then the rest of the day was ours to do as we pleased. I spent another four hours at the Tower doing the wall walks and the White Tower, then I did a Yoeman tour. Our Yeoman was very good and funny.
After that I made my way to the Girlguiding shop near Buckingham Palace to buy some badges I need. Then I walked to Hyde Park Corner to catch a bus to the Albert Hall as my plan was to buy a gallery prom ticket. Luckily, the first queue I saw when I got off the bus was the gallery queue.
It was trying to rain, but after half an hour we were let in. The gallery and arena tickets cannot be booked in advance and they cost £5, cash only. The gallery is right at the top and there are a lot of steps to climb, but it is worth it. Everyone is so relaxed at the top, sitting by the rails until the music starts, then you can wander around if you like, lie on the floor, read a book. I can see why some people prefer it to sitting in a seat. The concert was all English composers and the music was fab.
Just before nine, everyone piled out to get the buses, because there was a tube strike that had started that evening. I waited for the second bus as I knew the first would be crowded. The second was filled to the gunwales too, but I got on. We made our way to Tottenham Court Road, where I changed buses (took me a minute to figure out I needed to go around the corner). I got on the bus to come to Hampstead, and ran right into the Girl Scouts again returning from their evening excursion. We stayed on the bus to the end and then walked up the hill to Pax Lodge.
A long but enjoyable day.
Today we started with my group doing flag break. I did the reading I read at Our Cabana, so only two more World Centers to go on that one.
Then we split into three groups to do challenges around London, a bit like scavenger hunts. I was doing the Monopoly challenge. There were only six in my group, which made it easier to move around quickly. We started at Abbey Road and the Beatles road crossing. I've tried to get the webcam pictures up, but it seems to do strange things to my tablet (EDIT: I now have the picture). One of the other people has a picture, so the should send it to me.
After that, we headed to the centre of London and did lots of things like visiting Hamleys, looking at the food hall in Selfriges, having a picture taken at Trafalgar Square, acting out a flim at Leciester Square (we sang Doe a Deer from the Sound of Music), and finding art at the Tate. We walked miles and saw lots.
We got back to Pax with just enough time to go to the local pub for fish and chips, then back into London for a show. I went to see Mamma Mia, which was fab!
My feet are a bit sore this morning.
My team won the quiz this evening!
I suppose it was a bit of an advantage having a British person on the team, but I didn't get all of them right. I forgot all about the Pirates of the Carribian films. One of the tasks was to build a model of a historic London landmark out of tinfoil and we took the easy way out by doing an Eleanor Cross, just scrunching the foil into a pointy shape. It got us 20 extra points though.
The prize was a box of Celebrations. We shared them with the girls.
This morning we did stuff about body image and a WAGGGS quiz (my team did pretty well).
Thenn we went on a bus tour of London with stops to take pictures at Bucking ham Palace and the Houses of Parliment. Then we went on the London Eye and got a good aerial view of London. Found out some facts I didn't know, so good.
Tonight is a quiz evening. Let's see if I can win this.
Today I started my holiday at Pax Lodge, the World Guiding Centre in London.
I really enjoyed my stay at Our Cabana in 2012, and thought, "We have a world Centre just an hour from me.Why shouldn't I visit it?" So I booked myself in for one of their 'Journey Through London' weeks.
The train journey went smoothly with only one change at Euston and I got to Belsize park in a little over an hour. Whilst waiting for the lift, a group of girls turned up, all wearing red, lugging suitcases and speaking with American accents. I helped them get to street level, and then asked them where they were going. It was no surprise to ind out they were heading to Pax Lodge. I showed them the way and found outthey come from New Jersey. The other group who are staying are from Canada.
We started off with a cream tea and I showed them how to put the cream and jam on. Some were surprised that you put them on together.
Then there were introductary games and signing up for various parts of the week.
After tea, we had the 'bring something to share' evening. The others had games and songs; I brought a craft of straw plaiting as it is a craft local to my area. It was a great sucess.