Sunday, 10 November 2013

2013 - Day Out 13: London Remembrance

Date: 10 November 2013

It is the last day of our London weekend and before we head back to the West Midlands, we pay a visit to Whitehall to pay our respects at the Remembrance Day Parade.

The Cenotaph at Whitehall
Despite being up late last night, I wake up at a respectable (and early for a Sunday!) time of 7am, so first of all I throw on some clothes and get some "fresh air" before returning to my room and getting refreshed for the day ahead and changing and making sure that I have everything packed in my bag ready to check out after breakfast. Packing done, I make my way for a quick "fresh air" break and meet up with Mr UKBuses for breakfast, after devouring a healthy pile of bacon, sausage and beans and numerous pots of yogurt, we say goodbye whilst we collect our belongings, and also for me to get changed into my scout uniform, checking out before meeting up again at reception where we make our way for the final time this weekend to East India DLR station to start our journey, changing at Canning Town and onto the Jubilee Line where we get the tube all the way to Westminster making our way to ground level where after a quick "fresh air" break, we make our way around to Whitehall walking along the main road as it is closed to traffic whilst the parade is taking place.

Our view on Remembrance Day at Whitehall
We make our way to Whitehall where we are met with the security checks taken out by the Metropolitan Police, we have to queue a while whilst making our way to the main area, with Mr UKBuses doing a few warm up exercises ready to lift his heavy wallet out of his pocket to put in the belongings tray to be examined. We pass the security checks and Mr UKBuses hooks up his chain from his wallet to his safety point in his coat and luckily he didn't manage to pull a muscle to put his heavy wallet back into its safe place. We are a bit later arriving at the parade this year so we find it hard to get to our normal spot by The Cenotaph, so we decide to stay close to The Red Lion, see picture right, where we still manage to get a good view of the Cenotaph, I get a better view by climbing onto one of the stone walls opposite The Red Lion, Mr UKBuses does try but gives up as it is high up. I "do my best" and help a couple of kids and their mom up to get a good view of the ceremony. We still have a while to wait before the actual ceremony starts and Mr UKBuses takes his place on the corner opposite The Red Lion so that he can video a few clips on his camera when the parade starts.

Cheers From The Red Lion!
It is 11am and before the parade and service starts, there is a two minutes silence which takes place and the start and finish is marked by a cannon shooting. With the two minutes silence over the service starts and with the current and past Prime Ministers making an appearance, this is followed by an appearance by Her Majesty The Queen, who along with the current political party leaders lay wreaths at The Cenotaph. In the middle of the service I ascend from my viewpoint and join Mr UKBuses for the rest of the service and after saluting (I was in uniform) and singing The National Anthem, which means it is the end of the Remembrance Day service. We learn from last years mistake, so instead of trying to get crushed by escaping Whitehall, we make our way inside The Red Lion, see picture left, as we enter we have to wait about ten minutes to get served, but as more people pile in, the manageress decides to start serving early, with me getting served first. Mr UKBuses has already found a seat and I nearly drown him as I don't put my pint down properly. We look at the television and see that they are showing the parade which makes us feel a bit weird as we are watching it on a television screen whilst we are only a few feet away from the actual parade. Another round is purchased as the crowds are still trying to get out. After we finish our second drink, we make our way out and instead of being crushed like we were last year, we simply walk around the corner and onto Westminster Bridge.

Cheers From The Bear and Staff!
Instead of catching the London Underground, we go off plan and catch Go-Ahead London Central's service 12 which will be on diversion as Whitehall is closed, we board and as we get to Piccadilly Circus we alight as the traffic is moving slowly. After a "fresh air" break we go back underground and onto the Piccadilly Line where we alight at Leicester Square. As we have a bit of time to spare, we pay a visit to one of our old favourites, The Bear and Staff, see picture right, which gives us a chance to rest our now aching legs. Mr UKBuses finds a table whilst I get the drinks in (hang on, when is it his round?) and after about twenty minutes we finish off and make our way back to Leicester Square Underground Station where we make our final tube journey of the weekend and we board a train on the Northern Line and alight at London Euston Railway Station. Mr UKBuses is on the hunt for food, so whilst he goes to Burger King and I am still full from breakfast, I make my way to The Brittannia inside London Euston and have a last pint in London, followed by my last "fresh air" break in London before meeting back up with him and looking at the screens to see which platform our return train to the West Midlands will depart from. Once the platform is announced we make our way and board the train and get ourselves comfortable ready for the journey ahead.

It is now 14:40 and our Virgin Train departs on time and as we say goodbye to London (see you in 2014), the train manager announces that the shop in carriage C is now open, so whilst Mr UKBuses starts to nod off, I make my way to the shop for a return journey bottle of the special "Tilting Ale", with no snores from Mr UKBuses, we arrive at Birmingham New Street at 16:05 and it is a rush to get to the correct platform for our connecting train to Smethwick Galton Bridge, luckily we make it in time and board the London Midland train which gets us quickly to Smethwick Galton Bridge, where upon arrival we make the trek to get to the correct upper platform where our next London Midland train arrives just after 16:30 which gets us to Stourbridge Junction, where after another platform change, we get the Stourbridge Dodger which takes us to Stourbridge Interchange. I wait with Mr UKBuses until 17:05 where the National Express West Midlands service 276 bus arrives to take him home, this is where I say my goodbyes as my stomach is starting to rumble so before I get home I make a diversion to J D Wetherspoons "The Chequer's Inn" for a beer and a burger meal, where after letting my food go down, I walk home where I put my feet up for the rest of the night.

Another great weekend was had in London, with a couple of shows and parades being seen. I have to thank Mr UKBuses a lot as if it wasn't for his plans, this weekend would not have been possible. Speaking of Mr UKBuses, his bald spots from the weekend can be seen below.

Bald Spot 1

Bald Spot 1: The Bald Spot makes an appearance at Aldgate Bus Station.

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 2: The Bald Spot makes an appearance at Liverpool Street Bus Station.

Bald Spot 3

Bald Spot 3: The Bald Spot makes an appearance at Victoria Bus Station.

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