Sunday, 8 November 2015

2015 - Day Out 15: London "Remembrance Sunday"

It is time to go to Whitehall and pay our respects for all the fallen on Remembrance Sunday, so with poppies at the ready, we make our way through London.

Cenotaph, Whitehall
We are up early and get down to breakfast just before serving starts. The same thing happens as yesterday, drinks, table, loads of bacon and then yogurt. After a few minutes of letting our food go down, we are ready to leave and we make our way from Travelodge Docklands and catch the Docklands Light Railway at East India DLR Station, changing at Canning Town onto the London Underground and onto the Jubilee Line. We arrive at Westminster Underground Station at 09.00am and after tapping out with our Oystercards, we make our way onto Bridge Street, which is closed to traffic and make our way down to Parliament Street, where it is fenced off and we have to make our way through security. Luckily the police are nearby as Mr UKBuses is nervous as he has to takes his wallet out and pass it over to the security team. I head through the metal detector first and do not set it off and have my belongings passed back to me. It is now Mr UKBuses turn and he is visibly shaking as he does not have his wallet on his person, but he is keeping an eye on it as he passes through the metal detector, which does not go off and he is relieved when the wallet and other belongings are passed back to him, the wallet is quickly put back into its right place.

Its the same cameraman!
Security check over, we make our way towards Whitehall, where as we are slightly earlier than last year, we have no problems with getting stuck in the crowds on the way and we easily get to a spot that is a bit closer to the Cenotaph than we did last year, see picture above left. We do have a bit of time to wait before the proceedings start and as we get to 10.00am, the crowds are getting busier and we are getting enclosed in, so it was good that we actually timed it right to get here this year. The cameramen take their places, with a static one and a boom camera situated in front of us, see picture right, with the boom cameraman being the same person that was in front of us last year at The Lords Mayor Show and Remembrance Sunday, is it a case of him following us about or us following him about? Luckily we got some liquid refreshment before we entered the secured area, so we keep our throats lubricated, especially in my case with my cold, ready to sing when the service starts. The bands start making their way to the Cenotaph and start playing Rule Britannia and other songs including the solemn "Nimrod".

The Red Lion, Whitehall
It is just before 11.00am and the dignitaries, politicians and the Royal Family, including Her Majesty The Queen, take their places. Big Ben strikes which starts the service with a two minute silence, followed by the last post, laying of the wreaths, prayers and the National Anthem, which I do attempt to sing with what voice I have left. With the service over and my back seizing up, we decide to have a rest in the nearby "Red Lion", see picture right, so we take a few steps and luckily there are a couple of seats available. With Mr UKBuses being sympathetic about my back, he sends me to the bar to get drinks, which are only soft ones as beer is not yet being served. It is just before 12.00pm and the bar starts serving so a London Pride is purchased and we rest our feet (and my back) for a while so the crowds can get out of Whitehall. After another pint, and just after 01.00pm, we decide to make our way and surprisingly we don't get held up in a middle of a blockage and get straight out of Whitehall and into Parliament Square with no problems. 

The Copthorne Tara Hotel, Kensington
At 01.05pm, we make our way onto the Underground once again, checking in at Westminster Underground Station and onto the Jubilee Line, alighting at Bond Street and with no James in sight we change onto the Central Line where we go to Notting Hill Gate and onto the District Line where we alight and go back to ground level at High Street Kensington. The drinks at the Red Lion take their toll on us so we have to make a quick dash to the McDonald's opposite the Underground Station. After our unplanned break, we make our way to another filming location and we head to the Copthorne Tara Hotel, see picture right, which was used in the "George and Mildred" film. I have never seen the film but Mr UKBuses says there is no difference to the scene and I confirm this after seeing a clip on Youtube. After a photograph is taken, we make our way back to Kensington High Street, where after a few minutes wait, we board a London United service 9, which is a Borismaster but according to the plan should have been a Routemaster Heritage bus. We arrive at Charing Cross and decide to go off plan and instead of busing it back to the hotel, we decide to go Underground once more and tap in at Charing Cross Underground Station and board a Northern Line train to Waterloo, changing onto the Jubilee Line back to Canning Town and then back onto the DLR to East India, arriving back at the hotel just after 03.30pm, where we decide to freshen up and have a rest, well I try to as when I come out of the shower, I didn't hear that the cleaner had come into freshen my room.

Cheers! From The Blind Beggar!
With my shock (mine or the cleaners?) over, I make my way down to the hotel bar to have a quick drink before meeting back up with Mr UKBuses, after meeting up we walk around the corner to get a bus that we have seen parked up at the terminus in Nutmeg Lane many times on all our visits to Travelodge Docklands and have never caught, so we board a Stagecoach London service 277 which takes us to Mile End, where we head past the Mile End Underground Station and wait for our next bus which is a Tower Transit service 25, where we alight at Whitechapel and have a pre-meal pint at our London Regular, "The Blind Beggar", see picture left. With the drink finished, we make our way back outside and catch another Tower Transit Service 25 bus, which takes us to Bank, where Mr UKBuses makes us alight a stop early and we have to discover our eating place, we do eventually find our J D Wetherspoon's "The Crosse Keys" and upon entering, the door is locked and discover that the pub closes at 06.30pm on Sundays! With us feeling hungry we decide to have a look for the nearest Underground Station, where we can make our way to another Wetherspoons which we know would be open.

We find Monument Underground Station and tap in and board a District Line Train to Victoria where we tap out and make our way to J D Wetherspoon's "The Willow Walk" and after finding a table, we order food. Mr UKBuses decides to opt for a Chicken Tikka Masala for a change and after a rather disappointing menu choice, I choose a Chicken Burger. Luckily it doesn't take long before the food arrives and whilst Mr UKBuses enjoys his curry, I find my burger very dry and have to leave half of it. Disappointed with the food, we drink up and make our way to Victoria Bus Station where we board a Metroline service 24 bus to Westminster. We go back Underground for the final time today and jump on the Jubilee Line taking us back to Canning Town, where we change onto the DLR to East India, arriving back at the hotel for 09.30pm. I say goodnight to Mr UKBuses, who retires to his room, I have a couple of nightcaps in the hotel bar before going back to my room and pack my case ready for the journey back tomorrow.

Another good day was had, with another good service being held for Remembrance Day at The Cenotaph in Whitehall. Despite the change of plan, the evening was a success also.

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