Just Stumps Now – 15th July 2019

Another day of pavement pounding. We walked nearly 15 kilometres of which Toque probably did 10k. She starts to drag behind on her lead so it is then into the lay down mode in your arms until she recovers. We lift her up if there are too many people about as it can be quite daunting for her with lots of feet around. It is interesting to watch people’s reactions when they see her. It seems to be huge smiles or total avoidance. It is not hard to guess who are the dog friendly people. She does really well in the tube and is a good ice breaker.

First order of the day was to watch the duck weed catcher machine come along and try to scoop up as much as he could. There were also about ten guys around scooping up as much as they could by hand. A job they apparently have to do every day. We have since learnt a little bit more about this weed. It is seasonal and only present during the warmer months of July and August. We aren’t quite convinced it is anything to do with ducks eating bread rather than the weed. In that case, the easy solution would be just to bring a heap of ducks into this area of the canal. At first glance a lot of people assume it is an algae bloom with the immediate response of eewwh. Duck weed is not dangerous like an algae bloom but it isn’t overly attractive.

We started out our day by catching the tube back to Trafalgar Square to recommence where we had left off from yesterday. We have been very lucky with the weather as it has been overcast in the mornings when we try to get most of our sightseeing in.

Our progress then went down Whitehall to see the household cavalry who were today unfortunately dressed in their drab uniform.

Cruised passed Downing Street which is oh so heavily fortified.

Di remembers the first time she came to London back in 1982 that you could walk down Downing Street and stand behind a small barrier across the street from the front of the 10 Downing Street door – the good old days, eh.

Passed the Cenotaph where the D-Day ceremony was held for the official laying of the wreaths.

Then to Parliament Square where you have Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and bronze statues of various statesmen. There was one female there though – Millicent Fawcett. For those of us who did a bit of history at school on the Suffragette movement she was one of the leaders. She campaigned for women’s right to vote during the early 20th Century and is seen as one of the most influential feminists of the past 100 years. This statue was not erected until 2018.

We just wandered around the outside of Westminster Abbey this time as we have a great memory of going inside once on Christmas Eve at 11.30pm with the choir singing Christmas Carols. That was very special and we also didn’t want to tackle the queues.

We walked across the Westminster Bridge onto the southern side of the Thames to commence our walk along The Queens Way which is a wonderful pathway to do if your ever get the chance.

Some of you may be aware that the Elizabeth Tower where the bell Big Ben is housed is under extensive renovations. On the 21st August 2016 at 12 noon was when Big Ben officially stopped ringing and we were here doing the northern canals of England. It does still toll on very special occasions but the reason it is turned off is that there would be a large number of deafness claims put forward by the current repair persons on the Tower.

We passed many a fine structure on our walk which of course included St Paul’s cathedral. It dominates the skyline and we have read where there are strict height restrictions when it comes to buildings in the area. It has what it is called a Protected View due to its heritage status – a very good planning policy.

It was then the gherkin and cheese grater on the skyline. Love the way the pommes call their more unique buildings by what they actually look like.

Passed the Tower of London with its swarms of tourists and then…

we walked over Tower Bridge which has to be one of the finest bridge structures ever.

Whilst wandering over we checked out the traffic on the Thames River and both confirmed to one another that we are pleased we have got over the desire to take a canal boat out from Limehouse Dock and up the Thames and back through the Teddington Lock. The wash created by the barges and clippers well exceeded two foot and narrowboats have flat bottoms as previously mentioned in our Blog last week.

It was then the tube back to the basin and our haven of Ange De L’Eau. Not sure where Fraser got the energy but he decided to go for a run around Hyde Park and over to the Albert Memorial. Di and Toque did the more sensible thing and put their feet up!!!

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