A Travellerspoint blog

Time in Watford & London - meeting the rellies

Monday 7th August 1972 - London

We just passed over Ireland and are heading for London. We landed at Heathrow Airport and were met by Aunt Joy and Uncle Phil, Aunty Hilda and Uncle Jimmy, Paul and Hilary. We went home to stay with Aunt Joy and Uncle Phil where they live at Watford. They own a pram shop and are in the heart of everything. Before we went to the Connolly's that night we went to see if Grandma was at home in Bushey. She wasn’t so we went home and found out she was at Uncle Alf’s. All the relations are really nice and I went out like a light.

Tuesday 8th August 1972 - London

Daddy, me and the boys went to the bank to change some money and look around the shops. Afterwards we all caught a taxi to Grandma’s. Daddy left for London before lunch. Lunch was like our dinner and lovely. Afterwards, Grandma’s friend, Aunty Francis came over and the boys and I played games on the enormous lawn at the back. Matthew and I picked daisies and started to make a daisy chain. We had a smashing time there. Grandma’s really nice. We went shopping in Watford and I bought a pair of sandals which cost 75p and a pair of pants. It was Mum’s and Dad’s anniversary and Mum went to London with Daddy to see the pictures.

Wednesday 9th August 1972 - London

Mum, the boys and I went shopping early in the morning. I bought a Princess Tina, stickers, a rubber and bright green nail polish called lolly lime. In the afternoon we caught a bus to Berkhamsted where Aunty Hilda and Uncle Jimmy live. They own a hardware store. Paul was home but Hilary was at Eastbourne. We watched TV and home movies and played. It was great fun.

Thursday, 10th August 1972 - London

We caught a bus to Victoria Station to meet Dad. Then we walked to see the changing of the guards which we found wasn't on. In Green Park, which is just like its name, we ate a lunch of pork pies and donuts and got a whole crowd of pigeons. We threw the leftovers to them. We walked to Piccadilly Circus to catch a round London tour bus, but as it wasn‘t a double decker we didn‘t go. Then we decided to go to the Tower of London and as we were walking to the Underground we passed Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. The towers are immense and in a way beautiful. As we walked through the arch of Middle Tower, the entrance, we saw a Beefeater.

Some of the names of the towers are Middle Tower, Byward Tower, Bell Tower AD1200, St. Thomas’s Tower AD1280, Bloody Tower AD1225 and the Wakefield Tower AD1225. We went to see the Crown Jewels where the queue was really long. The Coronation Regalia is 1. St. Edward’s Crown, 2. Sceptre with the cross, 3. Sceptre with the dove, 4. Jewelled sword of State, 5. Coronation Ring, 6. Ampulla, 7. Armills, 8. Spoon. The Beefeaters had this symbol on them - EIIR which means Elizabeth the Second Regina. An old tradition is that there have to be ravens in the grounds or something dreadful will happen. The names of the six birds at the moment are Merry,

Hectora, Garvey, Kala, Grog & Brorai.

We then caught a ferry from outside the tower to Westminster. These are some places we saw on the way. A column called Cleopatra’s Needle was given to the British from an Egyptian because of Nelson’s victory on the Nile. From the boat we could see St. Paul’s Cathedral which is 365 ft tall to the top of the cross. It took 35 years to be built and is the 2nd largest cathedral in the world. There is a monument on the Thames River for the great London fire where it started in a baker’s shop in Pudding Street. The Temple Gate separates the City of London from the City of Westminster. London (city) is a square mile. The Globe theatre used to be on the Thames. We then had a long journey home on the Underground.

We are staying with Aunty Joy and Uncle Phil still. They’re really nice and Uncle Phil is really funny. We went shopping after lunch and I bought 2 bras, 3 action birds and Mum bought me a top. We were supposed to go to Grandma’s for afternoon tea, but the time just flew and we couldn’t go. Aunty Philippa, Uncle Bob, Ian and Bruce came down from Macclesfield for the weekend. They are really nice.

Saturday, 12th August 1972 - London

I woke up with a rash of spots all over me. When we went to the doctor’s he said my abscess had caused it. It had poisoned by blood which caused the rash. Ian is 3 years old and the cutest little boy. Bruce is about 1 year old with blond curly hair. I love both the boys. Uncle was playing cricket us. Both he and Philippa are nice. At 12.00 Mummy left for London to meet Daddy. We had dinner instead of lunch with rice pudding. Yum. We played with the two girls next door, Tracey and Eliza. They were nice. I love playing the organ.

Sunday 13th August 1972 - London

We stayed home at Watford for the day playing games with Ian and Bruce. Daddy was supposed to come from London to Watford after lunch. He didn’t turn up and at about 4.30 we got a phone call saying he was at Stanmore station because there were no cabs or trains to Watford. He was mad! On the way home we picked up Grandma and Aunty Francis and later on Uncle Alf and Aunty Marguerite came for dinner. Plus Uncle Phil, Aunty Joy, Uncle Bob, Aunty Philippa, Mummy and Daddy. I like them all. The food around here is scrumptious!

Monday 14th August 1972 - London

From Watford Junction we caught an express to Euston. Everything just whizzed by. From Euston we caught an Underground train to Leicester Square, then to Green Park where we got out. We walked through Green Park, which is just like its name, to Buckingham Palace, which is huge, to see the Changing of the Guards. We squeezed our way to the front to wait until it started. There are 2 guards each standing outside their sentry boxes. They wore black pants with 2 red stripes down the side, a red jacket, a black busby and a bayonet in their hands In through one of the huge gates marched a band with some guards behind them and from another gate marched another band with more guards. The guards were stationed and the band played some tunes while 2 men marched up and down the grounds each carrying a flag. It lasted for a long time and got a bit boring. Then they marched out along the road and it was finished. When I saw 2 men marching together I thought it was one because it was so perfect, like clockwork. (I was at the side when I saw this).

We went to have some lunch and had it at a restaurant called the Old Kentucky Restaurant. I had pancakes with lemon and sugar and a pineapple soda. Yum! There was a sign saying all children under the age of 10 who ate all their food got a free lollipop and a certificate. The boys and I ate all our food and I went up to the man and said, "I know I’m a big girl but I’m only 10". He knew I was joking so we all got one.

We then caught a Round London Sightseeing Tour bus from Victoria. These are the places we passed and some interesting facts about them. The BOAC Air Terminal, Chelsea Hospital was built by Wren in 1682-1692 as a home for aged and invalid soldiers. Across the river we could see Battersea Park which included the festival gardens. Also across the river we could see Battersea Power Station of which the giant fluted chimneys are over 300 feet high. The Tate Gallery which is full of British art is celebrating its 75th anniversary and flags were flying everywhere. Lambeth Palace which is near Lambeth Bridge dates from 1450 and is now the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Houses of Parliament are really beautiful right upon the river and were opened in 1852. The Temple Bar memorial in the centre of Fleet Street marks the city boundary where you enter London. There are 2 winged dragons either end of London’s square mile which marks when you are in Westminster. The Central Criminal Court has “ Old Bailey” surmounted by Justice holding sword and scales. This is where all criminals are tried. Wren’s masterpiece, St.Paul’s Cathedral was completed in 1710. It replaced the medieval Gothic St. Paul’s destroyed in The Great Fire in 1666. The Bank of England holds over 1/3 of the world’s currency and the men who work inside wear pink jackets and black top hats. The monument which commemorates the Great Fire of London is 202 ft. high and was erected in 1671-7 and has 311 steps. The present London Bridge is the third on this site, the second being moved to the USA.

The HMS Belfast was the largest cruiser ever built for the Royal Navy and is now a permanent naval museum. It is moored opposite the Tower of London. The Tower Bridge was built in 1894. The centre span can be lifted hydraulically to allow ships to pass. We drove over it. The Tower of London, the city’s ancient fortress built by William the Conqueror now houses the Crown Jewels. For centuries it was a place of royal murder. Cleopatra’s Needle from her city of Heliopolis and over 3,500 years old. Its twin is in Central Park, New York. The clock tower, Big Ben, is 320 feet high. Westminster Abbey founded by Edward the Confessor in 1605. The abbey has seen every coronation since its foundation. No. 10 Downing Street is the residence of the Prime Minister. The horse guards by William Kent about 1750. In front the splendidly dressed sentries of the Household Cavalry. The guards change every 20 minutes. Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar square, the column is 184 feet high and Nelson is 18 ft more. The lions at the base are by Landseer and the fountains are by Lutyens in 1948. Buckingham Palace, the home of the Queen. Outside, every morning at 11.30 you can watch the famous ceremony, the Changing of the Guards. Green Park is 53 acres of tree-studded grasslands. Piccadilly Circus is the national meeting place. Marble Arch was built by Nash as a gate to Buckingham Palace, but as it was too small to let the carriages through it wasn’t used. Then it was the end of the tour. I didn’t mention all the places, only the ones I thought interesting.

Tuesday, 15th August 1972 - London

We caught an express to Euston and then an underground rain to Oxford Circus. From there we caught a bus to Battersea, which is by the river. When it opened at 1.00, we went in and looked around. There was a free game of bingo which if you got a full house you won a prize. I won it! The prize was a biro. The first ride we went on was a “joy glider”. We all went on it. You take a mat and walk up all these stairs until you get to the top where you sit on your mat and go whizzing down. We went on it twice. Next, we went on the Water Chute. It was triffo! In these cars we went up a steep hill, around a corner and went whizzing down the hill into the water. We went on this 3 times. Matthew and I went on the Satellite which was smashing. It went round and round and Matthew and I were really dizzy. Afterwards the 3 of us went on the Whirligig which went so fast that we were dizzy. Stephen and I went on the Octopus which was OK. In the Ghost Train I was terrified. It was pitch black. In the Haunted Mirror Maze I went in with the boys and was terrified. I kept getting lost in the pitch black darkness. In the mirrors I was really queer shapes. It was smashing at Battersea Park. In the evening we went to Jacky’s and Jimmy’s. Later on Colin and Elaine came. They’re all very nice. So is Nicky, Jacky’s son.

Wednesday 16th August 1972 - London

After lunch Uncle Phil and Aunty Joy took us to Whipsnade Zoo which is on the outskirts of London. First of all we went to the Children’s Zoo where lots of babies are. In a great big cage there are Coatis which look a bit like a racoon. They have long noses and come from South America. In the next cage there were Prairie Marmots who were very small and just stared at you with their little faces. One of the ponies inside its stable bit off a girl’s button and swallowed it. The horse was a beautiful creamy white. The donkey never stopped hee-hawing. The beautiful jersey calves looked up at you with their big beautiful wistful eyes and blink their long lashes. The goats which belonged to Queen Victoria and were beautiful and white. When I patted a kid the mother came up to me. In a pond were beautiful pink flamingos standing on one leg. A llama calf which had its bottom to us was doing its business and everybody was laughing. It turned its head around and had a most hurt expression on its face. A mynah bird which was beautiful with colours of black, red, orange and yellow can talk and whistle, but we only heard it do the wolf whistle. There was a great big stable full of guinea pigs and in the corner was huddled a black rabbit and a white one. The dormouse was beautiful with its big eyes. There were 2 four feet long Royal Pythons. They were big.

The foxes were all asleep in a corner when we saw them. They have big ears to help them hear the sounds of insects and other small animals when they are out hunting at night. There were spotted deer and one licked me and nuzzled me. They were gorgeous with their big eyes too. We got back in the car and went to see the rhinos. They were big, ugly, grey things, not at all pretty. We saw two kinds, the Great Indian Rhinos and the Black Rhinos. The flamingos were very beautiful in shades of a gorgeous orange. Next were the camels and they let us pat them. We looked in the mouth of one of them and its teeth were yellow.

The elephants sprayed dirt all over themselves so it looked like they were brown. Their skin was rough and scaly. The American bison is very huge and has brown shaggy fur. The antelopes are really beautiful and graceful. The polar bears were hilarious. The mother just kept pacing up and down near the fence while the baby was swimming and playing with the tyres in the water. He kept putting his head through the tyre, doing somersaults, diving and sticking its feet out of the water. The Kodioc bears and brown bears are big shaggy things and live in a deep pit. The Rhesus monkeys were hilarious and the baby one was funny. It kept jumping on its mother and when he did, she bit him. There were plenty more animals I didn’t mention. I will never forget that day. We also saw a thatched roof on the way home.

Thursday 17th August 1972 - London

We caught an express to Euston and then an underground to Westminster. Westminster Abbey is beautiful. It is so beautiful you can’t describe it and can’t imagine how men in those days could have built such a place. It is enormous in size. We went to see the chapels of all the dead people. Most of the writing on the graves is in Latin. There is a tomb of Princess Sophia in her cradle. She is the infant daughter of James 1st. Sophia died the day after her birth at Greenwich in 1606 and Mary her elder sister died at the age of 2 in 1607. The Latin inscription on Sophia’s tomb begins “Sophia, a royal rosebud untimely plucked by death…..” There are tombs everywhere. We then went to see the Horse Guards at Whitehall. Their clothes are different and their jackets come right over their knees. We patted the horses and went to have lunch. We had it at the Jolyon Restaurant. After lunch we went to Trafalgar Square to feed the pigeons. You buy some seed in a cup for 3-½ pence. Some people had them all over their arms and head. One pigeon sat on my arm. They pecked the seed out of my hands. Trafalgar Square is really beautiful with Nelson’s Column, the fountains and millions of pigeons. On Regent Street is Hamley’s, London’s biggest toy sop. It was great. Uncle Alf and Aunty Marguerite took us out to a Chinese meal at the Blue Jade. I was bloated. We also saw their colour TV. It’s great.

Friday 18th August 1972 - London

In the afternoon we went to see the pictures at the end of Aunty Joy’s street. Just the boys and I went. The films were Love Bug and Old Yeller. It was the second time I had seen the Love Bug buty it was hilarious as before. Old Yeller was really sad and I had a bit of a sniffle. So did some others. They were both really good. I stayed up late to watch Miss United Kingdom 1972. Miss England won it.

Stephen & I at Whipsnade zoo

Stephen & I at Whipsnade zoo

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in United Kingdom

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