Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lord Mayor's Show

I saw posters advertising the Lord Mayor's Show but forgot about it until I turned on the television today and saw the live broadcast. I actually had the presence of mind to look up the information on their website, on which they gave a detailed schedule of the parade route and said they would to stick to it 'within seconds'. What? This is not Germany, 'on time' is relatively subjective to the English. I saw that it went on for hours, so I figured that if I could get to the Mansion House tube station within sight of St. Paul's (as you can see from the picture below) I might just see the whole thing. I was astonished that as soon as I surfaced from the Tube and hit the curb (or as they spell it here, kerb), here it came.

It was a pageant of pomp, with beautiful uniforms and sprightly bands, interspersed with rather uninspired floats (those expecting something on the order of the Macy's Parade would be dissatisfied), and the occasional antique bus, Rolls and even a steam roller.
This was an accordion band from Ireland. Since much of my childhood was spent being tortured by my own sinister accordion, I had to take this shot.
Towards the end, the pomp reached rather majestic heights when the ornate beyond belief coach of the Lord Mayor came into sight. The new mayor, Alderman David Lewis, leaned out and waved not twelve feet from me but I failed to get a good enough picture to post here. I had to lift up the camera over the crowd of waving flags and other digital cameras so I was shooting blind, and that's just what it looked like. Very disappointing.
A few hours later, there was a twenty minute, free fireworks display on the Thames near Waterloo bridge.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

London Wetland Centre

About a 45 minute walk upriver from me is the London Wetland Centre, as the brochure states "43 hectares of beautiful wetlands created by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in the heart of the capital city."

The marshland is in a well-maintained semi-natural state, with pathways leading to different groups of native and non-native species of water fowl.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Guy Fawkes Night

Nearby Battersea Park hosted a Guy Fawkes celebration on Saturday night. Traditional toffee apples and baked potatoes were on hand, but I chose a hot dog (well, I am an American, after all). It started with a bonfire, followed by about a half hour of fireworks timed to a music track, quite nicely done, but I was a little underwhelmed by its size and scope considering it was advertised the biggest in London and an estimated 50,000 showed up. On the other hand, the fireworks celebrations are numerous and spread over several nights, not just November 5th, the actual Guy Fawkes date.