Friday- This morning Mr. Gary’s took Dot to the airport so they were gone when I woke up. We each got our own breaky at the house, plain toast for me since I’m not over whatever this bug is. We left the cozy flat with hopes we will return on the way home since we fly out of London then as well. The subway was clanky and noisy as usual and everyone had earbuds in which is a common trend here. Not necessarily more than anywhere else probably, but it seems like it. I’m always amazed at how many stories underground we go to ride the tube. We spend a long time on some of the escalators that bring us up from way deep down.
Our first stop was to a little boat on the Regent Canal. Mrs. Dot had recommended it to Morgan so he surprised me by taking me there because I do love a good bookstore and this one was on the water! Unfortunately the internet was incorrect and the bookstore aptly named “Word on the Water”, was closed so we spent time looking at the other houseboats on the canal instead. They can stay in one spot in the canal for 2 weeks with their boats before they have to move to a different location. Its a romantic thought- to live on a canal in a houseboat full of books and plants, floating along with Morgan. We may have to put it on our bucket list.
After some more tube riding, we made it to Westminster pier and got tickets for a one-way Thames River cruise. I loved it. We had a good tour guy, which always makes the difference, and he gave lots of facts while we floated along. The Thames is quite brown although they say it’s fairly clean for being an industrial river. It was windy so that was a nice change from the heat. We saw the Prospect of Whitby, the oldest riverside tavern , along the River Thames, and built in 1520. It was a place of questionable characters and later, a judge in the 1700s had a gallows and noose hung over the river where pirates and sea rovers would be hung until they died by hanging, or drowned from the rising tide, whichever came first. The tide is highest at the London Bridge and rises 22 feet so the boat tours plan their trips accordingly. We also went under the Tower Bridge which I thought was stunning.
We ended our river ride at Greenwich where we walked up to the Royal Observatory. Here we paid to go into the Observatory to look at different old telescopes and also to stand on the Prime Meridian Line of the World! We all stood with one foot in the Western Hemisphere and the other in the Eastern. Morgan and I were quite sad here. Dad Kevin was always so enthused about our travels and being there at the Prime Meridian was just what he would have loved. His entire life basically resolved around degrees so we looked in the gift shop and quietly cried together because there was no need to buy him a little keepsake this time like we usually do.
For lunch we had steak&ale pie and mash, which is what they call mashed potatoes. We walked through a street market and then caught a bus back to Westminster Abbey. We had a tip from John Ensz that we should attend Evensong there so we queued and actually went into Westminster Abbey. Like where royals go and their weddings happen and people like Charles Dickens and Sir Isaac Newton are buried! It was the most beautiful church building with lots of stone and a quiet hush even though there were lots of people. We were seated in the “sanctuary” but Morgans keen ears heard they had room to sit by the choir so away we went led by one of the ministers or whatever their title would be. We went walking in front of several hundred people down the main aisle to benches beside the choir. Everyone had to rise or be seated as told by the paper in front of us with the order of the service. Also in special attendance was the High Commissioner of Mozambique and his attendants who we got to watch because their special chairs were across the aisle from us. The High Commissioner also read some Bible verses as one of the items in the service. It lasted around an hour and ohhh my but the choir. Heavenly music. Boys ranging from 10 maybe? To men in their 60s probably. Around 30 total just singing the most beautiful songs with a vocal range that would make you cry. It was the best thing I’ve seen so far. Morgan went and met the High Commissioner of Mozambique afterwards and then we walked to a little Italian place called Satori.
We took our last train over to Victoria Station and boarded our FlixBus that would take us to Paris overnight. We were asked for our vaccine cards for the first time since we left home when we boarded this bus. Unfortunately it seemed one little man didn’t have his and wasn’t allowed to board but he fought the driver and they were both yelling and we happened to be in seats near the front so we watched as they wrestled and the ticket people outside called security, although that’s a loose word for the man that came ambling slowly over. Anyways after more yelling and a man coming onto the bus and talking the crazy man down, we were on the way. We drove to Dover (just like in the Scarlet Pimpernel which is the best book!:) and boarded a ferry to Calais, France. After an hour ferry ride from 3 to 4 ish in the morning, we drove off towards Paris and arrived in the city around 8. I will continue Paris tomorrow. Cheerio mates!