My usual route was down Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus, then to Trafalgar Square. Then head out to the first place on my planned list. Anyone seeing me marching along and checking the map might have thought I was on a mission to learn The Knowledge, what trainee taxi drivers have to do before they can get a licence.
Anyway, I passed this place a few times, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The photo's are in no particular order. This is the Big Ben clock taken through the railings at night, the flash has lit up the iron work and it looks as though the clock is floating.
Another one taken from Westminster Bridge.
The next two are taken from the London Eye. It was a bit hazy, and I think the glass in the pods is slightly tinted. What a massive place it is.
The ornate stonework at the top of this tower is beautiful, how did they build this so many years ago?
And here is the whole thing, taken from Lamberth Bridge looking over Victoria Gardens.
You can see the scaffolding covering part of the building, next to Big Ben. There is such a lot of building work going on in London at the moment, in preparation for the Olympics. I suppose we must look our best when the overseas visitors arrive.
This is the side opposite to the river side.
And another shot from Victoria Gardens, this time a bit closer.
A few more pics.
You can join a tour of the Houses of Parliament, but I hadn't booked myself in. However, while I was there I asked security at the gate if I could have a look inside. I was delighted to find that I could go in and listen to a business meeting in either the House of Lords chamber or the House of Common chamber. I chose the House of Lords because apparently it is more ornate and interesting architecturally.
It is quite a long walk passing through a large dome shaped hall with a massive chandelier in the centre and small statues stacked three high, on pedestals all around the room. There are huge paintings all around. After going through several security checks, including taking my photograph and issuing me with a pass, I eventually entered the chamber. It was just like you see on the tele. I was on a balcony at the back looking down on the proceedings, there was a narrow balcony all the way round the hall, along the sides was no wider than a shelf.
Around the bottom of the very high walls is wooden panels with ornate carvings. Above that everything is painted gold, with a huge gold throne in the centre at the front. There are large stone statues on pedestals all around the room.
I sat for half an hour and listened and watched, and had a little giggle to myself because several people had fallen asleep. I couldn't understand what they were talking about and I wondered why some of them had bothered to turn up, perhaps they were happy that they had somewhere warm to sit, ha ha. From what I have heard on the radio, I think Prime Ministers Question Time would be a lot better entertainment.
People kept coming in with big brown envelopes and these got passed down the rows untill they got to the the right person. They were very civilised, no squabling, each person putting their hand up if they had something to say, and waiting for their turn. It was like one big boring committee meeting. I suppose somebody's got to do it, glad it's not me.