February 21, 2008

Lunch at the Palace and Lots of Old Dead Guys

On Tuesday since everyone was healthy, it was time to make the requisite trek to Buckingham Palace.

It's a pretty easy place to get to, although since I travel everywhere with a certain child whose bladder must be the size of a walnut, we had to stop twice on the short walk from Victoria Station, just so she could use the loo. Since one of those stops was right by Marks & Spencer, we stopped in and bought some scones and I got some socks, since all this walking has actually worn holes in three of the pairs I brought with me.

I had opted not to try and reach Buckingham Palace in time for the changing of the guard. For one thing, they only do the ceremony every other day during the off season and I didn't know what day it would be. For another, I didn't care to stand knee deep in other tourists. What the kids don't know they missed won't come back to haunt me for at least a few more years. So we arrived at the Palace in time for lunch and since it was a lovely day, we sat by the fountain and picnicked in the sunshine. Here are two of the children having their lunch at Buckingham Palace. It is highly unlikely that they will ever come closer to royalty, which, when one comes to think on it, isn't such a bad thing really.

After lunch and a stop in the royal gift shop, where I resisted such royal kitsch as crown shaped erasers and Buckingham Palace raincoats, we headed over to Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey is quite beautiful inside and out, though the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. amidst the 20th Century Martyrs did raise my eyebrows a bit since I wasn't aware that he'd been murdered for religious reasons. Oops, did that come out, out loud? Pardon my failure of political correctness. I will endeavor to do better next time.

My five year old described Westminster later in her journal as "kind of like a grave church." The kids found the effigies on top of the graves interesting. It was rather fascinating to see how different the faces were. Sometimes one doesn't really expect a very real portrayal of the person inside, but these really did have a decent amount of variation. It was also interesting to see how some were portrayed as being asleep in prayer, while others depict the person as lounging around waiting for the next thing to happen. Walking on the grave markers on the floor was "creepy" according to the eight year old and he endeavored to do so as little as possible.

They both (the five year old and the eight year old), and I say that, because the smaller two slept through the whole of Westminster Abbey, and because they wouldn't have cared much had they been awake, liked the Poets' Corner the best. My budding literary scholar was pleased to see the memorial to Shakespeare and Chaucer's grave. The five year old preferred the plaque honoring Lewis Carroll, since she's much more interested in Alice in Wonderland than the Canterbury Tales.

Neither the Queen's little shack nor the graves of the famous departed really and truly thrilled the kids though. Sure those are must see stops on a London tour, but children just don't see things the way a grown-up does. They much preferred our trip on the next day to a justifiably famous purveyor of fine comestibles.


Hey, this is from the OED:

"In extended (esp. non-religious) contexts: a person who undergoes death or great suffering for a faith, belief, or cause, or (usu. with to; also with of, for) through devotion to some object."

I think it can apply to MLK Jr. Whether his statue belongs in a church is a different question.

Posted by: Ellen at February 21, 2008 08:39 AM

MLK Jr. was a man of the cloth. He died for his religious convictions, struggling for social justice and peace (we sometimes forget that by the time of his assassination, he was opposing the war in Viet Nam). In this way he was no different from other 20th century martyrs like Oscar Romero, Wang Zhiming, and Janani Luwum.

Posted by: Patricia at February 25, 2008 09:59 AM