Monday, 1st May.
Are Liz and Phil in?
Charmari and I arrived in Windsor at about 11am. Charmari had just
arrived in the UK from Australia via the subcontinent. I've made a submission
to the Australian High Commission that all Australians arriving in
London must suffer from jetlag.
Windsor Castle is right in yer face as you emerge from the train station.
The changing of the guard was about to happen just as we arrived. Although all
we saw were blokes with guns marching past us down the street, because we
couldn't get inside the castle. After that little flurry of excitement, we
descended upon the information centre and relieved them of a great many pamphlets.
We stopped off in a church, we found along the way. While we were admiring
the stained glass, a bloke came up to us and started telling us all about the
church. I must confess I didn't pay too much attention to him, because I was
amazed how he smelt like home-made raspberry jam.
Mmmmm, raspberry jam.
A couple stopped us in the park, and asked me to take their photo. I framed
them up, and said "Say...galah!" They did, and I'm sure it will be a wonderful
holiday memory for them both. Unless later that afternoon they had a flaming row
and broke up, vowing never to see each other again. Then of course they might
find the photo later, and be reminded of the good times, and decide to have one
more crack at happiness together. Ahhhh.
After lunch we went back to the castle. No National Trust concessions. Bah!
We soon found out that Liz and Phil weren't in (what's the point of having a
weekend home if you never visit it? and when you do visit it you set it on fire?)
A woman near us collared one of the wardens and started relating her version of
the fire back in 1995, when she was a nearby resident and she could see the smoke
and she thought to herself "I wonder what's going on up at the castle?" and it
wasn't until she heard the fire brigade go past that she realised that something
serious was happening and she thought "I hope Her Majesty is safe" and...poor
The queue for the doll's house was rather long, but the break gave us an
opportunity to talk about deeper matters, something close to both of our
hearts - footy.
I won't bore you with floral descriptions of the royal apartments, suffice to
say I was gobsmacked at the splendour of it all. I hope I have the opportunity
to see the Palace of Versailles before I return to Australia.
In the late afternoon we went to St George's Chapel, which is inside Windsor
Castle, and attended Sung Eucharist. The choir were inspiring. There
was a little confusion at times, because it has been a long time since I went
to a high Anglican service, and neither of us knew exactly when to stand up or
Stand up, sit down, sing, stand up, sing, sit down, stand up.
By the time we got across the bridge, Eton was closed. There were a few
rich-looking kids wandering about with "high street attire". Jules The Flatmate
is an Eton Old Boy. He was telling me this morning that when one of the boys
sees a Master in the street he has to doff his cap, but these days they don't
wear caps in the street so they just raise their index finger. The Master raises his
finger in acknowledgement. I raised my finger to a few blokes who looked like
they could be Masters, but there was no reciprocation shall we say.
We couldn't find anywhere nice to eat, which is a shame, because I wanted to
be able to say that I had eaten in Eton. Aaaaah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha...
Instead we found a Thai restaurant in Windsor, which had the obligatory
dodgy music coming through the PA. Muzak Greatest Hits, I believe. Copped a
bit of attitude from one of the waiters too, cheeky bastard!
When I returned home to Fulham, Jules asked me how Windsor was. I said:
"Went there, ripped it, and left!"