"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on May 4, 2017 by Sioux under General


My niece had arranged a boat trip on the Thames, with a scrummy on-board lunch; and a sunset-views trip up to the viewing deck of the Shard for my sister & I, so I headed for London and our prearranged meeting place at Victoria Station. We walked from there to the pier where we boarded our waterbound transport, and off we went; heading down the Thames. A number of landmarks were becoming familiar to me now, and I got some interesting view points from river level. 

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                                                                                                                                    The Tattershall Castle is permanently-docked 

                                                                                                                                    and serves as a floating pub. Launched in 1934,

                                                                                                                                    the ship was originally used to ferry passengers 

                                                                                                                                    across the Humber Estuary, on the eastern coast.

                                                                      During WWII, it was used to ferry both servicemen and supplies whenever needed; and in 1948, due to heavy fog banks encountered on the Humber, became one of the first passenger ships to be fitted with radar. Due to the high cost of repair work, the Tattershall Castle was retired from service in 1973. During 39 years of service, the ship is estimated to have ferried over 1 million passengers. The Tattershall Castle was towed to its current berth on Victoria Embankment in 1975, and was initially a floating art gallery & conference centre. In 1982 it was opened as a floating bar & restaurant; and over the years has changed hands, been refurbished but still operates as a pub and restaurant, with a fantastic view of the Thames. Behind the ship are the buildings of Whitehall Gardens. 

The superyacht ‘Kismet’ is thought to be owned by Pakistani-American billionaire businessman Shahid Khan, the billionaire chairman of Fulham Football Club. The yacht is 93.87m long and has six bedrooms, three decks and a private sundeck with a pool-Jacuzzi-BBQ area. It can be chartered for a mere £940,000-a-week! (At exchange rate of ZAR15/£1; that would only be in the region of ZAR14m for a week’s rent. I wonder if that includes the staff, food and a few bottles of the bubbly stuff? 

Tower Bridge is dwarfed by The Shard. 

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                                                                                                                After the boat trip we meandered through the streets, 

                                                                                                               making our way to The Shard. Being as how I have so many                                                                 photos of well-known landmarks in London, I decided today was a day for close-ups                                                                     of different and quirky things I spotted; as well as the flora we passed by. The autumn colours in the gardens near Temple Church were stunning! 

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                                                                                                                                                       As I had never visited the                                                                                                                                                          Temple Church, we                                                                                                                                                                     stopped off for a visit. It                                                                                                                                                        is a late 12th-century church                             built by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters, and also served as the royal                                         treasury, supported by the role of the Knights Templars as proto-international bankers. The                                     church is famous for being round, which was a common design feature for Knights Templar                                   churches, and for the 13th and 14th century stone effigies. If floors and walls could talk – what a tale they would tell; some of the tiles on the floor are the originals! Heavily damaged by German bombing during WWII, it has since been restored and rebuilt. Outside the church, there’s a statue portraying two knights, riding one horse. The Knights Templar may have been fighting soldiers, but they were also monks, and having taken a vow of poverty, Knights were simply too poor to each have their own horse. Something that has always fascinated me is the amount of gargoyles on church buildings in this country! 

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Crossing over Fleet Street, we stopped in at

St Dunstan-in-the-West, and then walked down Fleet Street towards St Paul’s

and over the Millenium Bridge. St Dunstan-in-the-West was founded between AD 988 and 1070, and there is a possibility that a church on this site was one of the Lundenwic strand settlement churches, which may pre-date any within the walls of the city. It is not known exactly when the original church was built, but it was first mentioned in written records in 1185. In the early 19th century the medieval church of St Dunstan was removed to allow the widening of Fleet Street and a new church was built on its burial ground. 

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Original wall tiles depicting yesteryear London, still remain on a wall in Fleet Street.

Just a short way away from the church is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, one of many pubs in London that were rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of 1666. There has apparently been a pub at this location on Fleet Street since 1538, and the signboard outside the pub gives clear indication of that fact.

This iron sword rest was erected in 1745 and marked the seat reserved for the Lord Mayor.

Walking over the Millenium bridge, I was

fascinated by what I thought were small

metal pieces of art, affixed to the grooves of the walkway. My sister pointed out that they are in fact created using chewing gum that has become stuck in the grooves! An artist, a

woodcarver by trade, and now known as “The Bubble Gum Man”, decided that as the unsightly gum was there anyway, he would create something interesting from it; and something better to look at than dirty chewing gum! He sometimes spends over 3 hours creating one artwork! 

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This house was built about 1710, the year that St Paul’s was completed so,

despite the plaque on the outside of the house, Wren could not have used it

during the construction, and being as how Catherine of Aragon died in 1536, she would have had to hang around for almost 200 years waiting for it to be built if she wished to shelter here. However the presence of the plaque probably did help save this lovely house from post-war development. There are reports that the 18th century plaque refers to Wren on another Bankside house, and when that was demolished in 1906 the plaque was rescued,                              affixed to a wall near the power station and subsequently lost again,                                                                                                                          presumably for good when that was redeveloped after the war. In 1945 a                                                                                                                  certain Malcolm Munthe acquired number 49 and it was possibly his                                                                                                                          knowledge of the plaque’s existence which perhaps prompted him 

                                                                                                               to create his own, new plaque.  

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Near to the Shakespeare Globe Theatre is a plaque proclaiming the existence of ‘The Ferryman’s Seat’. No-one knows quite how old the seat is and the plaque above the seat makes note of the fact that ‘the age of seat is unknown but is thought to have ancient origins’. It was used as a resting place for the Bankside Ferryman who once operated a water taxi service across to the north side of the Thames and back. This was once a thriving trade, especially up until 1750 when London Bridge was the only other means of carrying passengers and goods across the river.  

We meandered through the streets until we reached our final destination, The Shard. I couldn’t wait! The tower’s privately operated observation deck, The View from The Shard, is on the 72nd floor, at a height of 244.3m! Although I was photographing through tinted windows, the views were spectacular and I managed a few great images. We were also treated to a stunning sunset! 

Tower Bridge with Canary Wharf in the background 

A slow walk back to the station in the early evening ended what had been a fantastic day out.

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Southwark Cathedral looking like a Lego creation 

HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge and The Tower of London

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3 responses to “Day tripping in London town!”

  1. Derrick Baney says:

    Really cool stuff – keep on going gal
    Love and Kisses

  2. Chez says:

    Wow what a fascinating trip for you! Love reading every single piece of information that you write about x x

  3. Chez says:

    Some good pics too i might add :o)

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