Saturday, October 3, 2009

Trip to England - Part 6

Our Wednesday started out with sleeping in,an acne-cream-mistaken-for-toothpaste fiasco (thankfully it was realized before it was used!), a sleeping-pill-accidentally-taken-at-8:15AM disaster, the power in our room going out, and getting a call from Jennie (our tour leader) at 8:45 saying that she left a message last night saying that we were going to meet in the lobby at 8:15. Our answering machine at the hotel didn't work. Great. Thankfully, the day got better from there! :-) The group went on in order to make their appointment, and Matt and Lindsay kindly waited for us as we frantically ran around getting all our things in order for the day and grabbing a roll-to-go from the breakfast buffet. We ended up getting to Greenwich (our destination for the entire day) only 20 minutes after we had originally planned. Our morning was free, so we started off by wandering around the Old Royal Navy College yard.

The College was built to flank Queen's House, the building in the center background.

First stop was the Painted Hall. A very impressive entirely painted room (designed by Christopher Wren in 1698) that was originally intended to be used as a dining hall. After taking 19 years to paint, it became too grand and too much of a tourist attraction to be used as originally intended.

A fun faux window; there were 3 real windows in the room, so in order to preserve the symmetry, they painted a window for the 4th!

Just outside is the Colonnade. Look familiar?

How about now?

So of course we had to take some pictures.... ;-)

And a picture of the back to satisfy a certain someone.....

The Royal Observatory

Next up was the Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian. We had been looking forward to this, after all, it's not every vacation that you can stand on the Prime Meridian! :-)

Inside the Octagon Room which was originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren to be used to observe eclipses, comets, etc. We took this picture before we realized that there was no photography allowed.... Oops!

At the Observatory, they had several exhibits telling the story of the attempt to find an accurate way to calculate longitude. After reading 75% of the information, Mom turned to me and said, "Do you understand this?". While I didn't follow everything, we certainly came away with a big appreciation for all the thought, calculations, and time that went into finding it! We were also kind of glad that Dad didn't come with us. If he had, we would have been there for at least 2 hours! :-)

In the eastern AND western hemispheres!

The view from the Observatory. Queen's House and Old Royal Navy College in front, ugly modern junk in the background. ;-)

Next up was our tour of Queen's House, designed in 1616 by Inigo Jones for James I's wife, Anne. While it really isn't spectacularly attractive from the outside (at least in my opinion), the inside is a different story!

Queen's House was also used in the filming of Little Dorrit. The main entry room (or whatever it's name is!) was used for the first room in the Circumlocution Office. For filming, they added bookshelves to make it into a small room (it is really very large!), while still being able to highlight the awesome floor!

The Tulip Stairs, named for the tulip designs on the railings. It was the first centrally unsupported staircase in England.

And was also used in Little Dorrit, also for the Circumlocution Office. It was such a beautiful staircase! *sigh* Maybe I could have that in my house, too! ;-)

After seeing the delights of Queen's House (and being stopped by inquisitive employees!), we made our way to the Fan Museum, stopping by a charming cafe for a latte and iced coffee. We met up with half the group for a tour of the Museum, which is 2 converted Georgian townhouses filled with fans!

This was one of my very favorites (from the 1910s, I think)

This impressive fan may look like lace, but it's really carved ivory!!

The Orangery- not as nice as Kensington's, but really, who am I to complain about tea in England?!?

After our tour, the whole group met in the Orangery for tea, scones, and cake (a very common combination, we found! Also very sweet... ;-) ). Jema Hewitt came as our guest speaker and shared pictures of some of her lovely creations!

Our group (and Jema!) all together one last time before part of the group left for home. And yes, I'm hiding behind Catherine. I wanted to make sure my running shoes didn't make it in the picture! :-D

Stay tuned for more Little Dorrit and Dickens fun- up next on Day 7!!


  1. Having not seen Little Dorrit I can't say I recognize any of those locations - but they are wonderful nonetheless. :-) I am having such a hard time not coveting! It was really cruel of you to not take me with you...

    "We were also kind of glad that Dad didn't come with us. If he had, we would have been there for at least 2 hours!" LOL!!

    That staircase is sooo... what's a good british word... ah, brilliant. :-) Did it lead to anything or was it purely ornamental?

  2. Yeah, you definitely don't want to start your day off with a mouth full of acne cream. I'm told that my Grandpa, who is now deceased, once started his day off with a mouth full of Brylcreem (think hair grease like greasers used in the 1950's). My Grandpa accidentally grabbed the Bryl instead of toothpaste. I've gotta say that I'd sooner have a mouth full of Bryl instead of putting the wrong dentures in my mouth, which is what my Grandpa once did later in life when he mixed up his with my Grandma's. Fun times, I'm sure. ;-)

    The inside of the Queen's House looks awesome!

    BTW, it gets me that a few weeks ago you went hiking in some sort of dress-shoe-looking footwear but you couldn't survive London without running shoes. Clearly, you need to man up. ;-)

  3. Kathryn,

    *gasp* Horrors! You haven't seen Little Dorrit?!?!! I think we'll have to disable your commenting ability now! Seriously though, you NEED to see it! The next post will also make more sense if you do... ;-)

    I'm not sure about the staircase, it was roped off... Yet another reason why it would be fun to make movies.


    One of the girls on the trip told us about when her brother accidentally used muscle relaxant instead of toothpaste. Of course then his mouth was numb....

    LOL!! I actually had never noticed my inconsistency in footwear! In my defense, we were only hiking one day as opposed to a week and a half. Also, one day of walking (with us) in London was just as much, if not more than the casual hiking we did that day... Your comment still made me laugh, though. :-)


  4. Lily - You. Are. So. Pretty. I LOOVVVE your dress!! Simply gorgeous!
    Your adventures in London are really making me want to go there! How about a Riggenbach/Yen girls tour of the whole place for...say, a month???
    Keep the posts coming!!!!!!!

  5. Lovely, lovely, lovely, m'dear!! I've enjoyed each post thus far, but this one is one of my favorites...there are pictures of you in them! :)

    In spite of all the accidents, it looks like y'all had a good time. Looking forward to day 7!

  6. *falls to knees imploringly* PLEASE don't disable my commenting privileges!! I can explain. Little Dorrit is Dickens, correct? See, I dislike Dickens for movies, he is too depressing. After seeing Great Expectations (Masterpiece Theater) I said, "No more Dickens!" That is one of the 3 worst movies EVER! So, this accounts for my never having seen Little Dorrit.
    Perhaps you disagree and still think I should be banned from your blog... but at least I go having plead my case.

    P.S. Is that dress one of your new ones? Lovely! What's it made of?

  7. sigh..... i want to go to England. I want to see all of those places whilst wearing appropriate historical attire. I want to meet all of you lovely Sensibility ladies and have scones and tea together.

    hmmm, I rushed through my devotional this morning. Is my humanity showing? *blush*

    Jeremy, I had to laugh at your story. My brother used to use Brylcream on his hair and he had a mouthful of it on his toothbrush on more than one sleepy morning. Precious memories, how they linger;)

  8. Tara,

    Ooooh, yes! A Yen/Riggenbach trip would be simply wonderful. Mom and I are already "planning" our next trip, so you're welcome to join in! ;-D And I agree, next time it needs to be a month!


    I'm sorry, but your excuse is insufficient. At our house, we consider the best known Dickens (Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities) to be the least typical. I'm actually not sure why OT and GE are the best known, as they are very depressing... I'm sorry you started with GE; It seems like practically everyone does, but there are MUCH better Dickens stories out there! Yes, Dickens can be depressing at times, but we have really enjoyed Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, David Copperfield, and Little Dorrit- they all have happy endings. If an 800 page book intimidates you, all of the recent movie adaptations are very good! I've had several people who "don't like Dickens" really enjoy them. Dickens is one of my very favorite authors, so please give him another chance! :-)

    Yes, this is one of the new dresses. It's made from an embroidered lawn from JoAnn's a couple years ago. When I bought it, I intended to make it into a regency dress, but wanted to wait for more inspiration. The funny thing is that I've seen at least 3 other people online make the same fabric into regency dresses, too! :-) Great minds...