Saturday 11th July to Sunday 12th July 2015
During our wander around on Friday afternoon, after we had arrived in
we went past the castle just to see the prices and where we needed . to go
Sue and Andy had told us about the "Changing of the Guard" and getting there early, but the best bet of advice we received was from one of the people welcoming guests (tourists) to the castle itself.
She suggested that, if we were sure that we were coming the following day, we should purchase our tickets that afternoon and make sure that they are dated for the following day.
We were sure and Diane did just that.
What a bonus that was - although we had left the boat early and stopped off for a Costa coffee we did arrive at normal opening time, but the queue was horrendous - even that early.
Having the tickets already, we by-passed all of that and with a short delay at the security screening we were inside in less than 10 minutes.
Audio tour equipment picked up, we walked up to area below the main tower - now we were very much early for the 11 am routine with the guards, but it gave us plenty of time to go in and walk around St.George's Chapel.
There is "No Photographs allowed" provision for the chapel and plenty of staff around to catch, warn and
threaten advise you.
They have done away with the block and executioner for these matters.
Luckily they only caught her this once - don't you worry about the photos she took and got away without being caught - I was very close to having to bake a cake with a file in it and visiting Diane on alternate Sundays.
Even without being able to photograph the interior, it is a lovely building to visit - just for the architecture.
Outside, we crossed the grassy knoll to where we could observe the red coats change-over and found our spots.
In what really amounted to just a change of shift there was quite a bit of formality to the whole thing - but nowhere did we actually see the old guard physically clock-off.
|...then the new guard.|
|The old and new guard squaring off|
|The band played along|
|after all of that, the old guard leaves for a couple of pints down at the local|
The new guard were led in through the gates by the marching band, who later played, as part of their repertoire, the theme from The Great Escape - is that really what they should be playing to encourage the new guards - a group who should be, well, guarding things and stopping anyone escaping.
After all of the ceremonies were done and the new lot got down to some proper guarding we strolled back up the hill to visit the State Apartments, where, once again, photography was banned.
Plenty of people to stop you using your cameras, but with a proliferation of phones, it is impossible to stop and yes, you guessed it, we have photographs to show for Diane's MI-5 skills - the camera was in the top button of her dress - the
card under her left breast.
|It was mighty crowded - but you should expect that on a Saturday|
A few years ago I bought the DVD set entitled The Queens Castle which was all about Windsor Castle and I have to admit that I have watched it a few times - it was all helpful in understanding what everything was and that, but seeing it all live and essentially up close beats watching a TV screen any day.
Before we left the State Apartments we were able to have our tickets "endorsed" which allows us to use them again (and again) for the next 12 months - so we decided that we had had enough for the day and would come back again on Monday when the crowds were less - time to head back to the boat for a rest and get things ready for the BBQ this evening.
|Diane with a salad (a rare picture) and Andy with a beer (not quite so rare)|
After a long day on Saturday - all of it totally enjoyable, we had a more relaxing day, really only venturing out for a carvery lunch at The Watermans Arms (a rating of 7 out of 10) and then just popped into town to top up milk supplies and also buy half a lorry load of fudge - the wallet was lighter but the load to carry back was enormous.
|Haven't you heard the one about the Englishman, the Irishman and the Australian|
who walk into a salad bar....?