Sunday, 9 March 2008

Banana Bread, Bloody Tower, Bridge & Beards

I had a quick look around the White Tower Shop and was impressed by the range of souvenirs from candy and toys to top price mementos and gifts. All the shops at the Tower of London sell pretty much the same merchandise and there is also a selection available to buy online.

Once back out in the open, I wandered around looking at the impressive buildings surrounding me until I remembered my quest to meet the lone woman Beefeater. I headed towards a friendly looking Beefeater who was watching some less friendly looking ravens pecking great pieces of turf from Tower Green.

This particular Beefeater had a beard so I was pretty certain that this was not the female of the species! I felt it would be rude to simply ask where I could find “her”, the nameless, beardless female Yeoman Warder, so I said hello meekly and moved on to the Bloody Tower!

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know Sir Walter Ralegh was imprisoned here three times throughout his life (he also had a beard!) and that his surname was spelt without an “i” despite being taught otherwise at school!

Coming out of the Bloody Tower I lent over a high(ish) wall and took a snap of Tower Bridge. If anybody has noticed that all my photos appear to be a little askew then my considered response is that, being so old, the whole area is wonky and it has nothing to do with my inability to hold a camera straight!

There were quite a few smaller towers that I found disappointing due to the lack of displays and information. Climbing zillions of stairs to glimpse a few scratched words in Latin or a hand print in the wall became disheartening and so I decided to check out the café!

With a quick flash of my London Pass I received a 20% discount in the New Armouries Café which was large, light and clean. Full priced hot drinks cost from £1.40 (this is cheap for London) and they serve hot food from £6.95. I only had a coffee and some banana bread (naughty but nice!) but both were excellent.

As I left the café there was a bit of a commotion outside as a group of soldiers marched past, led by a Yeoman Warder (with beard). I did my best to run ahead and get a photo but that banana bread was weighing rather heavy! I succeeded just before they marched into the Jewel House to change guard.

Having put my camera away, I spotted a beardless Yeoman Warder standing by the Chapel Royal so I made my way towards what I hoped was the elusive female (possibly vegetarian) Beefeater…

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