I saw the Woman in Black (the play) at the Grand Opera House in York in the late 1980s. It scared the hell out of me back then. The marketing for the play only mentioned the two male actors, as we left the theatre, we were checking windows as we went home.
I bought Susan Hill’s book that year and I couldn’t bring myself to not just read it, but I couldn’t even it have it on my bookshelf, it would give me the shivers, the hairs on the back of my neck would rise.
Even now just talking about the Woman in Black, gives me the chills, walking in London earlier this year I passed the Fortune Theatre on Drury Lane and they were showing The Woman in Black.
Though there are many new buses in London, it still gives me a warm nostalgic fuzzy feeling when I see an old Routemaster still in service, usually as I walk down The Strand in London. These classic old buses epitomise London and though the new modern flash ones are more environmentally friendly, accessible, and “better” I still have a place in my heart for these old red double deckers.
It was sunny, I had a little more time until the train, so I decided to walk from Whitehall to Paddington.
Usually I am rushing so catch the underground, so it was nice to have an extra 30 minutes, so I could walk from the conference venue in Whitehall to Paddington station.
It was cold, but the sun was out and walking in the sun was very pleasant.
Some of the buildings are incredible on Whitehall, but then again it was once a Palace.
I left 61 Whitehall and crossed the road to Horse Guards Parade. Outside Horse Guards were two horse mounted guards getting harassed by tourists who were taking selfies of themselves with the horses in the background.
To think it wasn’t that long ago the tourists would merely take photographs of the guards or would stand next to them as a relative took the photo. The selfie phenomena has changed all that as everyone holds their phone at arm’s length and attempts to get themselves and their family and the horse into the photo. It’s difficult, but much much easier than trying to do that with a 35mm film camera which had no screen to preview the image!
I have walked through Horse Guards a few times and though I am sure I noticed the Turkish Gun before, this was the first time I went up close to get a picture.
The gun was made by Murad, son of Abdullah in 1524. It was captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801. Now it sits outside Horse Guards the home of the British Army.
Next to Horse Guards is a huge incongruous building that can only be described as a bunker. Compared to the Georgian magnificence of Whitehall this bunker is a very crude and brutal.
Looking up online on the train I found out this was the Admiralty Citadel. It is London’s most visible military citadel, and is located just behind the Admiralty building on Horse Guards Parade. It was constructed in 1940–1941 as a bomb-proof operations centre for the Admiralty. Winston Churchill called it in his memoirs as a “vast monstrosity which weighs upon the Horse Guards Parade”.
What is interesting that it was built with the plan that in the event of a successful German invasion, it was intended that the building would become a fortress, with loopholed firing positions provided to fend off attackers.
I did think about walking through St James’ Park, but in the end walked down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace.
Passing by Clarence House there were two guardsmen, who appeared to be playing a marching up and down the road game, not sure what they were trying to do, but no one was watching except me and a couple of Americans. Maybe they were stretching their legs after standing for too long in their sentry boxes.
I was then in front of Buckingham Palace. I was reminded by how effective the CGI was in the Netflix series The Crown. Their recreation of the 1950s Buckingham Palace is very accurate. It was only after watching this video that I realised how much the series was using computer graphics to recreate 1950s London and other locations.
After passing by the palace I entered Green Park and walked up to Hyde Park Corner. Now I have to admit I did think about catching the tube for the final stretch, but no decided to walk through Hyde Park.
I realised I had never seen the Serpentine before, now I have.