Taking a Tour Inside Parliament ...
A hectic and fun day today. Dad and I awoke early this morning to walk to Victoria Station this morning, in order to buy my plane ticket. We arrived at around 7.30 a.m. and had no problems. So that detail has now been taken care of.
Dad said the family all enjoyed seeing "Starlight Express" immensely last night, which was good news. He and I had coffee and apple danish at the train station, which was empty because of a rail strike that is going to go on for one day. So as a result, we had to rely on our feet or on taxis for transportation today.
We walked back to the hotel (after buying a Daily Telegraph newspaper) and had a proper breakfast. I showered, packed, and we were out of the room at a little past 10. I dropped my bags off at Rosemary's flat, and then set off to find a room for Mom and Dad (Angela's flat did not work out for them.) In short time we found one for them, which was basic but nice, and they checked in.
Next, we took a walk to the House of Parliament, though we then decided to catch a taxi in order to save time. During the ride, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my copy of the Daily Telegraph. I was supposed to have a copy in hand and use it to flag down Sally Hallam, a friend of Dr. Morrison's who works as a secretary for the Daily Telegraph's political correspondent in the Parliament building. Fortunately, it wasn't a problem that I didn't have the newspaper and we met up with Sally without difficulty. (Picture #2 is the permit that gave us access to Parliament.)
At this point, Mom, Dad and Angela left to take a boat trip down the Thames River, and Dr. Morrison and I joined Sally to begin our exclusive tour of Parliament.
It was yet another memorable experience, as we walked around the floor of the House of Commons, which is much smaller than we expected, as well as other vital parts of the building. It was a great tour, and it was really nice of Sally to to take time out of her schedule to show us around.
Next we had an opportunity to see the House of Commons in action, which was quite remarkable. Although Mrs. Thatcher and Neil Kinnock were not there today, we still got to see some action. They were debating trade and industry, which was difficult to follow because of the style and mannerisms of their debate... frequent cat-calls and "here-heres" when one person spoke. We stayed there for 45 minutes, but left during the questions and answers. The reason? They were on question 10 after 45 minutes, with 91 to go. (Picture #3 is a magazine produced for Parliament; Picture #4 is the agenda for the business of the day for the House of Commons.)
So we then headed over to the House of Lords to see them in action, though here I am using the term "action" quite loosely. They were discussing what to do about Hong Kong, which is an interesting topic. The British are planning on turning it over to China in 1997. Unfortunately, it was presented in a far less exciting manner than the style of the House of Commons. In fact, we noticed that several of the Lords were actually asleep during the proceedings! If only we could've gotten to see this debate in the House of Commons.
Well, after only about 10 minutes of this, we left the very posh House of Lords chamber. I mailed two post cards, to Viv and to Sam, from inside Parliament to get the special cancellation from it's post office. And then we left.
Outside I took a few pictures (Pictured #1 is a compilation photo of several angles of Parliament that I shot, with Dr. Morrison standing in the foreground.), and then we walked along the Thames River until we reached the National Film Theater, where after a coffee we entered the Museum of Moving Images (MOMI). It was a fabulous place that I could've easily spent all day exploring. (Pictures #5 and #6 are brochures from the MOMI.)
It chronicled the history of film, and presented it very well... and since Dr. Morrison and I are film buffs, we had a wonderful time. The highlight of the experience was a section of the museum where we saw how a television production is done. There, they had a freeze-frame camera, a television interview area, a television news report display where you read from the cue TV and appear on camera, and something where it makes you appear like you are flying over the Thames.
They also had a Charlie Chaplin exhibit in honor of his 100th birthday, which was great, since he is one of my film heroes. I bought a badge and a book on Charlie Chaplin. (Picture #7 is the book cover.)
When we left the MOMI, it was a bit later than we had anticipated it would be, so we grabbed a taxi and dashed back to my parent's hotel, where they had been waiting for awhile. We then went to dinner at the Lime Tree Hotel, located across the street from my parent's hotel. It proved to be a very interesting meal.
First, our table was outside, and had a waitress that later told us she had a Yugoslav/Italian accent. She was very nice, but it was difficult to understand what she was saying at times. Then there was the gardener: A bizarre man who thought Angela was my daughter and that Mom was my wife. This was funny, but this guy was not playing with a full deck. (Picture #8 is Dr. Morrison, Mom and Angie at the Lime Tree Hotel.)
Well after that experience, we grabbed a taxi and went back to the Royal College building, grabbed some bags, and Mom & Dad returned to their hotel while Dr. Morrison, Angie and I took a taxi to Rosemary's flat. I think I have taken more taxi rides today than I have the entire previous nine months.
The rail strikes chaotic effect seems to have been ill judged. The traffic surprisingly ran smoother today. Great! I love seeing strikes get shattered.
At Rosemary's we all talked for a bit, but I was in bed by 12.30 - earliest in awhile!