Sunshine, Soldiers and Big Ben

As you'll know we spent a week or so staying with my friend Abigail who lives in South London. Inconvenient for friendship, but very convenient for a day trip into the city. I asked Bella and Angus what they most wanted to do in London. Bella said, without a moment's hesitation, go to Buckingham Palace. Angus wanted to go on an underground train. That was it, nothing else. Because there were adults coming too we booked tickets for the London Eye - we didn't just want to ride public transport all day. 

We went to the palace first when little legs had the most energy for walking around. You know you're getting near royalty because everything gets very gold and shiny.

The weather all day was bright and blustery with clouds scudding overhead. The light was constantly changing. 

So many tourists. Do you ever look at all those strangers in your holiday photos and wonder who they are and where they travelled from? I do. It fascinates me. All those random people captured on camera, and how many stranger's photos do I accidentally feature in around the world? I hope I remembered to suck in my tummy.

The changing of the guard was approaching and so we found a good spot along the side of a road. Bella and Angus were expectant, to put it mildly.

We weren't disappointed. A band came marching past full of pomp and ceremony and very colourful and noisy too.

Angus has talked of nothing but the soldiers ever since.

We were too far from the palace to see the actual changing of the guard, so we walked up the Mall, past St James's Park and the very tempting looking deckchairs... Trafalgar Square. The kids trailed their fingers in the fountain and we hung around and took lots of touristy photos.

I have to admit that when someone said "Look at that big blue cock!" my first thought was not a bird, and I was slightly disappointed to discover that it is indeed just a very big blue cockerel. 

Lunch next, then a short bus journey to the London Eye. The last time I went there was in 2006 when I was pregnant with Bella. We went about 5pm and the sun was setting over the city. It was incredibly beautiful. Today, we had an alarming big black cloud hovering ominously above us.

It did look quite threatening when we were high up in our little pod.

Then the rain came. It was wonderful to watch it move over London towards us.

And it arrived...

...then just as quickly moved away and brightened up. All in the space of thirty minutes.

I love this shot of the pod above us.

And my boys looking out of the window. Angus needs a haircut.

We felt quite smug about timing our trip just to avoid the rain - especially since I'd recklessly decided that morning that there was absolutely NO need to take any raincoats with us. Last of all was a short tube journey, mainly to satisfy Angus and you never saw anyone ride escalators or sit on a train with such an expression of complete joy and wonder on their face. He just grinned and pointed at things the whole time. Brilliant, all of it.