Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Tuesday: Up the Elephant and on the deck

Before I go any further I’d like to explain the over-emphasis, the almost obsession with the war - Don is infatuated with all things military (he has daily “ablutions” and would eat out of a billy-can if Lorna let him). I mention this purely because Charlie, on hearing that we were heading to the Imperial War Museum and HMS Belfast today, asked me if I were feeling a little maudlin. I’m wondering what she’ll say when she hears that we managed to slip in an ad-hoc visit to Churchill’s Bunker and the Cabinet War Room as well.

But anyway, Don was in his element at the Museum, back rigid he almost marched his way around the gigantic building. It was a shame - the bright red T-shirt he was sporting rather ruined the effect. We left him to it at one point and Lorna and I headed outside for some fresh air and some pollution. Photo opportunities weren’t plentiful - security guards eye you suspiciously if you so much as delved into your bag but I promise to put a selection of pics up here - or even on Flickr! If I can work it.....

Back to the war effort and onwards to Churchill’s War Rooms. I’m almost ashamed to admit that two visitors from Vancouver are more adept on getting us on the right buses than me, a London girl born and bred. It could have something to do with the fact that Don learns all the bus routes of an evening - dad said he completely ruined the football for him on Monday night by shaking his route map during the second half.

It was very eerie in the Cabinet War Room - the fact that so much went on under the streets of London (and still does) but you’d never know to look at it. Churchill famously said “This is the room from which I shall direct the war” and the rooms have been left the same as they were after VJ Day - they were closed down on 16 August 1945 and everything is as it was. The pins in the notices on the wall, maps, everything. Even Churchill’s bedroom had a large map on the wall.
I got the familiar tingling up and down my spine that alerts me to the possibility of spirits wandering around - there were cold patches, warm patches and I swear I heard whistling from a closed off corridor. I was quite pleased when Lorna said she was “gasping for some tea”.

Lunch (again at Hayes Galleria, this time we went Thai, am going to be gigantic if this carries on) and then a tour of HMS Belfast. That was another eerie experience with more than enough tingles to prevent me wandering around some areas of the ship. Either I’m becoming more in tune with spirits or they were strong enough to reach me - which led me to question who, what and why? And were they tiring of the buffoon in the red T-shirt who kept booming “which is port and which is starboard?”.

I know I was.

Guilt presents: camouflage face paint and a camouflagued duck for Mac, a wartime Kellogs mug for David, a home front apron for me (well, it was snazzy) and a bone each from my secret stash (car boot) for the dogs.

4 comments:

Rosie said...

I found the Cabinet War Rooms eerie too and also very fasinating. So much going on underground and the fact that people lived down there and rarely saw daylight. Apparently Churchill's official toilet was in fact where he held official telephone conversations - there was no toilet at all. At least I don't think there was. My history has never been great! The telephone control centre was underneath Selfridges - if it's a fact related to shopping I'm pretty good. I'm rambling now.

Kelly said...

Have you resorted to leftover Hen valium yet???

aims said...

Oh man - how I would love this!!

Now - how did I miss this post? I read Wednesdays first!

I love history stuff -

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Rosie....it was eerie but not as claustrophobic as I'd thought it would be!

Kelly....I have none left, I'm on the Kalms!

Aims....I'm writing as I'm going....it's exhausting me!

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Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.