Guiding opens Doors

>>  Saturday, June 18, 2011

Well figuratively speaking it does, more literally it gets you to steps (stick with me!)

We took our Brownies to London last weekend. If you are a city dweller then you might not raise a hair at this but for country girls, most of whom had never been to the city, it's a huge thing. It was also a great responsibility for the Leaders too. 

We went down by train on Saturday morning and then straight out to Crystal Palace for a day in the park.  We came back into London for a spot of sight seeing at Westminster and a walk along the embankment to Pizza Hut.  We walked back to the Eye and had a capsule to ourselves just as the sun was setting.

After a sleepover at Baden Powell House and breakfast we hot footed it to Downing Street. (I'm getting to those steps!)

This is the side of the security gates you don't normally see!

Oh yes indeedy! We had prearranged a trip right up to the front door.

The police there were so lovely and friendly even with one hand on the automatic weapon they had tales to tell and made us very relaxed and welcome.
But that's not all dear reader, do you recognise these gates?!  Now look at the curve!  Yes indeedy, we are inside Buckingham Palace forecourt to see The Changing of the Guard.
Photography is not allowed hence the odd out of pocket shots, but I had to have something for you!

But that's not all, because it was raining so much, the lovely police lady took us right up to the house and allowed us to stand in the covered front doorway!  See the cream brick to the side of this photo? That's the Palace.

The Brownies sat in neat rows on the steps covered in red carpet.

We decided that now we were elegantly undercover we should take off our coats and show the crowds watching us who we were and how smart we were.

Well where else would you hang your coat than on the Queen's front door knob!  Honestly, you just can't take some people anywhere!

The Change was a wet change, so not much happened really, no band, no pomp, no ceremony, just a few Guards marching.

I think the Police felt a little sorry for us. When it was time to leave they said "we are afraid we are going to have to take you out of the far gate" and they walked us the full length of the front of the Palace, right under the balcony. They slowed down at each archway and made sure we had a good glimpse through. We walked past each Sentry in their box and one winked at us! Very naughty!

After we left the Palace we walked up the Mall to Nelson and the Olympic Clock.  Then onto McDonalds at Kings Cross before home.

What an incredible weekend!  The Brownies will not really understand how lucky they have been until they are a bit older and go to London again and realise that not everybody gets to be 'the other side of the gates'. And in fact it's only Guides, Cubs and Scouts that have this privilege at Buckingham Palace.  I think we were exceptionally lucky because there was only us there that day and the rain was really dreadful, but the girls didn't let us down they stood still, and happy through it all and we were very proud of them.

And before anyone leaves a comment about how good I am for taking the girls, I will point out I went into full stress meltdown the day before (mainly down to ill health I think) but only the steadfastness of our Brown Owl who arranged the entire trip kept me sane!

We are a good group of Leaders who work well together and I take my share of responsibility. (Herding tired little Brownies on the Tube felt a lot like herding cats!) But this time the praise goes to our Brown Owl (I have to say that she will be reading!).

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