Yesterday, Thursday 17th June 2010, we went back to London. The reason we chose that day was because the weather forecast given the day before was for clear skies and sun all day. They were lying, of course, but more of that later. This trip turned out to be less satisfactory than previous trips for a number of reasons.

 
The first problem turned up soon enough when we had to change from our mainline train to the Central Line on the Undergound. There was a train waiting in the platform so we got on and sat down just in time to hear an announcement from the driver to say that the train wouldn't be going anywhere because of a signal failure further along the line. Luckily at this station we also had a choice of the Jubilee Line or the DLR. We were aiming for Piccadilly Circus so we took the Jubilee Line to Green Park and then one stop on the Piccadilly Line to Piccadilly Circus. We got there in the end.
 
We emerged into bright sunshine and I took a few more photographs of Eros. Eros is actually an imposter. Did you know that it isn't actually meant to be Eros but his twin brother Anteros?
 
To answer Tracey's query about the traffic – it is still not going around 'Eros' as it once used to but passes it by on one side.
 
 
We headed off down Haymarket to Trafalgar Square where we had a brief foray into the National Gallery to get a cup of coffee and to use their toilets. Back in to Trafalgar Square for a few more photographs then along the Strand.
 
 

 We noticed by this time that there was a substantial amount of cloud building up. There were some patches of blue sky but not many. This view of the Strand shows the church of St. Mary-le-Strand in the foreground and showing beyond is the spire of St. Clement Danes.

Nearby was the entrance gateway to Somerset House which used to hold public records such as birth certificates but now, in their own words, it is "An inspiring space for art, culture and creative exchange" whatever that is but it is a pretty impressive building.

 
 
At the end of the Strand near to where it changes to Fleet Street we passed the Royal Courts of Justice
 
 
and then we stopped to look at the George Inn which is nearly three hundred years old.
 
 
A little further on was Twinings tea shop which has been here since 1706 and was where Queen Anne and Christopher Wren used to buy their tea.
 
 
This building, in Fleet Street, survived the Great Fire of London and was built in 1625. It used to be the 'Wig and Pen Club' but is now, as you can see, a Thai Restaurant.
 
 
We were now back at a location we'd visited on our last trip, the Temple, and as there was now a lot of cloud about (so much for the weather forecast) which made trying to get sunlit photographs rather long winded we decided to have lunch. Surprisingly there are two cafes in the Temple grounds and we chose the 'St. Clements Cafe and bar'. They have a rather eclectic mixture of chairs and tables with the wooden tabletops left bare but the food is good. You can, in fine weather, have your meal in the garden if there is a vacant table (it's very popular).
 
After lunch we were hoping to see the interior of the 16th century Middle Temple Hall which is the building on the left in the top photograph below with the interior, hardly changed since it was built, in the lower photograph.
 
 
 
That is a seriously impressive double-hammerbeam roof and I won't patronise you by explaining that term as there are those of us who purport to know all things Tudor who will probably be forthcoming with that information (without cheating by looking it up on the Internet).
 
Middle Temple Hall is next to Middle Temple Lane which leads down to the Embankment. This is the impressive archway at the bottom of Middle Temple Lane looking into the lane from the Embankment.
 
 
Back out in Fleet Street we saw Ye Olde Cock Tavern. Apparently the narrowest building in Fleet Street, and looks it, as well as the oldest having been founded in the reign of Henry VIII.
 
 
We had found, prior to our trip, a book called 'One Man's London' which featured walks in London and which, in one section, described the area north of Fleet Street as a maze of little alleys, lanes and squares of the sort one might expect to find in Dickensian scenes. The book was written in the 1980s and we were very interested in exploring this area. We soon found one of the alleys mentioned, Red Lion Court, which led to the Red Lion Inn except that it didn't. There was no sign of the inn and after a while we realised that although the alleys and squares were still there the buildings had been demolished and replaced with ghastly modern office buildings .:bawl:
 
That was the biggest disappointment of the whole trip. We did, however, find a few remaining locations. One of the passages is Clifford's Inn Passage which leads to the gateway of Clifford's Inn, one of the oldest Inns of Chancery (1340) which has since been demolished although the gateway remains.
 
 
There was also Gough Square and Dr. Johnson's House nearby.
 
 
 
We made our way up to Holborn and emerged by Staples Inn which I photographed on a previous trip but at that time we forgot to have a look at the courtyard behind the facade. This time, however, we did look.
 
 
In appearance it is remarkeably like the other inns of court such as Lincoln's Inn and the Temple which shouldn't really come as a surprise. After leaving Staples Inn we made our way to the British Museum.
 
 
This was my second visit. My first visit was about sixty years ago. I can see this becoming a habit if I'm not careful. Amanda has been much more recently than I have and she didn't recognise this bit.
 
 
We decided it must have been changed relatively recently. A very pleasant space.
 
We were getting quite tired by this time but we wanted to see at least something of the exhibits and although we were feeling a bit droopy we didn't feel quite as bad as this chap looked.
 
 
I was that thin when I was 18 but probably not as good looking. If some parts of the image look a little odd it's probably reflections in the glass. I really needed a polarising filter for that but don't have one for the new camera.
 
We saw the Elgin Marbles in the Parthenon Gallery including Amanda's favourite – the one with the bull on it.
 
 
 
We also managed a bit of Egyptian/Assyrian stuff.
 
 
We managed to see only some of the Greek, Egyptian and Japanese galleries but eventually decided to stop, as we were so tired, and make our way back to the train and home. I took more pictures in the museum than I've shown here although the rest will probably appear on the main web site pages eventually.
 
That's the end of the current trip. If you stand around for a while another one may come along soon.