Ok, ok, so the bling wasn’t in the stocking, but there’s no harm in dreaming and in London, seeing some wonderful jewellery this year.
The Crown Jewels safely locked up in the Tower of London, have only ever had one really serious attempt made to steal them. They are of course, the second set, made after the infamous Bad King John lost the first lot whilst crossing The Wash. Available for viewing but no purchase allowed, every day of the year. Write in for your invitation to the Ceremony of the Keys when at 9.30pm the Tower is secured for the night – be warned, you can’t take notes, will be under escort!
The Victoria & Albert museum houses over 3,000 jewels telling the story of jewellery in Europe from ancient times to the present day in the William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery. There are some very good copies to be found in the V&A shop so at least you can leave here with something that glitters.
For really up to the minute design visit Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery at the Design Museum which brings together almost 200 objects celebrating the work of contemporary jewellers who have challenged the conventions of jewellery design. Open now until 3rd March 2013.
So now you know what you like, it’s time to see what the wallet can afford. Visit the annual Goldsmiths Fair in the autumn; the ultimate one-stop destination for those seeking out jewellery and silver by the most exciting independent designer-makers in the UK. The Fair is considered to be the most important, prestigious event of its kind in Europe. Goldsmiths’ Fair is all about the bespoke, the original and the one-off. Each piece is hand-made by dedicated craftsmen in small workshops around the country and collectively the Fair represents months of intense skill and artistry.
Finally, back in time to jewellery once jealously hoarded and later discovered in 1912, buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London.This extraordinary and priceless cache of late 16th and early 17th century jewels and gemstones will be displayed in its entirety, over 500 pieces, for the first time in over a century. The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels opens in October 2013 at the Museum of London.
And all of this just in time to start dropping hints for Santa Stocking Contents 2013 – there’s only 355 days to go after all!
Blue Badge tourist guide
Posted in Events, London
Tagged bling, Blue Badge tourist guide, Cheapside hoard, crown jewels, Design museum, goldsmiths fair, jewels, Santa stocking christmas 2013, Tower of London, Victoria & Albert
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Well, there you have it in a nutshell; the Bonfire Poem commemorating the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Memories are long in England & we still remember a plot to overthrow the Protestant King James I whilst he was in the Houses of Parliament. This was High Treason against King & Country; the consequences if caught were unimaginable, if successful, the next king would be a Catholic.
Several dozen barrels of gunpowder were secreted into a cellar under the House of Lords. The main instigator was Guy Fawkes aka Guido Faux who was to set off the charge & escape before it exploded…Unfortunately for him, he was spotted in the cellars at midnight on November 4th, immediately seized by guards & arrested. Fawkes confessed on the Rack, was tried & found guilty. He was dragged behind a horse from the Tower of London to the hangman’s gibbet to be hung, drawn & quartered. He was partially hung, disembowelled, his heart cut out, his head severed from his body, & his body cut in four pieces which, along with his head, was parboiled, so it would not deteriorate too quickly whilst on show on the spikes aligning London Bridge.
As soon as it is dark on Saturday, the country celebrates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot/salutes the bravery of the plotters depending on religious views (or just for fun) by hosting firework displays & lighting large bonfires.
In Kent, Surrey & Sussex, there are huge parades, bands, tableaux & music all in a procession of people carrying flaming torches through the towns.
Effigies are made in the likeness of Guy Fawkes and the Bonfire Poem is recited before the final act of lighting the bonfire when the Guy is placed on the top…and burnt.
In Edenbridge, Kent a further effigy of a public figure unpopular with the people is burnt, but true to the tradition of conspiracy, the identity is kept secret until the very last minute.
It’s a great event to watch or take part in, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as the torchlight procession appears out of the darkness & you are instantly transported back 400 years – a tough time to live indeed.
Posted in Events, Kent
Tagged 5th November, Bonfire Poem, Edenbridge, fireworks, Guido, gunpowder plot, Guy Fawkes, House of Lords, Houses of Parliament, Kent, remember remember, torchlight procession, Tower of London, treason
Evening Standard photo
Accompanied a coach tour from Dover Docks to London yesterday and had one of those special co-incidences of timing that you could never engineer however hard you tried. As the coach went past Westminster Abbey, HM the Queen was coming out, having taken part in the Maundy Thursday service – fantastic photo opportunity for everyone on the coach.
And quite frankly that would have been enough to make their day but when the coach pulled up outside the Tower of London, the Queen’s 85th birthday cannon salute had just started, noise of gunfire and smoke everywhere – the icing on the (birthday) cake!
21 rounds are fired for for Happy Birthday + 20 rounds because the Tower is a Royal Palace & Fortress + 21 ‘for the City of London’ = 62 rounds in all.
My grateful thanks to Mick the coach driver from Crosskeys Coaches who was responsible for making it a wonderful day for a group of very happy German tourists AND he didn’t even get stuck in any of the London I’m-getting-out-of-here-it’s-holiday-time traffic exodus.
Blue Badge tourist guide
Posted in Royal Family
Tagged birthday salute, Blue Badge tourist guide, Crosskeys coaches, Dover, east, guides, HRH Queen, Kent, London, Queen, south, Surrey, Sussex, Tour, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey