London Stories and Tips

Lovely Londoners

A well-behaved dog and his master, Peter, in Kensington Gardens Photo, London, England

I don’t believe I am alone when I say that it is sometimes with trepidation that I visit a foreign country. Knowing that Americans are not always accepted in a positive way, I feel a certain shyness. I found the people of Great Britain to be more than pleasant. On numerous occasions, we were treated with such friendliness that I now feel a definite kinship with the English, as if they were my cousins. Forget the stuffiness that is portrayed in some English movies; in reality, they are warm people with a marvelous sense of humor! For example: My sister and I were attempting to make sense of a set of directional signs in Kensington Gardens when a very nice gentleman came walking by with his dog. He asked if we needed any assistance, admitting that the signs made no sense to anyone, and quickly pointed out the correct direction to the Peter Pan statue. He was anxious to tell us about the day he met an American president in those gardens, not far from where we were standing, and his friendliness helped make our day even more delightful!
Later that same day we were riding in the tube and trying to plan how and where to fit in tea that day. A lady sitting across from us, overhearing, proceeded to give us her helpful advice as to the best place. She answered all of our questions better than any guide book.On the day of our visit to the Tower of London, my sister was reluctant to enter a confined spiral staircase and opted to stay behind. So the rest of us forged on, not knowing that the passage would be one way and our tour would wind on and on through the many twists and turns of the structures there. In short, it was over an hour before we were able to meet up with her again, and we worried about what she would do while waiting and wondering when we would return. Finally, we asked one of the beefeater guards there if he could somehow help us locate her. Through our description, he was able to immediately alert the other guards on his cell phone, and we were quickly reunited. I know… that was part of their job, you might say. But the cheerfulness with which they did it, showing no impatience or disdain for our bewilderment, helped us return to normalcy.At Windsor Castle we spoke at length with a man whose business was to rid the area of pigeons because they annoy ravens, which have traditionally been considered good luck and are therefore greatly desired. He does this with Willow, a trained hawk acquired from Phoenix, Arizona which chases the pigeons and returns to its owner whenever he whistles. This fellow was more than happy to explain all of this to my sister and me, and turned out to be one of the most interesting features of our day there.

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