A Travellerspoint blog

Windsor - Thursday, 2 May 2019

Afternoon tea at the Australian High Commission, London

semi-overcast 15 °C
View To London, To London, To Visit The Queen on gaddingabout's travel map.

Harte and Garter Hotel - Room No 109

I had a lovely, long warm bath last night (as I do every night) but it was especially welcome last night after our long, long 5 mile walk in Windsor Park. Then into bed reasonably early, out like a light and slept like a baby all night. There is nothing like a good night's sleep!

The weather seems to be changing for the worst. Getting colder.

During the breakfast Gregg and Muriel Button (the Brown Button) sat down with us and we had a big chat. Nice to see them again. They are lovely.

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They came up to our room for a look at the view and then something started happening down in the street. Police blocked off the road and then the guard and band came marching up the street. Great! Everyone loves a band, especially a Scotty band. It was the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle.

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All done.

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Time to get ready for afternoon tea at the Australian High Commission in London.

This Town Crier has just started ringing his bell and shouting out something but I can't hear what he's saying, but I don't think it's about the birth of baby Sussex. The crowd is too subdued.

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Oh yay, oh yay, oh yay, a royal baby is on the way. God Save The Queen.
Sir William and Lady Heseltine have arrived. Sir William was The Queen's Private Secretary for many years during Princess Diana's time.

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At 1.00 pm we met in the foyer and booked a couple of Ubers to take us into the Australian High Commission for our afternoon tea, hosted by George Brandis, the Australian High Commissioner. Maria and Doug squashed into a car with me and Phil and in just over an hour, we arrived at The Strand.
We were a bit early so we went to the pub for a quick beer. Then to the Australian High Commission and checked through security before we could enter. Long gone are the days when Australians could wander in and out of their High Commission and read the Australian papers. It's all high security now.

We all gathered in a room where afternoon tea was laid out on a couple of tables and we helped ourselves and chatted amongst ourselves until the High Commissioner arrived. He made a very nice speech and chatted with each group. Peter Tilley responded on our behalf with a short but to the point speech. Then we were taken on a guided tour of the High Commission. It is a beautiful old building, 101 years old. It was opened on 3 August 1918 by King George V and was Australia's first diplomatic mission abroad. The building is heritage listed inside and out, so not much can be changed, but you wouldn't want it to be - it is a stunning building. They are expecting 15,000 Australians in here over the next couple of weeks to vote in the Australian Federal Election.

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We left at about 4.15 pm and when we checked out an Uber, the price had quadrupled from earlier in the day. It is now getting into peak hour traffic and it is starting to rain. What to do?

So Doug, Maria, Peter Tilley, Phil and I hopped into a taxi that took us to Paddington Station. We arrived at one entry only to find it was closed - due to a fire we were told, so the cab driver decided to drive to the other entrance. I'm not keen on going to the underground, if there is a fire there! The other entry seemed to be working like normal so I asked a policeman if everything was okay. Yes he said, so we bought tickets to Windsor, boarded the train and had a nice trip to Windsor on the train.

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We didn't get back until about 6.30 pm which meant that we had missed Evensong at St George's Chapel. I wanted Phil to go inside to see how magnifcent it was - maybe next time.

We had dinner at the Harte and Garter with Geoff and Caroline Hay, Maria and Doug. It was very nice.

Now to bed and try to sleep as tomorrow is the big day at St George's Chapel.

Posted by gaddingabout 14:27 Archived in England

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