“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

    Formatting note … I am using bullets to see if I can get paragraphs to be separate. Ugh.
    Our main goal for today was the Churchill War Room. We got a good night’s sleep … still adjusting to the time difference and woke up a bit late this morning. But we got out and navigated the tube to the Westminster Station. I love the tube. There are all kinds of surprises in the stations and on the trains. For example:
    • When we got out, the streets were all blocked off and there were fences along the sidewalks. We walked the long-way around to the Churchill War Room, but on the way, we asked a police officer what was going on. It turns out that the Belgian army was parading around.
    • Of course we stopped to watch the parade. It was quite a sight, with lots of different contingents of the military. The biggest cheer went up for the veterans, including some that likely fought in WWII. We figured out later that the City of London didn’t go through all this trouble for a relatively short parade that not many people attended. Rather, there is a 10K run through that part of town tomorrow. Makes more sense.
    • After enjoying the parade, we headed into the line for the museum. We expected a wait, but it wasn’t too long … probably about 45 minutes. Once inside, we got one of those individual recording devices that we could hang around our necks, and press the appropriate number depending on where we were in the museum.
      The museum is very well done. There are two parts – one part is the experience of what it was like in the war rooms during Churchill’s time there. The second part is the history of the man himself. That part is arranged in a timeline, starting with the war years to his death, and then looping back around to the early years.
      There was a nice reminder of the “special relationship” between the US and the UK in the Atlantic Charter.
    • The rooms that were used for war time operations were left essentially the way they were when the war ended. You definitely get a feeling for what it might have been like to live down there … for six years.
      There were a lot of interactive exhibits that you could dig into differently aspects of his life, both personal and professional. One part of the exhibit was a replaying of a video of his funeral. I think I actually remember seeing that on TV when I was a young’ un. I was, for some unknown reason, fascinated by funerals of famous people when I was a small kid.
      We then took a walk around and saw a couple sites in the area. Trafalgar Square was its usual busy place.
    • Next stop was the Brass Rubbing Centre. We experienced one of these when we went to Edinburgh the first time and really enjoyed it. This one is located in conjunction with the St Martin in the Fields Church. We got to pick out our designs, and received some basic instructions, then it was time to get to work. We were both happy with our results, and the clerk behind the desk was impressed with Brad’s skills.
    Brad chose a Celtic design, and I chose a farm scene
      On the way back to our flat, we stopped for a drink and a snack. I ordered an Aperol Spritz, which seems to be all the rage in town. (I don’t think I’ll order one again, though.) Brad ordered a lovely gin drink. And we got a meze plate to accompany.
    • We came back to our flat and talked with Mom, our trusty dog sitter. Found out that Kaia ran into some yellow jackets. Mom carefully removed one from her paw. Now she’s keeping an eye on Kaia to make sure she doesn’t have any lasting after effects. Those darned labs are so stoic when it comes to injuries, you often don’t know if they are suffering. One sure hint is the amount of wiggles and tail wags, though.
      Then it was off to dinner. We chose a highly-rated Indian restaurant a half block from our flat named Memories of India. We had yet another delicious meal, and Brad discovered a new beer … the Cobra, which had an interesting bottle with scenes in relief.
    • Oh, and I forgot to mention yesterday … Kew Gardens was closing early because they were having a Kew the Music concert. We were disappointed that we didn’t know ahead of time, because we would have loved to see The Human League. “You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I first met you …”. Haha. Now you will have that song stuck in your head all day. Glad (maybe a little surprising?) that they can still make some money doing concerts.

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