Years ago, old age pensioners used to like going on "Mystery Tours." (For all I know, they still do.) They'd go along to the bus station, pay a small sum and get on a bus marked "Mystery Tour." They wouldn't know which beauty spot or stately home the bus was taking them to till they arrived.
Well, I took a mystery tour yesterday. It really was one, because I signed a disclaimer to say that I can't tell anyone too much about it yet. I will tell you as soon as I can, but meanwhile I thought you might find it fun to be told only half the story - and see if you can piece together what I was doing. [If you can be bothered, that is - I appreciate you might conceivably have better things to do with your time...]
When I arrived at 8.30 AM at the Embankment, by the Thames, I had no idea what the trip was going to be about. All I knew was that I would be one of a group who had a very unusual trip around and about London in a specially chartered single decker bus.
Throughout the day, I snatched a few pics with my mobile phone to give you a feel for the tour, although most of the time our phones it had to be switched off. So, apologies for the really bad quality!
It was pouring with rain as we got on the bus, and the smeary windows were covered in raindrops. I spotted some harassed faces from the organisers
To the organisers' frustration, we couldn't set off on our trip for ages, because, believe it or not, the road ahead was unexpectedly blocked by a stream of grandly dressed red-coated top-hatted coachmen and their carriages, passing along in a seemingly endless stream. The weather was so murky and I was trying to shoot out of the bus window, so I really am sorry for the awful quality of the images. But lust take my word - they're coachmen. Some of the horses were dark....
... others were greys, beautifully groomed.
There was something almost surreal about the coachmen, and they weren't part of the organisers' plan.
When the stream of coachmen had finally trotted past, we set off. We were issued with eye masks - for legal reasons, we were told.
And after a couple of hours, we stopped at an ASDA supermarket - but not to buy.
At one point, we got out of the coach to encounter a firmly locked and bolted door
We talked and talked about what we had seen. The organisers fed us with coffee and snacks and we all had a lot of fun. Oh, and we spent time looking over a few hedges
And drove through gorgeously autumnal countrified roads.... can you see the colours outside the bus windows?
But it gets dark early at this time of year, and by the time we headed back to the centre of London again, and crossed the Thames, the sun had gone down..... it was a particularly dramatic sky.
We arrived back ten hours after we had set out.. Big Ben was towering above, illuminated and reading 6.30 PM.
I'd enjoyed the tour but it had been an intense day..
So can you make a guess at what we did? I'm looking forward to being able to reveal it all shortly, so if you can't guess, there won't be long to wait. And it was a trip I will always remember.
Today is Remembrance Sunday. I come from an Army family and so I always mentally pause and think of those whose lives were taken and those who were left behind. Anna of HyperCRYPTICAL has reprinted Wilfred Owen's "Anthem for Doomed Youth" on her interesting blog (click on the link).. I think Owen should be taught to every teenager.
Here are some poppies for Remembrance Day. Interesting that one guy on our tour, aged about 18, had no idea why people were selling poppies and other people were wearing them. That's really sad.I felt his school must have been poor if it did not explain this to the kids.