Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day in London (or the most bourgeois march I have ever attended)

Buses, taken by Alex
Thursday was the Conference "London Day." The day consisted of a "Walk of Witness," lunch at Lambeth Palace, and tea at Buckingham Palace, before taking the buses back to UKC.
It was the day when the stewards had to get 1300 people onto 34 buses four times, three of which had to be done quickly. Luckily, I was not one of those stewards.

Two staff members, nine other stewards and I, left UKC at 6:00am to arrive in London before the other buses. We basically had to find toilets, find the Walk's starting point, and figure out the best path to get from the buses drop off point to these places.

It does figure, a bit, that my first time in London would be for a march.

Part of my reason for wanting to be on the early bus was to actually have some time to see London. While we didn't have much time, we did walk to Trafalgar Square and one of the Brits who was with us told us about the different places we saw and passed along the way.

During the march itself, which was to raise awareness about the MDGs my task was to walk up and down the sides of the march and ensure that no one was hurt, overly tired, or for any reason needed to be pulled out, as well as keeping any counter-demonstrators away. None of this proved to be an issue, and it was good exercise. There were rickshaws in the back for anyone who couldn't do the walk.

It was amazing walking past parliament and across Lambeth Bridge over the Thames.

The walk ended at Lambeth Palace where we listened to a speech by PM Gordon Brown. The speech itself was quite good. It was loud and called for an end to poverty. Now if only his (and our) government's policy reflected this... because if our governments truly wanted an end to poverty, there wouldn't be any.

Once we were near the tent outside the palace and we could take off our orange jackets all of the stewards were amazed how good we could look. As we walked to the tent we were treated to a concert of steel drums and dancing played by children from the Archbishop's School. During a delicious lunch most of us were seated randomly, and I was seated with another steward (from the UK), The bishop of Newark and his wife, ditto the bishop of West Missouri, Martha Gardner from 815, the bishop of Wyoming, and a bishop from Fiji.

The bishop from Figi was quiet, but very interesting, and actually stated that he wished the female bishops would participate more during discussions!

We then quickly loaded the buses to get everyone to Buckingham Palace. We couldn't bring cameras into the palace, but it was a good time, if not more than a bit ridiculous. The parts of the inside of the palace we were able to see were beautiful and the gardens were, unsurprisingly, perfect. They managed to be perfectly put together without looking overly contrived.

The band at the palace, in their military garb, played theme songs and soundtracks all afternoon, including Oliver, The Incredibles , JamesAllie with Ruth Councell Bond and I Got Rhythm. The iced coffee was fabulous.

We then got back on the buses and took the two hour drive home for a staff meeting and drinking G&Ts and watching "The Queen" on DVD.


crabbit besom said...
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Caminante said...

So where did you all get your straw hats? Did they tell you to bring one beforehand?

Say hi to Martha the next time you see her.

Ann said...

Glad you met our bishop - did he have his cowboy boots on?

Allie said...
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Allie said...

The hats yes, but, really, who wouldn't bring a hat to Buckingham palace? Its tradition, although no longer compulsary.

Ann, I'm not sure about the boots, I didn't see him standing

PseudoPiskie said...

I'm really enjoying your posts, Allie. We are lucky to have you there!

Have you seen Bishop Carlos of Spain?

susan s. said...

Lovely pictures, Allie. I especially like the one with the PB. But what is it with the hand position? It seems that it must be a following of Bishop Katharine's example?

crabbit besom said...
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PseudoPiskie said...

I also noticed the "fig leaf" hand position. snicker.

Allie said...

Crabbit, you are why I'm turning moderated posting back on.
I've made it very clear both what this blog is, and what it is not

Catherine said...

Allie - Is that a hat from New Jersey? Through a certain Christ Church connection? BTW, I think you look SMASHING, even without the orange vest.

Allie said...

Catherine, many many thanks! Yes, that hat is from a Christ Church connection... um, yeah, could you send me her name and contact info? She gave it to me but I lost it, and I do need to get the hats back to her when I get back

Catherine said...

All I have here in Seattle is her e-mail address. When I get back, I can send you her snail-mail address (it would be in the current Christ Church directory). Soon as I get back to the dorm, I will send her the link to your blog--she will love it!

johnieb said...

How good you all look?

Enough to make a man of a certain age wish he were younger.