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Things you should do in the UK

Didn't really know where to stick this and I thought this one suited it the best.

Decided this weekend that instead of vegging at home with the kids, I'd take them to see a bit of their cultural history. After a view of the IWM site, I concluded that the Smoke (London for you Johnny Foreigners) was the place to go for maximum exposure with minimum traveling.

Did the IWM on Sat morning and very impressed I was. For those that have not been it is an excellent resource at the best possible price, free!

Don't eat in the cafe though!

After the rest of the usual sights that are free (getting the impression I am a cheapskate here?), like our bosses house, Tower Bridge, that big church, the place with the big jelly mould roof etc, etc, we found ourselves at HM's Palace The Tower Of London.

Now, a family ticket will set you back nearly 50 quid and being the tight git I am, I nearly ha a stroke. However, after seeing lots of happy faces leaving, I thought I'd give it a crack.

Without wishing to spoil the visit for those that have never been, it was superb and worth every penny.

The Yeomen(sp?) that do the tours are all ex mil (on the day we had an ex Welsh Guard, an ex Gren and an ex Booty) and included in the price.

It is a fantastically interesting place and it is a joy to watch other nationalities (esp Americans :) ) asking questions about a building that was started 700 years before we invented most of their countries.

I would especially like to point out an ex Welsh Guards Yeoman their called Paul, who is from Leeds. He was our guide on the day and is an incredibly knowledgeably guy. He sprinkles the tour with a lot of funnies, involves the audience, especially the kids, without getting condescending about his level of knowledge in any way and is a mine of information. It was a joy watching him put right the misunderstandings of foreigners in a way that didn't put them down for their misconceptions, simply bought them round to the truth.

And he suggested putting Mel Gibson on the rack. Gotta be a good thing :)

Also had an Argie in the crowd with rather long and gay hair. Paul asked him where he was from and he said "Argentina". After noticing the Op Corporate medal (with Rosette) ribbon, I did sit their thinking "ooh, this should be good" :) Fair play to Paul, all he said was "got no barbers there?"

I asked another Yeoman after which Guards unit it was doing CD at the Tower and he immediately said "what regiment were you then"? I suspect it was the "CD" phrase as opposed to "who is that bloke with the gun" that gave it away although it may have been my ripping SF good looks ? I explained that I was ex TWA and he immediately (he had obviously seen me in this "Pauls" tour group), called him over and a half hour of p1ss taking ensued :) Turned out we were in BK at the same time in 92. Although I was probably sipping Stella whilst he was eating cow dung, as he mentioned a few times. After pointing out he should have passed more GCE’s, he agreed that Raybans and a flying suit were cooler than mud ?

I have to take my hat off to those ex mil (or not, what exactly is the status of Yeomans? Are the mil or ex mil?) guys at HM Palace The Tower, they are friendly, informative, funny and incredibly knowledgeable about their task.

If you have never been, shame on you. Shame on me for not going earlier, it is an amazing piece of OUR history that we should all know about.

Without wishing to degrade the rest of the Yeomen (sp?) (as I didn't take their tour so can not comment), if you ever go there, try to get the ex Welsh Guards guy Paul. Forgive him for being a Leeds fan, but he is a top notch guide and a good egg to boot.

If anyone on here knows him, please pass on the comments



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