We often go to London to see a show or concert, and this weekend was no exception. We were lucky enough to get tickets for ‘The Messiah by Candlelight’ at the Festival Hall on the South Bank. I have always loved Handel’s music, and was delighted to see that all the musicians were wearing 17th Century costumes.
Before the concert on Friday evening there was dinner at the Strand Palace Hotel, and then we walked over Waterloo Bridge and had time for a stroll along the Embankment before the concert began.
On Saturday morning we had a few spare hours before our car park ticket ran out. We walked past Trafalgar Square on our way to visit Churchill’s War Rooms.
The War Rooms are situated in the basement of HM Treasury Building near Horseguards Parade. The basement rooms had been fortified to hopefully withstand bombing from above, but were fortunate enough not to have suffered a direct hit during the Blitz.
Churchill could not stand any noise. There were notices down there asking people not to whistle, and all his secretaries had to have noiseless typewriters sent over from the US. His cook had only a rudimentary kitchen to work in, but still managed to produce Churchill’s favourite fare, Beef Wellington. He was often heard to say that he had simple tastes – he only liked the best!
Every aspect of Churchill’s life was covered in the museum there, even his funeral. I remember as a child watching the funeral on TV and seeing how all the cranes along the docks lowered as his coffin travelled along the Thames. The exhibition showed that film again, but this time I saw it in colour (we only had a black and white TV back in 1965). I read about his overwhelming desire to do well in life to prove to his father Randolph that he could amount to something, as his school career had not been particularly outstanding.
We got back to the car with 2 minutes to spare. All in all a lovely short break!