Tuesday, 3 May 2011


After enjoying the festivities of the Royal wedding, and all of the pomp and ceremony that we do so well, Mr. Home and I took ourselves up to Westminster Abbey to see the flowers and to soak up some of that wedding atmosphere that we all watched on Friday.

On arriving at the Abbey, fairly early, we knew that there would be a lot of queuing involved. There were two queues....one for cash and one for card transactions. Not knowing which was which, we got on the end of a queue only to find out that we were in the card queue that was taking an hour longer than the cash queue. Don't you just hate changing queues !!  The queue that you started on always ends up being quicker than the other one !! Anyway, we changed queues and began chatting to a couple of lovely Canadian ladies and, before we knew it, after only 45 minutes we were at the entrance to the Abbey.

The next two photographs are not mine as photography is not allowed in the main part of Westminster Abbey.

Tradition dictates that the day following Royal weddings, the floral tribute is sent to the Abbey after the official photographs have been taken.
The Queen Mother began the long standing tradition when her wedding posy was left at the grave, in 1923, after her wedding. She left her flowers in memory of her brother Fergus, who was killed in 1915 during the First World War.
Catherine's bouquet followed the romantic gesture of the language of flowers :

Lily-of-the-valley .... return of love, happiness

Sweet William .... gallantry

Hyacinth .... constancy of love

Ivy .... fidelity, marriage, wedded love, friendship, affection

Myrtle .... the emblem of marriage

The myrtle in Catherine's bouquet are stems from the myrtle planted at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight by Queen Victoria in 1845 and a sprig from a plant, grown from the myrtle used in the Queen's bouquet in 1947.

The trees looked wonderful and softened the hardness of the abbey's stone walls and were under planted with lily-of-the-valley, strawberry plants with their white flowers and ferns. I was very tempted to pinch a sprig of lily-of-the-valley flowers as a keepsake but resisted as there were so many CCTV cameras and I didn't want to end up in the Tower of London !!!! The flowers will be left at the Abbey until the end of the week for the public to see and then, the trees will be planted at Highgrove, the Prince of Wales private residence, and the other flowers, including, white wisteria trees, white rhododendron, viburnum, Solomon's seal, fern's etc. will be sent to various charities.

After leaving the main part of the Abbey we entered the cloister's where there was a book that we signed for the Royal couple. I thought that you might like to see some of the parts of the Abbey that were not part of the wedding ceremony.

This is the Chapter House which dates back to the 1250's. It is one of the largest in England. The monks met here everyday for prayers and the King's Great Council first assembled here in 1257 and was effectively the beginning of the English Parliament. In the vestibule of the Chapter House is the oldest door in Britain, dated to the 1050's.

This massive double oak door secures the Pyx Chamber, built around 1070. This chamber housed many valuables of the Exchequer.

There are two large rectangular chests in the chamber, dating back to the 13th and 14th century which were evidently made inside the room as they are so huge. Samples of coinage were kept in these chests, called Pyxes, to show that the coinage was pure, by melting the coins down and the silver content measured. This procedure still takes place today in Goldsmith's Hall in the City of London. 

The present Little Cloister and the surrounding houses, inhabited by the clergy and staff of the Abbey, stand on the site of the monastic infirmary.The central fountain dates from 1871. On the east side are the ruins of the 12th century chapel of, rather coincidentally, St. Catherine. It is planted with scented plants and was an area set aside for recuperation after illness. This area leads to ..........

 ....  the College Garden. This was the Infirmarer's garden, used to grow medicinal herbs, fruit trees, vegetables etc. for the occupants of the Abbey. It was in this garden that we saw the infamous ' cartwheeling verger ' having his lunch !!! I don't know if you saw him .  If you didn't, he did three cartwheels down the nave, after the wedding !! He has obviously been forgiven !!

This is the entrance to the Abbey where a lot of the action took place !!

We then crossed Westminster bridge, which is painted green, the same colour as the green leather seats of the House of Commons, in contrast to Lambeth bridge which is painted red, the same colour as the red leather seats of the House of Lords. It was then time, after all of the queuing and absorbing of hundred's of years of British history, to go and find a good meal and a drink or three !! ..........

                          AND, FINALLY,

please welcome to the world, our new grandson, Henry Jack who was born on the 23rd April 2011 at 1.20 p.m., the bouncing bundle of 9lb's 8 oz !!  .......... I'm afraid that means I've got more celebrating to do !

    images 4, via the Daily Mail, image 5, via the wedding guys. all other images by me.



  1. Oh Jackie, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! How exciting for you all, I was wondering if you had any news!! And he was born on my birthday too :) What a gorgeous little boy, he looks like he is already smiling and happy - clearly he takes after his grandma :)

    How wonderful!!!!! xxxx

    PS Loving all the photos too :)

  2. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.
    What a lovely grandson you have, congrats.

  3. First and most important, welcome and Congratulations on your new grandson. What a beautiful event and you are so lucky! I bet you are one fun grandmopther Jackie!
    Enjoyed the tour of the day after the royal wedding, I wish they would consider keeping the trees in Westminster Abbey, I think they look fabulous there and was the perfect touch. We toured it years ago and I think the tourist traffic will be crazy all summer, certainly worth seeing and your photographs brought back lovely memories. I am happy to read you enjoyed the friendliness of a few Canadians while waiting in line. Much love. XO

  4. Wow . . . lovely tour. Glad you are not in the tour of London prison ~ that adorable grandbaby would miss you. :)


  5. Congratulations! A sweet baby boy will bring you much delight.
    And thank you for the Abbey tour. I loved it!

  6. Congratulations! such happy wonderful news and thank you for the fabulous tour of the Abbeye. I have not been to London in so many years, I forgot how majestic and breathtaking it is. To my husband amusement and sarcastic remarks I watched the wedding and enjoyed every moment.

  7. Congratulations xxxx
    I love your tour of the Abbey I have no telly so missed the wedding but this tour was fab thank you xxx so much xx
    Hugs Lynn x

  8. First of all Congratulations! What a beautiful baby! There is nothing so wonderful as being a grandparent!

    Thanks very much for the tour, I loved the photos & your commentary. As one of the many, on this side of the pond, that got up at the crack of dawn, to watch the nuptials, I thoroughly enjoyed this follow up.

  9. Jackie, my oh my, congratulations on your grandson. What a cutie-pie!

    The tour looks amazing. I love that you shared all of those spots that we didn't see. 11th, 12th, 13th century? We have nothing that old over here. The Abbey is absolutely breathtaking. Watching the wedding on TV I was oohing and aahing, but in person, it must be spectacular.

    Thanks for sharing you tour...it was lovely.

    Congrats again on your latest addition!

    XO Lynn

  10. Oh My what a precious baby Grandson
    Congratulations adorable picture
    Thank you for the wonderful tour of the Abbey too brought back fabulous memories

  11. Oh my goodness! Congratulations! Henry Jack is precious! I am so very happy for all of you!
    ...and THANK YOU for all these wonderful pictures of the Abbey where I would have loved to have been to see the royal wedding and where I hope to visit one day. FABULOUS! So glad to see you back Jackie!

  12. Wonderful, congratulations !!
    Helen x

  13. What a cutie. Beautiful pictures as well.

  14. Jackie...these are absolutely WONDERFUL!! I think your grandson Henry Jack is one lucky lad to have such a sweet grandmother to look after him:)

    I have been to Westminster Abbey twice and each time I saw something completely different. It is an amazing place. I now have two more areas to venture into...many thanks for the introduction :)

    Hasn't the weather been beautiful these past few weeks...glorious!! We have lived in England nearly 16 months now and to be honest, I don't know what the fuss is all about. The weather has been wonderful!

    Off to water my plants, wanted to say hi!!

    Best wishes Jackie for a wonderful week.

    Jeanne xxx

  15. Henry is darling.
    Thanks for the tour, it is hard to imagine a building being that old.


  16. OMG! He is gorgeous! What a handsome little fellow! I just love cuddling baby heads! I bet you are just about ready to burst! You definitely do not look like a grandma. Ah, to be like you! He was born on my anniversary too. You know who's birthday I will remember. Love that little chin. He looks like "yeah, I'm here and I mean business". I love your pictures of the Abbey, though I think they are definitely overshadowed by little Henry! Congrats on your first grandson.

  17. Congrats on your grandson and thank you for posting all of your lovely photos I very much enjoyed looking through them!


  18. First, congrats to that little bundle of joy!! Yes celebrate for your new grandson.
    Thank you for sharing such amazing photos.
    I can't even wrap my head around how old all of this is and the history.
    Can you imagine this is your family history, I can't even begin to think of what Catherine must have felt, being excepted into all of this. WOW.
    So Amazing!

  19. Congrats on this wonderful newborn baby and grandson.

    Beautiful pictures from a georgeous place.
    Thank you so much Sabine

  20. Congratulations, Jackie!! What a beautiful grandson you have and I love the name! My daughter weighed that exact amount when she was born also! Loving all of your Abbey photos. I along with billions of people sat and enjoyed all the festivities for the royal wedding...I felt like a proud parent..!! Glad to see you back, I've missed you. Give little Henry Jack a big hug and kiss from me! xxoo :)

  21. What a lovely boy, Jacqueline, congratulations! That makes you quite the Queen Mother of Home now, right? And you English should be ever so proud of your Abbey; it's an utterly magnificent place.

  22. Love this! Thanks for the photos and info! And congrats, he's handsome and we share the same birthday!!

  23. Hello there - how fabulous to go there so soon afterwards! The images really capture the sheer scale of the building and I bet those trees really do look wonderful in person so to speak. I loved the whole wedding day - made me very patriotic. And as for your new arrival news - wow - congratulations, he does look very cute. How lovely! Lou x

  24. Congrat's on the new grandson............happy, happy times await you. I loved the wedding of Kate and Will.......very lovely. Thanks so much for taking and showing all the photo's I just felt like I had a history class and that is one thing that is so cool about blogging.......getting to learn so much from around the world. Have a wonderful May. Much hugs Masry

  25. What a lovely post about Westminster Abbey - thank you for sharing all of that. The wedding was so beautiful - I'd have visited the Abbey myself afterwards if I wasn't so far away! And congratulations on your new grandson - he looks to be a handsome one! ::Jill

  26. Their you are again !! welcome !!! what a amazing post you give us today.......like a dream.......so beautiful !! thanks for share...love love Ria....xxx...oh what a sweet grandson !! xxx....

  27. Congratulations on the arrival of the beautiful Henry - I can only imagine the joy this little darling is going to give you! Lovely to see you back and absolutely loved your tour - nearly as good as being there. Leigh

  28. COngratulations Jackie - your new grandson is just gorgeous! My very favortie immage!

  29. Congratulations on your new addition and welcome back....we've missed your posts.

  30. Hello dear Jackie,

    first of all congratulations on your grandson. I'm sure Henry Jack will be a wonderful grandchild, and of course he will be very lucky to have such a wonderful grandma like you...

    And many thanks for this great post and the wonderful pics, of course I followed the royal wedding a little bit... absolutly beautiful was the dress... and most of all I love the wonderful tree decoration in the Abbey, that was a great idea, you are right, it softened the hardness of the stone walls.

    In three weeks we will also visit London with my mom and my parents-in-law, ohhh I'm so happy that I will visit once again the Chelsea Flower Show. I hope for such a beautiful weather as you had for your trip. Do you have a tip for a restaurant (perhaps not so far from Earls Court) for me?
    Many warm greetings

  31. Very many congratulations on the birth of your
    new grandchild.
    And thank you for sharing these lovely photos of the Abbey.

  32. Thank you so much for these wonderful views
    of the Abby, I could have never done all that walking. I saw sight's I would have missed.
    God Bless your Grand baby and congratulations Jackie.

  33. Oh my! What a yummy bundle of goodness! Congratulations to you and your family. Thanks for the Abbey tour, I'm ashamed to say I've never been. B xxx

  34. Oh my Gosh.."A Grandson"...how terribly exciting. He looks so calm and serene...Huge Cheers to All!

    Thank you so much for taking us with you on the tour, I so appreciate it. I was just so excited about the wedding and it was everything I hoped for. (I did see the cartwheeling..so funny)

    love and hugs Deej

  35. Congratulations Jackie...he is so beautiful and how exciting for you to have a new member of the family...xv

  36. Jackie, first of all congratulations on your new grandson!! I can't wait for my first grandson (grandchild) to be born on 7/17!! Your other pictures in this post are just gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing!

  37. Jackie,
    What a cutie! Congratulations on you new bundle of joy.

    I so enjoyed your tour of the Abbey and surrounding grounds. Although I watched most of the ceremony on TV, your pictures gave me a true vision of the details and the awesomeness of the setting. Thanks for sharing.

    PS - Italy was absolutely fabulous. I used to think I'd left my heart in San Francisco, but now I'm certain it's somewhere in Cinque Terre.

  38. Congratulations Jackie. How exciting to have such exciting news to share. And thanks for the lovely post-wedding tour of the Abbey. It is so nice to really 'see' it, and your photos are great. New Zealand is such a 'young' country - it is so incredible to think of everything that has passed through that wonderful building over the years.
    And finally - it's great to have you back!!

  39. Jackie ~

    Does this sweet little soul realize how lucky he is to have you as his grandmother? THE BEST! Congratulations...i know you will celebrate forever and always.


  40. i LOVE your photos. what an awesome place! wish i was there checking it all out. cheers to the gorgeous baby too!
    ~laura xx

  41. woop eee....beautiful grandson grandma..my pop’s name is Henry jacob...so of course I luv the name. You have been so missed ...welcome”Home” home. your pics are amazing...rule friggin Britannia!

  42. You have me yearning for London here Jackie!! The shots are beautiful ~ I love them all and it is no nice to see some pics of the grounds and the areas that we did not see on tv. Congrats on your new grandson ~ he is a cutie pie. I raise my glass to you ~ hugs & love. Lori

  43. I adore the place that you and your trusty camera take us. This was so, so fascinating and beautiful. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful new grandson. What joy! Meredy xo

    p.s. Our eldest son is called Jack Henry:)

  44. Beautiful pictures but the most beautiful one is of course your newborn grandson. Congratulations dear Jackie I wish him a life full of love xxx desiree

  45. Congratulations Jackie on the new man in your life. No wonder you've been busy.
    Does this call for a double Happy Mothers Day???

    Great photos btw!

  46. The most beautiful photographs and architecture!! Love it all!


    Art by Karena

  47. hi Jackie

    congratulations on the new little grandson you can NEVER have too many of them! All care and no responsbility.

    And I love your tour of the Abbey - a few years ago I got off a very early flight from Melbourne and walking around London as one does to fend off jet lag I went into the Abbey as it opened - completely empty and just so moving. Enough to make me 'get' religion.

    Finally can I say my husband loves you. He keeps saying 'what about that woman in UK who sent us Outnumbered. She's pretty amazing.'

    xox Jane

  48. yay the Jack is Back.....!! thanks for the visit and comment. missed you

  49. Hi!

    Wonderful photos!! It's been a while now since I visit London! So fun to see all the lovely places!
    And congratulations to yoy "granny"! He looks perfekt!=)

    Many hugs from Sweden!


  50. Hey there Jacs, yes I just keep watching the wedding too, actually I was raving about it to a friend today and mentioned your having looked at the Abbey after the wedding and this post. Too beautiful, not a step wrong we both thought.

    Re the cossies, yes full pieces are elegant, have to say they look best on most of us I'm sure :o ha ha

    Hope you're having a great day,
    love Deej
    ps I think my blog issues are over, I can only hope for the best for you too dear girl.

  51. Just to see Henry Jack's sweet..sweet face made my whole week. I must say it again, 'congratulations' to the entire family. This little man just could not be cuter. As if the news of his birth wasn't exciting enough, your photos of the Abbey are amazing. Just gives me goosebumps thinking of the wedding day and all the excitement. I can't believe you saw 'that' verger. Yes I did see his cartwheeling antics and it was quite funny. Jackie I'm glad you are back blogging and I hope this week will be just as lovely as last week? Those London blue skies were almost as gorgeous as the architecture.

    Sending love,

  52. Jackie! congratulations on your grandson!so happy i´m for you! his is beautiful!!

    lots of love!

  53. Dear Jaqui,
    Thank you so much for taking us on the journey of the Abbey. It is truly magnificent and to see it through your eyes even better.
    Wow - congratulations on the birth of your dear little Jack. He is wonderful and we home to see more and more of him.
    Celebrate away!!! x Suzi

  54. what a lovely tour.
    i too,
    noticed the trees in the chapel.
    i thought it was the perfect touch.

    congratz on your new baby boy.
    he is beautiful.
    {btw...my daughter was 9.6 lbs}
    i ate too much hahahahahah

  55. Congratulations to the grooviest Grannie in the whole U.K! I know Henry will bring you & Mr. Home much joy & many adventures over the coming years dear Jac. And as for that wonderful tour of the Abbey I've just enjoyed through your camera lens - thank you, thank you it was wonderful.
    Millie x
    P.S. I hope that the cartwheeling Verger has started up a Facebook page, I seriously want to be that dude's friend.