Friday, 17 May 2013

Day 11 - Nottingham to London and then Slough to Complete the 1000 Mile Rally Circuit

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Today is my last of the Eleven Day Rally following the route of the 1900 Thousand Mile Trial.

So, How do I feel after 10 days of driving a mixture of Country Roads, City Centres and standing like a statue for 2 to 3 hours at a time twice a day on 9 of the 11 days and once for 4 hours on the other 2? 

Well, I am tired but elated, and sad that it is nearly over as it is to be my last Morgan Fund Raising Solo Journey being 70 next January. 

All I need to do is to have a good day collecting and a safe journey through the Capital and back to my home.  

My route from Nottingham will take me first to Northhampton and then onto St Albans driving along the old A5 through Dunstable. I have been booked into two Sainsbury's Stores for Fundraising . The first in Northhampton and the second in St Albans. Then I need to drive into Central London in order to officialy complete their 1900 circuit in Whitehall. Once achieved I need to set off along the Old A4 Bath Road until I reach my starting point on a cross roads in Slough. Once there, I will drive home to Beaconsfield.

The weather today is very windy with strong side winds from right to left all the way to London

 Leaving my Hotel set in Parkland just to the North of Nottingham

 The Inner Ring Road was to be navigated until I leave Nottingham to the south.

Needles to say there would be sections going through the city centre. 

 As I was paying for my fuel I met this young man, and his very smart wheels, who is a Car Detailer and is soon going to be running an Event for Help for Heroes where owners can have their Cars Detailed for a Fee.

I cannot remember how many times a 'White Van' got in the way of my photography. One of the 'Brick Whatsits' that I referred to during my Coastal Trip.

Another 'View Blocker' This lorry was almost blown off of the road to the left. Who was showered in dust

 I finally arrive in Northampton following a lovely but windy drive through the countryside.

Strangely, I did not take any photos of the Mog and the Stores today. At Northampton the car was a fair way away in an undercover car park. At St Albans, I just forgot to take one.

This is the second store where I have seen these gradually sloping escalators. I think that they are a great way to allow our aging population (like me) to take a full trolley to the upper floor and the Cafe. I like the Cafe and the Sainsbury's Cappuccino is brill. 

To stand opposite the Giant Sausage Burger all day at each store was absolute Torture.
Both of these views above were taken from my collecting position in the Foyer. The people of Northampton were being generous as were the promotional team for the new Blue Dragon Stir Fry  Sauces who provided me with a few hot samples, lest they go cold and had to be thrown away. They are delicious by the way.

I had only been there for about an hour when a Red Cross Collector in full Nurses uniform arrived to continue her mornings collecting. I had been double booked. There was no way that I would dissipate her chances of collecting by moving somewhere else. So I relocated to the upstairs restaurant for a coffee before setting off for St Albans (view from the cafe). 

Now I was to drive the A5 again and beat a hasty path to st Albans.

Driving through Towster. If I had had time I would have liked to take a wander around Towster. It appears to be an interesting town.

I am sure that the 1900's cars would have stopped here for a rest.

I wonder how many of these buildings were here in 1900?

The Ornate Gateway to Towster Racecourse.

Continuing along the A5 towards Milton Keynes, Dunstable to my destination at St Albans

Another 'B' White Van. Where do they all come from? I Know! White Van Land!

Once again I follow a Ocado Van this time into St Albans and head for Saisnsbury's. I must be getting Demob Happy early as I forget to take any photos at the store there???? 

As we head through St Alban's I am keeping watch for the 'More Than Teapot' because as a member, I would like to 'Feel the Love' - No sign of it anywhere!!!

This shot is the nearest that I would get to see the Cathedral without a special diversion. There was no time for that today.

My fund raising session at Sainsbury's store over as it was my 20th Store and the end of the Fund Raising element of my 1000 Mile Rally. 

I left to finish my journey via Central London at Whitehall and then back along the A4 Bath Road to Slough where I began 11 days before.
I expected to follow the A5 into Marble Arch but my Sat Nav had other ideas taking me across to South Mims to pick up the A1.

In the inimitable words of Victor Meldrew, 'I dont believe it'. A Red Post Office Van this time.

Crossing the North Circular near Hendon.

I think this must be Finchley

This is Regents Park. I have to Turn Right to avoid going through the Park. A left turn would take me passed London Zoo.

Almost approaching the Marylebone Road which I should cross over into upper Baker Street (of Sherlock Holmes fame before turning along the Marylebone Road to Upper Regent Street, where the BBC is Located. 

One of the old Gate Houses to Regents park 

I pop out onto the Marylebone Road to turn left next to the Planetarium next to Madame Tussaud's Waxworks.

Below is the Royal Acaamy of Music Building

Coming up behind one of the Big Buses - Continuous Get on and off Tour Circuits of London's Main Sights.

We turn into Marylebone High Street and pass the Terrance Conran, Orrery Restaurant where I once had a £350 Business Lunch for Two People! 

We go left along Weymouth Place to take the next Right Turn which takes me down the famous centre for Private Medicine, Harley Street to left turn into Wigmore Street.

Then its along Cavendish place to eventually get to Upper Regent Street - Across Cavendish Square I can see the back of John Lewis Oxford Street Store. 

Driving down Upper Regent Street towards the Oxford Street Crossing I need and Overhead Shot to see the BBC Building which is now behind me. I just get a reasonable frame of the Monument.

Driving down Lower Regent Street I need another overhead shot to try and capture the Jaeger Flagship Shop of my old and most cherished company. Hamleys, next door gets a better exposure.

Technically it is Rush Hour but the traffic is being kind atthe moment as I pass the Burberry Store.

Approaching Piccadilly Circus, the Buses and Taxis begin to fill the lanes. The Old Cafe Royal is on my left at this point.

This is more like it - Driving in London at its Best. Its Raining now, by the way.

I pre paid the Congestion Charge - this being my fist ever drive in the zone since it was introduced in February 2003.

It was a matter of great difficulty negotiating the traffic around the circus and managing to take this snap of the Eros statue.

We turn into the Haymarket and the traffic clears temporarily before we take a left at the bottom into Trafalgar Square.

Peeking around the side of the coach I can see the front of Canada House and the Church of St Martins in the Field on the other side of Trafalgar Square. No longer does traffic have to circumnavigate Trafalgar Square so in no time at all we are going to turn into Whitehall.

The Western End (appropriately, The Sainsbury's Wing ) of the Famous National Gallery

Being held up at the Traffic Lights gave this bunch of Chinese Visitors a 'Mog' Photo Opportunity. 

What you cannot see is the crowd of  French Students in the Back Seat of the Coach frantically waving to me. 
I gave both groups great joy when I gave them a wave using one of my small Union Flags.

As we turn into Whitehall, I get this quick snap of Nelson's Column

The National Gallery on the left.

More of Canada House and another Over the Head shot of Nelson on his high plinth.

Trafalgar Square is currently being prepared for some event or other. On the left there is an empty Plinth used by artists to exhibit their latest offering. Here you can just see 'The Golden Boy on a Rocking Horse' being the current occupant.

As I circle the Charles 1st Roundabout at the top of Whitehall, I get this lucky shot of Big Ben in the distance. It becomes more difficult to photo the nearer I will get later.

Do you understand what I mean! Red Buses are Big Scene Blockers.

Another lucky shot.

The unpredictability of London Traffic clears my route as I approach the Finishing Line of the 1900 Thousand Mile Trial

This photo, taken from the History of the RAC, shows the actual side steet to Whitehall where the 1900 Thousand Mile Trial Cars gathered at the Finish. I could not find this on the Modern Street Plan. 

The access end of Downing Street is just visible on the Right
I find myself along side of the relitivley recent 2005 Monument to the Women of World War 2. 
I am much too close to take the whole monument.

Here I just catch the Easter End of Westminster Abbey ahead.

I just had to get this shot of the statute to Sir Winston Churchill, Britains most famous Leader of the Modern Era.

Unfortunately, I could not reset the zoom quick enough before taking this one of Westminster Abbey as I turn left around Parliament Square. This one handed driving with photography is tricky

Along Birdcage Walk I pause for this shot of the famous Guards Barracks close to Buckingham Palace.

It is my intention to make a circuit of the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace but I have no idea what restrictions would be in place following the State Opening of Parliament which too place the day before.

This proves to be the best shot I will get of Buckingham Palace from the Mog.

The Buckingham Place West Wing and the Victoria Monument

After taking this overhead shot I realised that I was being followed by a Policeman on Motorcycle as he pulled up alonside me at the next set of traffic lights. I drove slower and he pulled away, much to my relief.

At the top of the Mall I turned into Horse Guards road to take this stationary shot of the Parade Ground where they Troupe the Colour on the Queens Official Birthday (and was the venue for the Olympic Beach Volleyball)

The Guards Division War Memorial, Horse Guards Road, City of Westminster

Here the Millennium Wheel is just visible above Horse Guards Parade.

Back along Birds Cage Walk passing Buckingham Palace for the second time on my way out of London now.

The Gift Shop at the west side of Buckingham Palace.

Gridlock prevails as the Sat Nav guids me towards the A4 and out of London to the West.

The Royal Mews with a glimps into the back courtyards of Buckingham Palace.

Heading out along Buckingham Palace Road before swinging right back to Hyde Park Corner to pick up the Cromwell Road to the west.

We arrive at Hyde Park Corner and turn an immediate Left towards Knightsbridge and Harrods Store.

The famous Harvey Nichols Store at the Top Left and Harrods all in Lights below also on the Left.

Harrods in all its Glory, where they are said to sell anything from a 'Pin to and Elephant'

The Victoria & Albert (   V&A ) Museum is just coming into view on the left.

Next its the Science Museum of Dinosaurs & Steam Engines fame 

Those famous Terraces lining the A4

The building which is designed to look like a Giant Liner

Back Under the Hammersmith Flyover, trying to stay on the old A4

I cannot find the name of this Art Deco building which is a famous landmark

Another 'B' Van in the way. 

The Raddison Heathrow Hotel on the A4.

Two scenes visible as I cross over the M25 heading west.

I am still on the A4 about to cross the M4 to go through Langley and then into Slough.

At Last, I arrive at my starting point on the A4 Cross Roads at Slough. Right Turn here and head north to Beaconsfield & Home.

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