Saturday, September 21, 2002
London Open House weekend: What a fantastic idea, to open up some of London's buildings to the public free for the weekend. I resisted the temptation to queue up for Broadcasting House, or the Victorian Sewage Works down the road, and instead headed up to Westminster. The queueing crowds were mostly either over 50 or gay, or both. And I got to see 5 places that I'd always wanted to see:
Westminster Hall: Now that the Queen Mother has moved on, there were hardly any queues. I stood on the spot where her artificial hip had lain in state, just out of respect you understand.
Portcullis House: The new office block for MPs, famous for its fig trees imported at a cost of £150,000. If you're a UK taxpayer, you'll be glad to know none of them look as if they need replacing yet.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Magnificent and opulent courtyards and staircases. I suspect we bled the Empire dry to pay for it all.
Cabinet Office: Had to queue for one and a half hours, but well worth it just to see the door that Sir Humphrey couldn't get through when his key was confiscated in Yes Prime Minister. It has a card swipe now, by the way.
Midland Hotel, St Pancras: Glorious old hotel, now fallen into serious disrepair. I suspect it never recovered after the Spice Girls recorded the video for Wannabe there. Zig-a-zig-ah.
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