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  • Deborah Kade

Bath to London



First of all, we would like to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

In Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother used to present bowls of shamrock flown over from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards, a regiment in the British Army consisting mostly of soldiers from Ireland. The Irish Guards still wear shamrock on this day, flown in from Ireland.

Christian denominations in Great Britain observing his feast day include The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.

Every March 17, Ireland celebrates one of its patron saints, St Patrick, with a national holiday and a traditional feast. Although it is not a public holiday in England, London marks St Patrick’s Day with fun and spectacular events every year, usually on the weekend closest to March 17.

The official three-day St.Patrick's celebration in London begins on March 17 and culminates in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Central London and Trafalgar Square Festival on March 19 (St.Joseph's Day).

FACTS ABOUT IRISH AMERICANS

There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.

Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.

Across the country, 11 percent of residents lay claim to Irish ancestry. That number more than doubles to 23 percent in the state of Massachusetts.

Irish is the most common ancestry in 54 U.S. counties, of which 44 are in the Northeast. Middlesex County in Massachusetts tops the list with 348,978 Irish Americans, followed by Norfolk County, MA, which has 203,285.

Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state except Hawaii and New Mexico. It is the leading ancestry group in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

There are approximately 144,588 current U.S. residents who were born in Ireland.

On second thought, I should have put descriptions under all my pictures from yesterday. Being from Massachusetts, I just assumed everyone has heard about Thomas Pownall.

Thomas Pownall was a British politician and colonial official. He was governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1757 to 1760, and afterward served in the British Parliament. He travelled widely in the North American colonies prior to the American Revolutionary War, opposed Parliamentary attempts to tax the colonies, and was a minority advocate of colonial positions until the Revolution.

Classically educated and well-connected to the colonial administration in London, Pownall first travelled to North America in 1753, and spent two years exploring the colonies before being appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey in 1755. He became governor of Massachusetts in 1757 after helping engineer the recall of longtime Governor William Shirley. His administration was dominated by the French and Indian War (called the "Seven Years War" in England) in which Pownall was instrumental in raising Massachusetts provincial militia for the war effort. He opposed military interference in colonial administration, including attempts to quarter British troops in private homes, and had a generally positive relationship with the colonial assembly.

Returning to England in 1760, he continued to be interested in colonial affairs, publishing widely read materials on conditions in the colonies, including several editions of The Administration of the Colonies. As a member of Parliament, he regularly advocated for colonial positions without much success, but supported the war effort once the Revolutionary War began. In the early 19th century he became an early advocate of the reduction or removal of trade barriers, and the establishment of a solid relationship between Britain and the United States. Several writers have proposed that Pownall was Junius! a pseudonymous writer of letters critical of British governmental practices.

John Adams wrote, "Pownall was the most constitutional and national Governor, in my opinion, who ever represented the crown in this province."

Pownall died in Bath in 1805.

The towns of Pownal, Maine and Pownal, Vermont are named after Thomas Pownall. Dresden, Maine was once named Pownalborough in his honor. This recognition survives in the Pownalborough Courthouse, an historic property built there in 1761. The remains of Fort Pownall, named for him, survive in Maine's Fort Point State Park.

This morning, we had a very leisurely breakfast. We both had the French omelette with tomato (not Michael) and fresh asparagus. Very delicious.

We so enjoyed ourselves at the Chestnuts House in Bath. It is a lovely bed and breakfast. Toni was a perfect host.

Toni had a farmer (thick bacon and homemade sausage) and the egg man make a delivery to the B&B. You know your food is fresh! That's the reason everything was so tasty.

This is the off season and many of the bed and breakfast places as well as boutique hotels had vacancies but not ours. Besides spotless rooms, a wonderful breakfast and cakes left in your room for afternoon tea, the Chestnuts House has parking spaces which are difficult to find and are on the pricey side.

We definitely will come back again. We highly recommend this place!!!!!

Another pleasant journey from Bath to London. More trees and flowers starting to bloom. More sheep grazing on the hillsides.

We returned our rental car back to Heathrow as there is no need to have a car in London. We then took the London Express to Paddington Station, which is the end of the line. Finally, we took a taxi to the hotel. The cabbie was quite chatty and we learned so many things about London and St. Patrick's Day. They celebrate St. Patrick's Day the 17th to the 19th. The parade will be held on Sunday by Trafalgar Square.

Beautiful flower beds dot around the city. Daffodils are the prevalent flower blooming right now. So many daffodils border Green Park!! People stopping and admiring all the flowers. The flowers in front of our hotel in the park are not in peak. Tulips just starting to pop out of the ground.

What flowers do you think are blossoming by Buckingham Palace? You will have to wait on an answer when we go by closer than what we did today.

While in London, we are staying at The Royal Horseguards on 2 Whitehall Court, where history meets modern day.

This majestic five-star hotel presides over the River Thames with outstanding views; anticipate fully refurbished Victorian elegance. From glittering chandeliers to contemporary design, this central hotel opposite the London Eye reflects a proud heritage. Enjoy the original tiled floors and discover a hotel with a secret past. Stay in the building that was once home and office to the first ‘Chief’ of Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Sir Mansfield Cumming, and now commemorated with an English Heritage Blue Plaque.

"Sir Mansfield Cumming, the first Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, has been commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque at his former London home and office at 2 Whitehall Court, which is now part of The Royal Horseguards Hotel.

Known as ‘C’ due to his habit of initialing papers he had read, Cumming was Chief of the Secret Intelligence Bureau – as it was then known – from 1909 until his death in 1923. His influence is still felt today as each subsequent chief of the service has adopted the pseudonym ‘C’ which also inspired Ian Fleming’s character ‘M.’

Alex Younger, the Chief of The Secret Intelligence Service unveiled the English Heritage blue plaque to Mansfield Cumming at 2 Whitehall Court on Monday 30th March 2015. This was his home from 1911 to 1921 and headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Bureau during the First World War. The exuberant 19th century French Renaissance style building is grade II listed, and is now part of The Royal Horseguards Hotel.

With a background in the Royal Navy, Cumming was an inspired choice for the new agency tasked with intelligence gathering overseas. Hard working, committed and secretive he recruited agents to work across the world and was engrossed by what become known as ‘tradecraft’ – secret writing, disguises, inventions and mechanical gadgets which he trialled in his own lab.

During the First World War Cumming was responsible for creating the wartime network ‘La Dame Blanche’ – which reported on enemy troop movements, and included 400 agents by 1918 – and aided the arrest of a number of German spies in England.

Riddian Davies, General Manager of Royal Horseguards Hotel said: ‘We are delighted to host this prestigious event, to commemorate Sir Mansfield Cumming, the brave and extraordinary founder of the MI6 at The Royal Horseguards Hotel. We hope this blue plaque will encourage people to remember his legacy in years to come and to discover the stunning history behind the hotel which was once his home and office.’

Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Chairman of the English Heritage Trust, said: “Mansfield Cumming was an extraordinary leader whose influence is still keenly felt within MI6 and popular culture today. As the second longest serving Chief, Cumming led the Bureau for 14 successful years, helping to keep Britain safe during one of the most turbulent periods of the twentieth century. It would be difficult to imagine the Secret Service without the legacy of the original ‘C’.”

Alan Judd, a leading biographer of Mansfield Cumming, said: “Mansfield Cumming was a retired naval commander of 50 when in 1909 he was offered a second career - to start and run the Secret Service. The organisation he formed grew into what we now know as MI6, shaped to this day by his integrity, determination, humour and idiosyncracies. Whitehall Court was the Secret Service headquarters and Cumming's home throughout the First World War and it was here that many of the stories, traditions, myths and realities of modern espionage originated.”

Cumming becomes the third secret service connection to be honoured with an official London blue plaque, the others commemorate Second World War agents Violette Szabo and F.F.E. Yeo-Thomas GC, ‘The White Rabbit’.

The English Heritage London Blue Plaques scheme is generously supported by David Pearl, the Blue Plaques Club, and members of the public.

The life of Sir Mansfield Cumming

1859: Born ‘Mansfield George Smith’ in Lee, then part of Kent

1871: Aged 12 joins the Royal Navy, training in Dartmouth and serving on ships including HMS Raleigh

1885: Retires from Royal Navy for unknown reasons and settles in London

1889: Marries Leslie Marion Valiant Cumming and changes name to ‘Mansfield Smith Cumming’

1885-98: Cumming is believed to have worked as private secretary/estate manager to the Earl of Meath

1898: Took charge of the defence vessels which protected Southampton from invasion

1906: Became a founding member of the Royal Aero Club

1909: Offered the job of Chief of the new Secret Service Bureau. Becomes known within the Bureau as “C”. Parallel domestic intelligence section – later MI5 – headed up by Sir Vernon Kell.

1914: Involved in a car accident which kills his son and results in his leg being amputated

1919: Promoted to Captain and knighted for his work

1920: The Secret Service Bureau becomes the Secret Intelligence Service, later known as MI6

1922: Cumming discusses his replacement

1923: Passes away at his Holland Park home shortly before scheduled retirement

I included pictures of our beautiful room on the Thames. Gorgeous views of the Thames and the London Eye.

We decided to get some walking in before dinner. Walked a loop along both banks of the Thames. Busy boat traffic on the river from barges, to tour boats to pleasure boats. Water was choppy. Very cold and strong breeze coming off the water.

Passed by the London Eye.

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. Also known as the Millennium Wheel, it has also been called by its owners the British Airways London Eye, then the Merlin Entertainments London Eye, then the EDF Energy London Eye. Since mid-January 2015, it has been known as the Coca-Cola London Eye, following an agreement signed in September 2014. The structure is 443 feet tall and the wheel has a diameter of 394 feet.

When erected in 1999 it was the world's tallest Farris Wheel. Its height was surpassed by the 520 feet (158 m) tall Star of Nanchang in 2006, the 541 feet (165 m) tall Singapore Flyer in 2008, and the 550 feet (168 m) High Roller Las Vegas)in 2014. Supported by an A frame on one side only, unlike the taller Nanchang and Singapore wheels, the Eye is described by its operators as "the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel".

We continued on to Big Ben and the buildings of parliament.

Many Irish people out celebrating tonight and we could see the restaurants and especially the pubs filling up quickly.


We ate dinner at Fuller's Red Lion And and Pie Pub.

"Situated in London's political heart, The Red Lion is a stone's throw from Number 10, Big Ben himself and the London Eye. It's been the favoured watering hole of the political elite for centuries – and thanks to a fabulous refurbishment in 2014, this is a pub still in its prime…

Situated between 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, the Red Lion is probably the best pub in the city for lovers of political history. There's every chance you'll catch a glimpse of some of our Government's elite in the bar, too."

The Red Lion has perfected the pie.

"Deep-filled with a range of sumptuous fillings, our pies are individually hand-crafted from the finest shortcrust pastry, and served with delicious mashed potato, buttered savoy cabbage and plenty of rich gravy. They’re best enjoyed with a pint of Fuller’s real ale – a point proven by our popular tasting board, which pairs three mini pies with three complementary samples of beer. Beer is our other speciality here at The Red Lion. We’ve got a great line-up of Fuller’s cask ales on tap and we’re also proud to showcase a new collection of brews including Chimay, Frontier and Sierra Nevada. Cider from Cornish Orchards is on tap as a great alternative for lovers of the apple. If you prefer grape to grain, you’ll enjoy perusing our exclusive wine list too – or for something a little stronger, we’ve got a great collection of spirits including a wide range of whiskeys."

Michael and I had the carrot and coriander soup for a starter and then we each had a pie.

For the main course, Michael had The Red Lion House pie which today was pork and potatoes. He had the chips (steak fries and the veggie). I had The Three Bird Roast (goose, pheasant and duck slowly braised in whiskey, apricot and a 5 spice sauce). Served with mash and the veggie (shredded kale and broccoli). Very tasty, yummy, delicious and so filling!!!

Plenty of delicious food, pleasant atmosphere and an excellent price. Perfect meal!

I will stop for tonight. I'm going to lie in bed and watch the colorful lights of the city.

Another great day here in England.

Raised a glass for your health and happiness!!!! Until tomorrow......


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