Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Spy Friday featuring Taste and Tournament

Even when we are home on the weekends, we try to get out of the house and do something.  
With the chill and darkness, the tendency is to hibernate.
But there is so much to do we make ourselves get out.  

We went to the Taste of London over the summer and
decided that we wanted to try the Christmas version also.  

The Taste of Christmas was inside, thankfully.  There were so many booths and a lot of great food. 
We brought home a few things... gourmet chocolate, anchovy paste, gin.  

This was my favorite booth.  Not very gourmet, but who cares. 

 I now have chocolate fudge poptarts, Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie and Brownie Mix!!

 I would highly recommend the Taste of London and the Taste of Christmas for a fun day out. 

The other event we attended that weekend was the British Military Tournament

It's kinda like the British version of a rodeo, but not really.
Similarities?  Horses, hats and a tractor.  But other than that, it was unlike anything I've seen.

The event raises funds for three charities
that serve the members of the military and their families.
It is usually attended by s few members of Royalty. 
Prince Michael of Kent was in attendance.
(The Duke and Duchess were scheduled for the next evening, but they had to cancel.)

This year's tournament celebrated the 60 years of Queen Elizabeth's reign.
and featured the elite drumming, marching and riding regiments of the British Military.   
Great Britain has three military branches, the Royal Navy (with Royal Marines), the Army and the Royal Air Force

The Household Calvary had a very busy year with the Diamond Jubilee. 

There were historical reenactments, drill displays, and some amazing riding. 

The most interesting and curious display was the Royal Navy's traditional ladder display.  It's like a choreographed rigging dance.  The two teams in white tights high-stepped it into the arena. 

They performed this remarkable display put to music going up, down and through the ladders. 
The tradition goes back to the days of ships with mast rigging.
It was fascinating and a bit quirky. 

One of the charity mascots entertaining the crowd during a transition.

These guns were carried by teams of six horses, led by three soldiers each. 
They raced around the arena in a fabulous display before firing a salute.  

In 1842, Queen Victoria heard bagpipes for the first time on a visit to the Scottish highlands.  
She was immediately enchanted (as I am) and decided to have a
lone piper to play for her each morning.  

Queen Elizabeth has continued the tradition.
Every morning the Queen's Piper plays beneath her window. 
I've asked for my own Piper for Christmas.  TE said he will see what he can do. 

This massed bagpipe band came out of the mist.
I heard them coming and immediately burst into tears.  The sound of bagpipes absolutely moves me.  (TE thinks I'm weird.)

I've always just loved that sound.  And to hear so many of them all together. 
It was so special.  

 Next, was...

Each team has a gun that they have to break down, transport to the other end of the arena, reassemble and fire.
The two teams, "Fearsome" and "Terrible" were fierce competitors and really got the crowd going.  Our team, "Fearsome" won, of course.  

There was also a very realistic modern military re-enactment of a bomb disposal team. 
To be honest, it was a little uncomfortable. 
The reality that this is actually happening somewhere in the world
is not something we always think about.

As a military brat, it was really interesting to see all of this.
The British military is highly respected and supported in Great Britain.

Amidst all of the pomp and ceremony of the tournament,
we were reminded that the military is full of men and women serving and sacrificing.

It was a tribute to them and their families.



  1. NEED that pancake mix!! Haha my Fiance is obsessed with pancakes ever since he went to American when he was 8. I think that's his biggest regret of me moving to England (and not him moving to America) is the lack of pancakes.....

  2. Well. That just looks like a perfect night... I bet it was a great show!

  3. I am determined to make it to one of those 'Taste of...' at some point! They just opened an American food store in Leeds...small, but has all those faves like you showed. And finally, I have to laugh because Richard would be right with Matt giving you the side eye about the bagpipes. He despises them...must be an English thing! :)


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