Sunday, the younger one and I decided to join the masses in order to view the Thames River pageant. Knowing the child's distaste for crowds and just standing around killing time, we didn't leave the house until 1:00 to catch the 1:20 commuter train into Waterloo Station. It seems a lot of other people thought it would be a good idea to wait until the last minute to get into the city because it was standing room only by the time we all shuffled off for the walk to the river.
When we arrived at the London Eye, it was already crowded. We decided to walk east for a while to see if we could claim a better viewing spot. Settling on a stretch that was only about 4 deep, we chatted with the nice older British couple next to us. There was an NBA draft pick wannabe standing kinda kitty corner to us with his wife and small kids in tow. We scooted over so that he wouldn't be directly in front of us. But then over the course of the next hour the milling crowd shuffled a bit so that I was standing in the shadow of tall dude. And then I thought I was gonna lose my mind when the telephone pole put his 3 yr old daughter on his shoulders. Grrr...
As I stood there fuming and muttering under my breath about the skyscraper blocking my view, this older British gent passed by us. It smelled like he had been toasting the queen all morning. A couple people had already passed through the crowd, returning to the front on their way back to join their party. Loo breaks, no doubt. The British gent appeared to be somewhere in his 70s and was well-dressed, so it never crossed my mind he was a gate crasher. A couple minutes later, we heard some shouting at the rail. Then we witnessed a scuffle break out between the British gent - obviously NOT joining his party at the rail but rather trying to claim a prime viewing spot - and another grandfatherly looking fellow. The tipsy interloper had the grandfatherly sort by the front of his all weather jacket while the grandfatherly sort had the interloper by the throat. A couple of folks stepped forward to put an end to it before the police man stationed nearby was alerted to this little incident. The tipsy gent strode back by us hurling some very explicit insults at the folks on the rail. That was the end of our pre-flotilla show.
Still irritated by the fact that our view, especially the daughter's, was completely blocked, I contemplated saying something to the jolly green giant and his wife. However, the waves of anger must have penetrated their bit of cluelessness because the wife (with the other child on her shoulders) offered us the use of one of their periscope looking viewer thingies.
Thanks to this bit of cardboard and glass, the kid had a pretty good view of the boats as they floated past us on the Thames. Me... I had to hold my camera up over my head for most shots and about half the time my pics included parts of the black and white coat the tall guy's daughter was wearing. Here's a fuzzy one of the kid's elbow.