Grendier Guards Rehearse for Trooping the Colours

If you perform in public, you have to  rehearse no matter what it is.



CSM Steve Williams and CSM Matthew Brooks at Wellington Barracks
Photo by Heathcliff O’Malley courtesy of London Telegraph.

(CSM is the acronym of company sergeant major)

According to the official British Army website, a Company Sergeant Major is classified as a Warrant Officer Class 2. “This is a senior management role focussing on the training, welfare and discipline of a company, squadron or battery of up to 120 soldiers. WO2s act as senior adviser to the Major in command of the sub-unit and may also be selected for a commission as an Officer.”



Guardsman Simon Edis uses a clothes brush on Guardsman David Shelvey’s tunic at Wellington Barracks.

Photo by Heathcliff O’Malley courtesy of London Telegraph



The men are wearing their thick wool ceremonial uniforms so they are hot that is for sure. And it gets really hot under those bearskins. Previously made from the pelts of Canadian black bears, the “bearskin” hats have been made of synthetic bear fur for decades.



19 May 2010: A guardsman collapses on Horseguards during rehearsals for Trooping the Colour in celebration of the Queen’s Birthday on June 12.

Photo by Heathcliff O’Malley courtesy of London Telegraph



The Grenadier Guard is taken off the parade ground by stretcher bearers

Photo by Heathcliff O’Malley courtesy of London Telegraph



Daily Telegraph photographer Heathcliff O’Malley captured these behind-the-scenes pictures of the rehearsals at Horseguards Parade and Wellington Barracks.



The battalion of Foot Guards on ceremonial duties in London are housed in Wellington Barracks in London situated only three hundred yards from Buckingham Palace. The short distance allows them to reach the palace quickly in an emergency to reinforce the guards on duty.

(Photo by Lewis Clarke courtesy of Wikipedia)



Members of the Scots Guards take part in the rehearsals for Trooping the Colour

Photo by Heathcliff O’Malley courtesy of London Telegraph.

“Trouping the Color” is now carried out on the Queen’s official birthday. Unless a sovereign was born in the summer, the nation celebrates the sovereigns official birthday in the summer when the weather is apt to be better. The military ceremony of trouping the color  “dates back to the early eighteenth century or earlier, when the colours (flags) of the battalion were carried (or ‘trooped’) down the ranks so that they could be seen and recognised  by the soldiers.”

explanation from the official website of the British monarchy


I love London and if I had the money I would probably live here for part  of the summer but I don’t so that is sort of a fantasy. But there is something about London I have always loved ever since my first visit when I was 16. A long, long time ago.  In those days all the black cabs, which are still called ‘black cabs’ were actually black and carried no advertising.

Now about 35% of so from anecdotal observation seem to have ads all over them or usually they are painted a bright color with the ad as part of it. I’m surprised they haven’t put ads on Buckingham Palace.

Also when I  first came here in 1971 or 1972, theatre ads  in the tube stations were plastered on the walls and now they are in neat little frames. I preferred the sense of immediacy whih came somehow from an ad plastered on the wall.

I find the Tube here much easier to deal with than the Washington Metro. Everything is clearly marked and the DC Metro just isn’t that way. Maybe it will get better.

Curiously, while London Transport, or Transport for London, which is what the name was changed to about 15 years ago, says they have fazed out double decker buses, there are red double-decker buses everywhere.

Apparently, lots of bus service has been contracted out to private firms, presumably so  the government could break the unions and reduce wages, and these private companies use nothing but new, bright-red, double-decker buses. So that iconic symbol of London has come back which I find very pleasing.

English words and expressions, which I am attuned to since my next novel is told from the English point of view, catch my eye and ear a lot. “Alight from the car here for Buckingham Palace” says the announcement on the Underground.

In Boots the Chemist, you don’t get a flu shot, you get a “flu jab.” Prostitutes are politely referreed to in the press and by the police as “sex workers” and unemployed people are “workless.”

Last time I was here, about 8 years ago, they had withdrawn the one pound note from circulation and substitued a coin which is so much easier. Now they have a two pound coin although they never had two pound notes. I wish we would stop printing the one dollar bill and simply use one dollar coins instead.

We have tried that of course but unlike the Brits we did not withdraw the one dollar bill from circulation so the one dollar coin flopped. Presumably someone is making lots of money by keeping the currency as it is since there is no rational reason to do so.

One thing I have noticed every time I have been to the UK is there are almost no vending machines. There aren’t vending machines in the hotel. There aren’t vending machines outside of small stores. There just aren’t any vending machines. They are a convenience we take for granted and you really notice if they are not around.