A view over the Thames from a footbridge. You can see how much traffic is on the river, pretty much constantly. In the distance, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Shard and ITV Studios.
On the South Bank, just behind This Morning's studio.
A plane flies overhead.
A selfie of Dawn and I on the South Bank, during a relaxing portion of our day. Plans to visit a few museums were abandoned in favour of sitting on a bench in the shade of a tree, drinking slushies and watching London go by.
After checking into the hotel, we made our way to Westminster Pier to catch our cruise on the Thames. We almost missed it - had we not legged it out of Westminster Tube Station, and had the boat not been delayed by 15 minutes we probably would have. Once on the boat, we could relax. There was complimentary champagne, which I politely declined, and canapés. I tried the caviar. I liked it.
The London Eye.
The Shard in the distance - in the foreground, lots of tiny people.
A great view.
The huge HMS Belfast in front of Tower Bridge.
A boat passes under Tower Bridge.
The driver (he was Irish, by the by) kindly stopped so we could all watch the bridge opening.
I was expecting a large boat, not just a tall boat.
The upper deck - the best.
Canary Wharf. It holds a special place in my heart as it was the first part of London I visited (apart from the airport).
The Cutty Sark on Greenwich Pier.
The Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich.
Old London in front of the new.
There are so many tiny little pubs right on the edge of the Thames.
The Shard and Tower Bridge.
The Tower of London.
Some large and oddly-shaped buildings.
The London Eye.
Walking through St. James's Park, we paused on a bridge to admire the view of Buckingham Palace.
But we didn't pause for long, as our true destination - and, in fact, the reason for our whole journey - was the Mall. Today was the Queen's official 90th Birthday Parade - and we were not going to miss it!
Even before nine in the morning, the Mall was a buzz of activity.
Police officers on horses patrolled up and down the stretch.
Soldiers made their way to Horse Guards Parade.
The first band walked past.
And then another.
Meanwhile, more soldiers were on the sides of the road, taking up positions between the police officers lining the edge of the road.
Each soldier was inspected, and no one could be a centimetre out of place.
The bands continued to pass by.
Inspection of the troops complete, the officers returned to the Palace.
The was a wave of excitement and cheering from the crowd as the first royal carriages passed by. They were very difficult to photograph as they were travelling at a full trot.
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge were in the first carriage.
Catherine having a joke with Prince Harry.
The horses and harnesses were immaculate.
Prince Harry waves to the crowd.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward wave at the crowd.
There was a 20 minute wait, and then...
The beautiful Clydesdale drum horse.
The other beautiful drum horse.
The band on their black horses.
A flash of neon green, and there she was: Her Majesty the Queen. (And on the right of the photo you can see Anne, Princess Royal, on horseback.)
To my delight, the Queen is looking right down the barrel of the lens in this one. She's probably thinking, "Who is that beautiful girl wearing the bright yellow shirt?" (That was me.)
Prince Philip waves.
Soldiers follow the royal carriage.
After the carriages had passed us by, we moved positions so we had a better view of Buckingham Palace. Our position was not as good, and at times the best way to see something was to watch on someone's phone.
A pair of police officers wait for the royal carriages to return.
The huge family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
Four Chinook helicopters kicked off a spectacular flypast.
The Red Arrows completed the show.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to England once again. Up, up into the clouds and away...
I would like to take a moment to thank my bestie Dawn who had the idea for the trip in the first place -I had a wonderful time thanks to you and your mad ideas. Thanks also to Her Majesty the Queen for looking right at me - amazing! And if you happen to be one of the three people I gave my card to on the Mall, it was lovely to meet you and thanks for visiting!