Monday, 22 April 2013

Lunch at you do!

So today I went for lunch at you do.  Sadly (obviously?) I wasn't there to receive any great honour; no, I was just there for a bite to eat and a good old gossip.  You see my friend Grace works there, and at some point casually mentioned that you could have guests for lunch; Emily and I have been nagging her mad to invite us down ever since.

Tourist shot!
*Note to fellow cape wearers: Carrying your bag under your cape is not fantastically you can see.

As well as a delicious (and generously subsidised) lunch on the terrace over looking the river (enough to make me want to ditch journalism and move into politics), Grace gave us a whirlwind tour of the grounds...

Incredible stone work including some very impressive gargoyles. I do love a good gargoyle.

Westminster Hall: Built in 1027 it's the oldest part of Parliament, and the only surviving part of the original Palace of Westminster

Its awe-inspiring wooden ceiling is especially important as historians didn't previously think that carpenters were able to build self-supporting roofs until much later (13th or 14th century)

Em and I posing with some rather fantastic (in a Liberace kinda way) stone Deer. 

After Westminster Hall Grace took us through to the main building (where sadly I wasn't allowed to take pics).  We walked through St Stephen's Hall (which was home to the first Common's chamber), into the central lobby (a large hexagonal space with the House of Commons chamber to one side and House of Lords chamber to the other), and best of all into the actual House of Commons chamber itself - the highlight of the whole trip.  Being inside the chamber was insanely exciting and a little surreal.  It's much smaller than you'd think/ it looks on't telly.

I even came home with a souvenir in the form of a rather grand bottle or House of Commons sparkling water!  Who says politics isn't glamorous?

Anyway I just thought I'd share this as it really was one of the most exciting days out I've had in ages.  And don't worry if you don't have a friend with a jazzy job, Parliament is open (well bits of it) to everyone.  You can find out more about visiting, or even do a virtual tour here.

No doubt I'll be back on the leftovers in front of my laptop at the kitchen table for lunch tomorrow...

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