London Day 4 – Monday, August 18, 2014

Itinerary: Windsor Castle, Oxford, and Stonehenge.

This tour was pre-booked a couple a months before our trip. Our coach was leaving Victoria Coach Station and after rushing, getting lost, and running around the confusing, under construction area, we finally found our bus tour!

Our tour guide was Russell and our driver was Ian. Russell was a short man with brown hair and a mustache. He was a stylish dresser with a brown jacket and suspenders.
He noticed my TARDIS necklace and mentioned that the new season would premiere that Saturday. I’d see it when I got home the next week.

Our first stop was Windsor Castle. While we were on the queue to get into the castle Russell took aside those in our group who had the London Pass to bring them to their entrance. With the London Pass you pay a fee, and then you get your own skip-the-line entrance at certain attractions because you already paid.

As he was taking them aside a Windsor Castle employee asked if the group was with Russell. He responded that they were and that they had London Passes. She then proceeded to explain that they could go on ahead. Russell said that they were with him and he was taking them to their separate entrance and he would be back for the rest of the group. There was a back and forth exchange about this and then Russell said, “I’m taking them in.” The Windsor Castle employee was taken back and widened her eyes at his tone.

He was a bit snippy, but that will always be an inside joke between Victoria, Stefan, Daniela and I. Throughout the trip we would periodically say to one another, “I’m taking them in.” LOL

Here are a few small things Russell told us about Windsor Castle. George IV was very vain and built ornate castles. He rebuilt Windsor. It had many styles over the years and the one we see today is from the 1820’s.

George IV was the fattest King of England. Henry VIII was the second fattest. George IV was 350 pounds and had a 54″ waist. This has been disputed by people, but Russell said George IV is the inspiration for the nursery rhyme:

Georgie Porgie, Puddin’ and Pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry,

George IV was a terrible drinker, gambler, lover, and king.

Windsor Castle is the home of the Queen today, when she is not spending the summer in Scotland. The Round Tower is not open to the public because she keeps her archives and private art collection there. She has many drawing from Leonardo da Vinci. I am jealous.

After going through security we went straight to St. George’s Chapel. We needed to be back at the bus by 12:15 so this would be the express tour. On our way to St. George’s Chapel we encountered the changing of the guard. It’s a long ceremony so we just took a few photos, and I took some video.

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Review: All Souls Trilogy: The Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness (with spoilers)


After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close. 

Oh my gosh, looking through LiveJournal I saw that I never did continue my book discussion: discovery of witches and shadow of night 😦 That is what I get for procrastinating- for almost two years!!! I didn’t realize how much time passed and how it flew by. This actually became an issue when reading The Book of Life. I overestimated my memory. I found I forgot a lot of details and had to go back to old notes and my LJ entries to refresh my memory. I really should have followed my sister’s footsteps and reread the first two books before the July 15th release of this last book in the trilogy. From now on if it has been close to, or more than, a year since I read the previous books in a series, I am doing a reread before the new release.

What I am planning to do before the end of the year is reread all three, back to back, and finish my analysis/discussion post and I’ll be able to catch all the clues I missed 2 years ago. I will also post my fan casting. Here’s a sneak peak at my dream cast: Richard Armitage as Matthew. Instead of a movie I would turn it into a three season TV series, 22 to 25 episodes, with each season focusing on a book.

WB Studios did have the rights, but they expired some time this year. Deborah Harkenss mentioned that at Book Con. She has the rights again. She also said early script drafts were turning Diana and Matthew into teenagers. BLAH! NO! So she said until she finds a company who will do the books right and keep the character WHO THEY ARE, then she will not sign the rights away. It is better to wait for it to be done right than rush into making it a movie/TV production, and I agree.

On to my review – with spoilers hidden.

First off I want to say I enjoyed the conclusion. It wasn’t perfect, and I am left wanting a bit more completion to the answers, but over all I am content.

Like the previous two books, The Book of Life still has everything I love rolled into a whole story. Magic, science, romance, some historic fiction, some action, travel, family dynamics and love. It is like a soap opera, and I mean that in a positive way. It is why these books shouldn’t be movies, but a TV series. There is so much going on and I don’t want a condensed version.

Onto the the spoilers. I’ll start with my issues first and end on the high note of what I loved and my favorite quotes.

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