zoo_music_girl: (face)

About two o'clock I got a call from Graham and decided to go into town early based on what he told me about the itinerary for the afternoon. Unfortunately it was too short notice for Christa to meet me any earlier so I went in to St James's Park on my own. I found the little girl (and Graham) easily enough, just following the crowds and the noise. I was in a great spot to see her, but not a good place for photos as thin branches were in the way.

She was asleep in her deckchair but soon after I arrived they woke her up and she went for a walk. They were letting children sit on her arms, in the crook of her elbow.

I watched for a while and then went to find Christa. We went straight to Horse Guards Parade and got a reasonably good spot to watch the finale. I couldn't believe how many people were there. I was really glad to have seen so much over the weekend because it took the pressure off to try to get right to the front.

I could only really see by looking to either side of the guy in front or standing on tip toe, but I saw everything. I had to raise my camera well above my head to take any photos for most of the afternoon, so today's shots aren't very well composed and some of them are just plain squint!

We stood around for ages, but eventually the little girl approached from the park, but then turned left and headed up to The Mall. Some more time passed and she reappeared leading the elephant.

They both went into the main arena where the rocket waited. The little girl was dressed in a flying helmet and goggles and lifted into the rocket. The elephant and the little girl said goodbye and the lid was lowered on. The elephant blew steam into the rocket and suddenly silver streamers exploded everywhere. The rocket flared brightly and there were vast clouds of smoke. When they dispersed the lid of the rocket was lifted again, and the girl was gone!

The sultan and his entourage left the elephant, everyone took their bows to rapturous applause and we all went home.

(Well actually Christa, Tanya and I went to look at the cars and then met Aideen and friends for a drink, and then Christa and I had dinner in Melati, but that doesn't sound as neat and tidy an ending.

That was truly one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I'd consider travelling to see another Royal De Luxe show. I had tears in my eyes when I realised it was all over.)

Full gallery now here.
zoo_music_girl: (solveig)
If you're in or near London and haven't been to see The Sultan's Elephant yet I would urge you to go along to Horse Guards Parade this afternoon. I've posted a lot of photos over the weekend but what I'm not sure comes across is the sheer charisma of the elephant and the little girl.

I nearly skived off work on Friday afternoon to watch it all begin (and I really wish I had) but I contented myself with heading into town at 5pm. I came out of Embankment, headed up to Trafalgar Square and then into Admiralty Arch, where I could see crowds gathering. As I reached the corner of the Mall and Horse Guards Road I looked to my left and saw the elephant.

It was honestly one of the most amazing things I've seen in my life, and I am reasonably well travelled. I followed it for a while, taking photographs and then went in search of the little girl, keeping an eye open for a suitable dinner location for Saturday evening. I went up past the now open rocket on Waterloo Place and down towards Trafalgar Square, where I caught a glimpse of her on an open top tourist bus. I ran to catch up with her and got a few shots as she turned down Northumberland Avenue.

I went back to The Mall to follow the elephant again and bumped into [livejournal.com profile] zotz, who was down for the weekend to steward at the event, and managed to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] magfish. We followed the elephant around for a while, entranced and as excited as children. I got soaked in water from its trunk and it lifted a small truck full of hay and swung it around as if it weighed nothing. It was a real truck, about the size of Reliant Robin or a Mini, with a driver inside, who later drove off and parked it.

Aideen and I said goodbye to Graham around seven and went for dinner, then back to Horse Guards Parade to watch the puppets put to bed. The girl arrived first, still in her bus, and was lifted out the top with a crane. They took her shoes and socks off, changed her green dress for a pink nightie, placed her in her deckchair and then covered her gently with a blanket. She fell "asleep".

The elephant wasn't far behind her, getting into position in the enclosure and then kneeling to allow the Sultan and his court to disembark and be whisked away by a waiting stretch limo.

On Saturday I was back in for about 3pm, just in time for the rain to start. I made a quick detour via Artisan du Chocolat and then Pall Mall to look at the cars the little girl had stitched to the tarmac with a giant needle and thread and then met up with Aideen, Kate and Tony. There wasn't much to see at first, it was raining quite a bit and a sea of umbrellas obscured much of the view. The girl and the elephant were resting outside the National Gallery and we decided to go for a coffee. Everywhere was packed, so we gave up and went to get a good spot to view the rest of the show.

Around 4pm things started to happen. The little girl went for a walk round the elephant while the Sultan's court boarded it, then she was lifted onto its trunk and the procession began.

We hurried ahead of them to the bottom of Haymarket, where we got a good view despite the umbrellas and then Aideen and I decided to cut round to Piccadilly Circus and get ahead of it. We got a fantastic position to see it come round the corner and then stayed ahead of it till St James's St, where we found a convenient wall to stand on, giving us the best view of the day, in fact we were so close that only quick relflexes with my umbrella saved us from a thorough drenching by the elephant.

We left it there and headed off to meet our respective dining companions.


The Sultan's Elephant - my photo gallery.
zoo_music_girl: (solveig)
Day Three's photos have now been added to the gallery. Write up from the last couple of days later.


zoo_music_girl: (Default)
I'm too exhausted to do a proper write up and sort out all my photos properly, but I know some people were keen to see the photos, so here's a small selection of the 100 I took. It was awesome. More tomorrow.

I feel like this at the moment:

More here.
zoo_music_girl: (earthlight)
There's a rocket embedded in Waterloo Place, buried hard into the fabric of the road with dusty smelling smoke billowing out from underneath it. It looks mostly wooden, with some brass fixtures, and there's an oval window with closed red curtains in one side. The first installment of a periodical lies in piles around it and talks of a Sultan and his time travelling elephant.

more )

More photos here.
zoo_music_girl: (solveig)
The giant marionettes are coming to London from 4-7th May 2006. More info here.

I'll say something about Whitby later. No photos, I didn't take any.


zoo_music_girl: (Default)

March 2009

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