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A few days ago, I went to London with my Brownies.

GirlguidingUK’s ICANDO centre is just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, and we took the girls up for a badge day to earn their Healthy Heart badge.  The day was full of exciting activities, involving running around carrying balloons pretending to be blood cells, poking fruit with sticks, putting on plays (about how to resist peer pressure and not start smoking, although you would hardly know that from the results), and so on.

So afterwards we asked them what they enjoyed.  Here’s a selection of the answers (suitably edited to provide context!):

“Going on the train.”

“Seeing the pelican in St James’ Park.”

“Seeing Prince Harry!” (For the record, we’re not certain – but how many other young men who look extremely similar to him would be driving a black range rover into the grounds of Buckingham Palace?)

“Seeing Paddington Bear!”

“Going to the shop.  I bought a teddy bear with a Brownie jumper on!”

“The underground.  Except there were two people snogging!

Hmmm.  No mention of the activities that we actually went there for?  Interesting. Next time, perhaps we could just take the train to London, hang around outside the palace for a while, and then go home.

I went to London at the weekend to see the Queen’s Diamonds.  She’s got them on exhibition at the palace, because it’s her Diamond Jubilee year.  They’re very pretty (but you’re not allowed to take photos, so I can’t share).  I was struck by two things:

Firstly, she actually wears them.  Many people would be too scared to wear them in case they lost them, were attacked, or they broke.  But I suppose she’s got enough security around her to not worry about loss or attack, and I imagine they are slightly better made than the majority of jewellery.

Secondly, things I discovered on the tour of the palace state rooms – Buckingham Palace has secret passages!  This appeals to my inner child.  I do have to wonder, though, whether I should be referring to them as “secret” passages, given that they are mentioned on the tour and thus pointed out to millions of people every year.

What do you think?  Am I allowed to call them secret, or should I use “hidden”?

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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