2 April 2012: Houses of Parliament Visit

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On Monday 2 April, 15 of our Cubs, together with five adults, were invited to go on a visit to the House of Parliament. We got off to an early start, with a 7.30 am bus from Thornhill Park & Ride. The Cubs made their way to the back of the top deck (which I am sure was delightful for the other passengers who were presumably sitting there to keep quietly out of the way!) and several of the decided it was probably time to start eating their way through the snacks they had brought along. An accident on the M40 followed by a dreadful traffic jam between Marble Arch and Victoria nearly made us late but we persuaded the driver to let us out early and ran the rest of the way (through Green Park and past Buckingham Palace), arriving just in time for our tour.

Fortunately all of the Cubs made it through security and armed with our passes we made our way over to Westminster Hall. After a quick toilet break and some photos our tour began. We were shown various plaques on the floor, commemorating where a number of famous people had been executed, before heading through to the House of Lords.

In the House of Lords all of the seats are covered with red leather and, as commoners, we were not allowed to sit on them. We were shown around some very beautiful rooms, including the Queen's changing room and the Prince's Chamber. Having just been told that it was illegal to die in the House of Lords (they have to give you a State Funeral which is far too expensive) one of our Cubs went a very strange colour and fainted ... fortunately he made a full recovery - we think he was just very hot and dehydrated.

We met some of the doorkeepers, who each wear full black tie, adorned with a piece of jewelry worth £40,000,
 and which is officially classified as a part of the Crown Jewels! The Cubs were allowed to touch, but they were well attached so we weren't able to obtain one (we wanted to go somewhere a bit posher for our lunch).

In the House of Commons (green seats - a bit cheaper) we had a look at the dents which Winston Churchill had left in the table when he banged it with his hand during heated debates. We also went through the area where the MPs vote and three of the Cubs took our names while another two counted us all through. 

No day out is complete without a visit to the gift shop and the Cubs acquired plenty of House of Parliament themed stationery, chocolate and soft toys. After a quick photo opportunity outside with a policeman (who just happened to be a Scout Leader) and Big Ben in the background everyone was VERY hungry so we headed back to Victoria for McDonald's before making our way back to Oxford.