18-19 September- Musee des Blindes, Musee de la Cavalerie and Musee de l'Armee. Here's some photo's. Today I went up to the Musee de l'Armee. Still very impressive, even if they had closed the section I really wanted to see (mumble, &@#*, groan, grumble). Anyway, on to the the piccies:
Grenadiers a Cheval dans le Garde Imperiale Napoleon Bonaparte (MdlC)
Tomorrow I'm off to London for a night, then to Dublin and a tour of Ireland for a week. So I may be off the air most of the time, as there's all sorts of night activities that are optional for the trip, such as a craich (piss-up), mediaeval banquet (piss-up without table manners), craich with singing and dancing (piss-up with cuddles and caterwauling) and Irish Folk Fun (piss-up with fight). In other words just like any Gavan family get-together, but with more class.
21 September. In Dublin, in a really nice hotel room, in the Maldron Parnell Square. A major improvement on the budgie cage I was in, in London, which is why I cancelled my reservation there for the last four nights of the trip. We finally got to the ferry and I really enjoyed the relaxed cruise across the Irish Sea. Mind you, the weather changed a bit on the way, but I like the rain, so it doesn't worry me.
24 September: So far it has been a great tour. Last night we had a "Mediaeval" banquet in an old castle, and the Irish lasses who sang, played the harp and violin were very good- excellent harmony and two had great voices for the ballads they were singing. Tonight is a gathering, but I'm giving it a miss as I've picked up a head cold from one of the other tour members, so I'll take some Sudafed and crash early. The room I'm in, in the International in Killarney, is really good. Trafalgar can get some flak for their tours, but this one has been great. No piccies tonight, I'm doing some pillow bashing instead.
28 September: At the Clayton Hotel, Dublin airport, waiting to check out and get a taxi to the ferry port. Then it's back across to Wales- Menai, to be exact- and about a month wandering the UK. If you want to go to Ireland ask for the tours that have the Tour Director Jill McDonell and take whatever tour she's on. It was great, I made some nice friends (including Oscar, see below) and saw as much as could be fitted into 5 days. I'll be back, if I'm breathing, to do a different journey.
And I finish the night at the Menai Hotel in Bangor, Wales. Had a feed of fish and chips, tried Newcastle Brown Ale and am ready for laundry and the Royal Welsh Fusiliers tomorrow.
29 September: Got my laundry done and went up to Bangor town, to catch the 5C bus to Caernarfon. It was a quick run, about half an hour, and I was dropped off about two blocks from the castle. As expected, it was raining today, though as I type this the sun is making brief appearances. At Caernarfon, though, it was pissing down. So I decided not to climb the wall and went straight to the Royal Welsh (Welch before 1920) Fusiliers museum. It is a very good museum, with plenty of colours (all post 1918), medals and artefacts on display. I was in luck, sort of, there were three of the museum staff in attendance, all ex-Fusilier rankers, so I was able to ask about a mystery mitre that has had us guessing on Kronoskaf. I'd already found their officer's mitre so knew what the mystery one was, but the blokes there, once they'd chided me about the Wobblies loss to Wales in the RWC, were able to assure me that all the uniform items on display are either genuine or else, where they need to be better lit, copies of surviving artefacts.
Because of the rain a lot of photo's taken outside failed, but I was allowed to take three, without flash, in the museum. I was also given an SLR (with the original woodwork, not the later black plastic) to have a look at. As you will I put on safety, removed the magazine and went to cock the weapon, to clear it, but the working parts have been welded in the closed position. They grinned, asked me how long I'd served and we had a bloody good chat- when I got them off the subject of the RWC, at any rate. I then wandered off to the Black Boy/Buoy Inn (yes, someone had to go PC over a five-hundred year old name) with visions of a late lunch of roast lamb, lots of veggies and gravy before me. Unfortunately the place was packed and the dining garden was not in use (bloody rain). So I had a packet of crisps for lunch instead.
Kronoskaf, the mystery mitre is an obvious copy of the artefact, an original Major's mitre, in the RWF museum. The exceptions are that the yellow and green components of the blue and red material have faded out on the museum example, making those colours much darker than on the photo's posted to the group forum. Also the foliage around the feathers and the hangers on the side tassels on the the front plate looks like gilded copper wire (there's a greenish tinge to some strands), not a drap d'or or similar thread. I'll send the photo's to the group later on this week.
Here's the photo's, the first being the Waterford Crystal clock I forgot to download off my phone. Tomorrow it's the train from here to Shrewsbury, via Chester.
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