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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year's Day

I awoke to glorious blue skies this morning. What a great start to a new year. I decided I would go into London to walk through some of the parks. It was much busier than I thought it would be with lots of others having the same idea. In Green Park I came across these two gentlemen on their bikes who kindly posed for a picture.

They told me that they belonged to a special cycling club and were on their way to a parade. I followed them out of the park onto Piccadilly which had been closed to traffic.

As I followed them I came across ET leaning against the railings.

I then realised that it was part of the New Year's Day parade. I was unaware that this was the starting point and I had inadvertently stumbled across the tail end of the floats and performers waiting to be told they could move on.

There were lots of cars waiting to take their place in the parade.
Some old police cars

The ghostbusters were on hand in case of any problems.

These are some of the pearly Kings and Queens of London. The name pearly comes from the pearl buttons from which they decorate their suits. This tradition originated in Victorian times when the costermongers (street fruit sellers) used to have a few buttons sewn down the seam of their trousers. A young man called Henry Croft who had been brought up in a workhouse was fascinated by their flashy clothes and the fact they would all rally round to help fellow 'costers' who were having financial problems.  He decided to go  one step further and covered the whole of a suit with pearly buttons and then went round collecting money for the orphanage. So the idea of the pearly Kings and Queens was born.

There is one Pearly family for each of the London boroughs and the title is an inherited one. The buttons are all sewn on by hand and they certainly stand out in a crowd. All the work they do is for charity. It is a tradition that has been going on in London for 150 years. I hope it continues for another150.


  1. What an interesting morning ... those two gentlemen cyclists look very dapper ... I remember seeing a few Pearlies near " St Martins Church" on my last visit to London but didn't know where the name came from.

  2. I have only learnt about Pearlys in the last couple of years. A local friend made a pair of pearly gloves for another friend for her birthday. Love the Pearlys.

  3. You were in the right place in the right time. What a nice parade with all those old vehicles and the cyclists and the pearly costumes.

  4. How cool! I have never heard of the pearlies before, and now I feel much more educated! Love the pictures. :-)

  5. Wow---that was neat to stumble upon the parade... You managed to get alot of great photos.. I loved hearing about the "Pearly" folks of London... Interesting... Thanks for sharing.

  6. Cool that you stumbled across the parade staging area. That's a good way to see the entire parade without waiting on the side of a street. Happy New Year!

  7. what a fun surprise-any suggestions on how to get rid of the word verification?

  8. LOVE the cyclists and the pearly Kings and Queens. I didn't know about this tradition but it is so interesting! xx

  9. VERY cool! I don't know many places that have a New Year's Day Parade, let alone with such fun get-ups! :o)


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