After vacuuming, washing dishes, and fiddling with cushions, I couldn't wait any longer. Although I knew I would be early, I headed to the tube station to wait.
I read a chapter of my book. I people-watched. I shifted my weight from side to side and suddenly realised I was doing a little flamenco step (sometimes that happens... I just start dancing). I watched the guard watch me, probably wondering what I was doing, wondering if I might be a threat to the safety of the station. I took out my book again, flipped through it, and, not focusing, resigned myself to waiting.
Finally (actually, right on time), the Bro emerged! The wait was over. We hugged and immediately starting talking. Lots to catch up on, lots of plans to make for the next few days.
After a snack and a shower, Bro felt refreshed enough to go out, so we walked, and somehow ended up near Buckingham Palace.
"Hey, we're pretty close to the palace" I said.
"Um, close like we were to the park, or actually close?" he countered.
"Actually close. It's right down there".
Not 100% convinced, he followed me through Green Park toward the palace.
"Wow, you'd think the giant fence, barbed wire and pointy spikes would be enough to deter people from breaking in... what's with all the police"? Bro asked as we neared the palace.
"Obama's in town", I replied.
We both agreed that it was unlikely any Canadian Prime Minister would get such a security detail. By the time we arrived at the palace gates, a small but lively crowd was gathered at the side gate. It turns out Obama was hosting dinner at the embassy, so he had to come out sometime...
We waited as we saw Chinese takeout get delivered (hmmm, a pre dinner snack?)
We waited as rows of police motorcycles drove in.
We waited as we got squished against the fence as more and more people came up to see if they could catch a glimpse of the president.
We waited as the rooftop snipers (yes, I'm serious) repositioned themselves and doubled in number.
We waited as an empty limo, a full range rover (4 SWAT guys), a full police van, and an armoured truck pulled in.
THEN we waited as cars started to come out, each time getting the crowd riled up, cameras in position, and ending in a collective, disappointed "oooo", cameras down.
The police were jolly, and told us without telling us that we should be ready at 7:30. "We can't say, but I'd say 7 would be too early to leave for an 8pm dinner, and you'd want to allow about 30 minutes to get there, since he's the host and has to arrive a bit early, don't you think?" one said, winking.
When two police helicopters flew into the vicinity, we knew it was nearly time. Another friendly bobby (I have a sneaking suspicion that they're ALL friendly) looked over and said, quietly, "yes!".
Cameras up, and the crowd goes WILD! Bro and I were less than a meter from the limo window, and Obama, looking absolutely ecstatic, was waving right at us.
And then it was over.
Or so most people thought. The crowd thinned and we regained our unsquished position along the fence in time to hear an officer comment that it was "funny": Obama's limo was flanked by 12 motorcycles and the Queen's car was only to have 3.
Bro and I looked at each other with ear-to-ear grins. The QUEEN??? YES!!! I'd been hoping to see her since I arrived in January, and now, on Bro's first day, we were going to see her!
We waited again, and it was worth it. The Queen was on "our" side, and she waved RIGHT AT US!
We smiled the whole way home.
"Tall Guy, GUESS WHO WE SAW" we ambushed Tall Guy as soon as we walked in the door, trapping him in the kitchen, bombarding him with our videos, pictures and excitement.
"Who?" he asked.
"Obama.... and.... wait for it....
Bro, Obama, and the Queen. Well worth the waits.