I'm halfway through my tour of Southern England and thought I'd share my Royal experiences so far. We avoided London this trip and so I can't report on anything there. We arrived Monday last week and spent the first couple of nights in Lewes and we didn't notice much buzz on the streets except most shops had a photo of the Queen in the window and signs were going up about being open or closed on the day of the funeral.
The buzz did get stronger as the week went on, in Winchester on Wednesday we stopped by the cathedral for a peak. People were lining up inside to sign the several memorial books available and we got in one of the lines to sign our respects as well. A lot of flowers left outside; not on the scale of Westminster and Buckingham, but a steady stream. It was a sombre mood inside cathedral but not really anywhere else we walked, business as usual.
Salisbury on Friday; the bus driver at Stonehenge said his wife went to London the day the viewing opened and was back in 8 hours and saw the coffin at Westminster, but our town tour guide on Saturday said he spent 17 hours going from Salisbury and back on Thursday including 13 hours in line. He says nobody was frustrated, everybody was friendly.
Monday, back in Winchester, we're staying in a 5 room inn above a pub. It's closed today, with no employees on site and we're the only ones here. Very strange. We were given a door code to let ourselves in and out.
We watched the procession from our room and when the funeral started we headed to the town centre. Our hotel is in a neighborhood about a half mile from the town centre and it was dead quiet. We could see some people through their front windows watching the funeral on tv. In the town centre I'd describe it as a typical Sunday morning we'd see at home with a few people out and about. All the coffee shops were open this morning, with some closing between 1030 and 2.
The cathedral was full of people watching on big screens and the sound was pumped outside to people who couldn't get in. Families were sitting in the park listening.
Bells tolled a couple of hours later and restaurants opened but pubs and shops remained closed. It's now 9pm here and we're still the only ones in our 5 room hotel above the pub. When we check out in the morning we were told to leave our keys in a basket by the bar. Very strange.