I have just finished watching “Walking
With Dinosaurs“. An excellent show from the BBC. I don’t know if it is on in Australia yet, but I’m sure you will get it soon. While watching, I enjoyed a Violet Crumble (thanks Robin:).
Shakespeare in HMV
London, being the centre of the world, tends to attract celebrities. And celebrities like to liusten to CDs too. So where else would a movie star go for his Bach, Beethoven and Penderecki than the world’s most famous record store? Last week Geoffrey (sp?) Rush popped into HMV Oxford Street to pick up a copy of Shakespeare in Love (actually, I don’t know what he bought, maybe the Rachmaninov 3?). He seemed taller than I remembered him looking on screen. Apparently we get quite a few stars at 363 Oxford St. Ian Bostridge (a singer) was there recently and the other day I could have sworn I saw Jackie Chan…
Yesterday we went to Cambridge with Carl; eventually. We had intended to catch a bus to Waterloo Station for a train to Esher to meet Carl at 9:00 and we had got up at 6:30am for this purpose. Our troubles began when we discovered the buus to St Paul’s doesn’t run on Sundays. So we walked to New Cross Gate train station. We arrived at London Bridge to find that engineering work had closed the track to Caring Cross and therefore to Waterloo. Following the broadcast instructions we changed platforms for a train that we thought would take us to Waterloo East. When we ended up at Cannon Street we knew something was wrong. By this time we had rung Carl and told him we were going to miss our planned train and we would get the next one.
After some confusion at Cannon Street (which involved getting a train back to London Bridge and back again) we learned we had to catch a tube to Embankment (those of you with tube maps can follow our journey) change lines and catch another tube to Waterloo. Eventually we made it in time for the 9:33, an hour later than planned, and had to call Carl from our mobile to his mobile (which, through the wonder of modern technology, involved a call to Australia which was diverted to his mobile in England.)
Anyway, the train ride was pleasant and we met Carl at Esher, a very agreeable little town with many trees.
We drove to Ely, stopping for refreshments along the way (via the M25, Dartford tunnel and M11 again for those of you with maps). A light rain was falling as we got out of the Ford Fiesta. It was cold, windy and wet and the Cathedral sat there solidly, waiting for us. It is the only Cathedral I have seen where you go in the front door, so to speak. As we approached, there was no-one about and the huge wooden doors were shut so we had to open the little door set into them. I liked it already. It made it seem more like a medieval cathedral and less like a modern attraction. As I stepped inside my jaw hit the cold marble floor.
Ely Cathedral is right up there with the best of them. As you step inside the nave marches away in front of you. The long, beautifully painted ceiling leads toward the magnificent lantern at the crossing. There is a feeling of spaciousness that other cathedrals lack.
On the northern side is the Lady Chapel (accessed by opening another door.) This is a magical place. It is suddenly cold after the warmth of the main church. Yes, huge burners heat the cathedral; what a novel idea. There is almost no coloured glass in the Lady Chapel and the difference between it and the dark nave is blinding. The Chapel has the widest medieval vault in England.
After visiting the shop we had a simple lunch in the refectory before heading into Cambridge.
The rain grew steadily heavier as we entered the town. We soon found ourselves at King’s College and sneaked into the chapel during evensong. There is no better way to experience King’s; the beautifuul choir singing in the beautifuul chapel. It seems funny to call it a chapel, it is so magnificent. The chapel at my school certainly didn’t have a fan vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows down the sides. It is simply awe inspiring.
After the service we walked around the town, getting wetter with each step. I like Cambridge. It has the feel of a village or little town like Winchester, only it’s bigger.
We found a nice restaurant to eat in called Brown’s before driving back to Waller Rd (get out those A-Zs.)
We have decided to go to Edinburgh for next weekend. We are catching a train at 8am on Friday morning and will be back Monday night. Carl has already started to head north on his own and we will meet him in Edinburgh.
Photos are coming RSN. I haven’t had access to a scanner but I have just finished another roll which I will have put onto CD at Boots so I can put some photos on the website.
London is a very class based society. Nothing is so important as a postcode in London. People would give their right arm to have their letterhead finish with W1. The Thames is like some kind of mythical barrier. Anything south of the river is slums and poverty in the minds of some Londoners.
You are put in your socio-economic place by the blood-sucking banks as well. In Australia there is a wonderful system called EFTPOS. Everybody uses it, and everybody’s ATM cards have the little EFTPOS label on the back. Over here there are different systems, depending on what kind of fruit your bank classifies you as: Plum, Orange or Lemon, from best to worst. Some people have credit cards; Platinum, Gold or plain. Then others can only use debit cards. These don’t all use the same system; Visa Delta and Switch are the main ones, but for poor people they only get a Solo card. I have a Solo card. I haven’t figured out what the difference actually is except to let other people know how rich/poor you are. Solo isn’t accepted at all the places the others are. Then there are cheques. I was granted a cheque book by my bank although I can rarely use it as my card is not a Cheque Guarantee Card. These Cheque Guarantee Cards come in different limits too, usually with flashy holograms to impress the lowly sales assistant. They range from £50 to the highest I’ve seen £250.
Still, at least I have a bank account. Some people can’t even manage that here.