It’s a while since I did a blog so I’ve got rather a lot to catch up on! The trouble is that being in London means there’s loads of stuff to do and loads less time to actually write about it.
While Gordon looked after the boat in Alperton, I took a few days out to visit Jenny, Al and the boys in Aldeburgh. The weather was wonderful and I had a great time playing with the boys in the garden. I also had the privilege of taking Sebbie out to dinner in the local American Diner. It was a lovely few days.
Before I headed to Suffolk, we went into London on the tube from Alperton to visit Southwark Cathedral. Westminster and St Paul’s get all the publicity but we found that Southwark, while not so elaborate, is right up there alongside them and well worth a visit. There are some wonderful stained glass windows. Far more than I’ve been able to successfully photograph here.
The carved screen behind the altar is incredible.
There is a memorial to William Shakespeare and the wonderfully decorated tomb of John Gower, Poet Laureate to Richard II and Henry IV as well as being a contemporary and friend of Geoffrey Chaucer. There is a window depicting pilgrims setting out from the nearby Tabard Inn from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales but unfortunately my photographic skills let me down. From more recent times a stone in the shape of a ship’s wheel commemorates the disaster in August 1989 when the motor vessel Marchioness, full of party goers, was struck by another vessel, resulting in the deaths of 51 people.
One of my favourite pieces in the Cathedral was this ceiling boss. Several of these have been taken down and are on display where you can get a really good look at them. This one, at first glance, looks like the devil with his fingers in his mouth. What it actually portrays is the devil swallowing Judas Iscariot. If you look carefully you can see his little feet!
In Cathedral gardens there is a memorial to the Mohegan Chief Mahomet Weyonomon, who visited London in 1736. He had travelled there to request an audience with King George II to ask for stolen tribal lands to be returned to their rightful owners. Unfortunately he died of smallpox before that audience could be granted. The site of his grave is unknown but a stone was brought from Mohegan lands and carved with traditional forms. On 22nd November 2006 the Queen and Prince Philip met with Mohegan tribal chairman, Bruce Two Dogs Bozsum and the US Ambassador, symbolically granting the audience Mahomet was never able to receive.
We also paid a visit to the Old Operating Theatre in the attic of an English Baroque Church in St Thomas Street beside London Bridge Station. When it was, forgive the pun, ‘operational’ it was the chapel for St Thomas’s Hospital and was handy for the wards. It consists of two main areas. The first is the herb garret with its herbs, jars and potions……
…….its recipe for Snailwater which was used as a cure for VD and a list of hospital rules from 1663.
The second part is the actual operating theatre. Operating theatres got their name because they were exactly that, theatres. Operations took place with trainees and interested parties jammed into benches learning from the experts. This one was blessed with great natural light from a large skylight. I don’t imagine this provided any consolation for the poor sods who were undergoing amputations without benefit of anaesthetic.
This painting, displayed in the theatre, portrays the rather gruesome spectacle of one of these amputations!
From Alperton, we moved the boat along to a booked mooring in Little Venice for the August Bank Holiday weekend. It’s a lovely spot and, as the weather was hot, we got to sit outside on the poop deck and watch the world go by in the evening.
Our friends Ray and Diane from nb Ferndale were moored close by in Paddington Basin and we had a great couple of days with them visiting markets and drinking the odd beer.