Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 9

August 9

Have my eyes been so watery because I'm tired? Or is London more polluted than Dallas? I don't know.

Today was quite a walking days. Ten miles, I'd guess. Maybe more. I was on my feet most of the day, from 9:15 or so till 7:30.

For those of you concerned with food, here's today's menu:

Breakfast in the room: instant porridge (oatmeal) and a small cup of tea
Mid morning snack on my way to St Paul's: butter croissant and a larger cup of tea at Pret-a-Manger ("Ready to Eat")
Lunch at Potato Packet (I think that was the name): jacket potato with butter and a can of Coke
Mid afternoon snack at Costa Coffee: a pot of green tea and a packet of those watery vanilla sandwich cookies (the closest their "fresh" goods came to something I could eat was pain de chocolate, and I didn't want chocolate)
Supper at Marks & Spencer cafe: a packet of turkey breast from the grocery, a Devon scone, a small apple and a pot of tea
Post supper snack (which I'm just about to have): custard creams

St. Paul's Cathedral is pretty amazing, but brother, is it a long walk from Queensway near Kensington Gardens! When I first went in I was sort of let down. Upon entering, I was looking at, basically, your big fancy church. And it is big, and it is fancy, but there are a lot of such in the world. It's pretty interesting, though, when you start to roam and see the various memorials and such. What's best, however, is not the main cathedral: it's the crypt and the three dome galleries. The Duke of Wellington, Admiral Nelson, and Christopher Wren the architect are all buried in the crypt, as are the ashes of Walter de la Mare and E.V. Knox, who was the editor of the British humor magazine Punch (and father of Penelope Fitzgerald). JMW Turner, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and William Holman Hunt, nineteenth century painters, seem to be buried under the floor, along with many other non-famous folks. There are lots of memorial plaques on the walls, but I was told they don't contain burials unless it's specifically mentioned. Two of these are to Max Beerbohm and Henry Moore. There is also a memorial with bust to Lawrence of Arabia.

The crypt also contains the gift shop where I spent a few minutes and bought a gift. Since the sister it's for almost certainly won't see this, I can tell you it is a limited edition "tea towel" commemorating Elizabeth II's 90th birthday--only 100 copies made. I think she'll like it.

Now to get to any of the three galleries in or outside the dome, one has to climb. I clomb. The lowest gallery--the Whispering Gallery--is inside the dome and provides a cool view down to the floor and up to the painted dome. The Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery are high and higher and outside. One climbs inside, then goes out to look. Great views of London from that height!

And yes, I'm old enough to get the senior "concession" and save two pounds on the entry fee.

After lunch I went to Foyle's Bookstore and searched the first half of the alphabet in the poetry section. I'll have to return another day to search the second half--it's a BIG section--as well as scan for other things as well. I bought an edition of Briggflats by Basil Bunting, which I've owned before--but this edition includes a short biography of Bunting and other materials as well as a CD of Bunting reading the poem and and a DVD about the poet which I may not be able to watch if it's region-specific.

It was time for midafternoon snack--the potato didn't take long to wear off. I went to Costa Coffee (inside another bookstore) and visited with the woman I shared a table with. She is likewise a retired teacher, from Australia, and she said she has been traveling from one place to another since March! She said she is currently staying in one of the dorms at Imperial College, which she highly recommended. Stay includes breakfast and access to the college gym and, while its quite inexpensive for London, it's not Y cheap--she said 76 pounds a night, which is about 100 dollars right now, I think, but the pound is very low at the moment. My room here at London House is about 83 or so pounds, which doesn't include breakfast or gym, but I have wifi and tv, and I don't remember if she mentioned either at the College. Wifi probably; tv probably not.

Okay, I'm tired, and you're probably bored. Hasta la vista!

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