Monday, July 26, 2010


Big Ben Skyline

OWWW! my tootsie's are screaming... give me a rest!

Met Hilary for a London Walks tour of Westminster Abbey. More information about their walks  Of course, we could have stood in a queue (line) for 45 minutes before getting in... but having a Blue Badge (strict requirements - like of like a teaching credential) & highly educated Historian was our choice for an Abbey visit. Photos inside the Abbey (as well as most other churches, cathedrals, places of worship) is forbidden... I did purchase a couple of postcards to remind me of the gorgeous "lace work" vaulted ceiling in the Lady Chapel.

window detail of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is famous as a burial site for famous Brits (such as Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I & Mary I), poets (Geoffrey Chaucer), historians, politicians & musicians. Many of these famous people are memorialized here, but buried elsewhere... and some were buried here against their wishes! Hilary described the 6 month set-up (& 3 month take-down) logistics for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 & showed us the coronation chair (which is currently having the gild/gold work restored). This coronation was televised ~ but reminded us, TVs at that time were small (computer laptop screen size) black & whites. Although Hilary didn't mention it, Westminster Abbey was the site for Princess Diana's Memorial.... It rained while we were on our inside tour, so we lunched in the Abbey corridor before leaving...

Gargoyle at the Abbey
Here's an "addition" to my gargoyle "collection"... I'm amazed that so much effort goes into carving "rain spouts" - I wonder who gets this job? an apprentice? a highly skilled craftsman?

Outlining the brass rubbing
Our next stop - St Martin-in-the-Fields (a 20 minute walk) located just off Trafalgar Square. In the crypt of this Gothic church, there are clean bathrooms (sometimes difficult to locate), a cafe (more about that later), a gift store, and brass-rubbing center.

Rubbings ranges from 6.50 - 19.50 lbs ~ or $10-30.

Brass Rubbing
After selecting several Celtic designs (easier to transport home; cheaper to frame), we found a seat next to two Brits (a grandmother & her 7 year old granddaughter)... first you rub the outline of your design... then you lay your bronze rubbing stick (other colors - blood red, blue, silver) on its side & rub away. I LOVED this activity... and would consider going back to do a larger block print!

This church is famous for their concerts - but also reasonably priced food at the church cafe... the concerts, rubbings & cafe support the church!

In addition to picking up a concert schedule, we decided to try a "spot" of afternoon tea.... Oh my gosh - I don't really know how "clotted cream" is made, but it's exquisite on scones & a dollop of jam... we're definitely paying another visit to the St-Martin's Crypt Cafe ~ for a lunch & concert (& another "spot" of tea).

Headed to the theater district to find the location of the "cheap" (oxymoron?) theater seats... there are several productions we are considering... Mama Mia, Jersey Boys, Billy Elliott, The Mousetrap (an Agatha Christie thriller) and War Horse (a puppet-driven production)... best tickets purchased the day of the event!! Next up - Waterstone's Book Store (Piccadilly Circus area).

Piccadilly dudes
Piccadilly Square swarmed with activity - mostly people watching, gawking, and picture taking. One of London's touristy spots, it was named for the picadils (fancy ruffled shirts) made in the neighborhood long ago. I think the fancy ruffled shirts left in the 60's... I shot this pic of two "Piccadilly dudes" from across the street. Grainy pic - but I wasn't willing to pay $3 to snap this pair...  standing in the middle island, waiting for the light to change - I snapped a quick one before heading into the bookstore for some quiet browsing.

Scones + clotted cream + jelly
A 10 hour day - didn't eat dinner until 20:15 (8:15pm)... Fell asleep dreaming of this....


  1. How wonderful Chris! I feel (almost) like I am there with you! I have not tried clotted cream but would love to! I recommend anything by Agatha Christie! Love Susan

  2. I am LOVING your posts!



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