July 13, 2015
Sitting at the gate at Heathrow, waiting for my flight to Zurich. A roundabout way to go home, but my employer books the tickets.
Didn’t get a chance to write last night because it was a busy day, and then I needed to be up at 4:30 this morning to get out and dressed and to the airport for an early flight.
It was a day spent mostly on the river. I’d never traveled the Thames before. I had decided I wanted to see something in Greenwich, and then the boat idea fell into place. A 10-minute walk got me to the dock at the I Eye and then I was off. Traveling by boat isn’t as efficient as traveling by tube, but there’s nothing to see by ads and people in the tube. Over water, there’s a glorious view of London.
On the boat from Waterloo to Greenwich, a Thames boatman gave us a running commentary. He warned us that he would make things up, so I don’t take anything he says as gospel, though I do know that he gave us the proper names of the buildings, at least. And of the history he told that I know, he was correct, so I suspect there wasn’t really that much lying. But after hearing the whoppers the tour guide in Edinburgh was telling, I’m sure he slipped in something.
Britain’s oldest pub still in operation
The ride to Greenwich took about 40 minutes. It was a bit nippy at times, and while I’d brought my rain hat, I’d not brought my jacket. I probably could have used it, but such is life.
Cleopatra’s Needle guarded by two sphinxes. Gifted to the UK by Egypt. Its companion is in NYC’s Central Park
Former site of a UNIT Base, as every Doctor Who Fan knows. Destroyed in the Battle of Canary Wharf 🙂
I was heading to Greenwich to see the Fan Museum. Yes, there is such a thing! It’s in an old Georgian townhouse that’s been renovated to its full period glory. I’d never been to Greenwich before, either. I did see the outside of the Cutty Sark, the world’s fasted tea clipper, but for £13, I decided to forego taking a look inside. I’ve been on a number of historic ships in the US, so I thought I’d save the money.
The entire ship
Walking to find the museum, I stumbled across St. Alfege Parish Church. I’d never heard of such a saint, but the churchyard was interesting.
After missing my turn (thanks to my interest in the church), I made my way toward the fan museum. On the way, a blue historic marker caught my eye. It was on the former home of the Poet Laureate C. Day-Lewis, whose poetry I admire greatly, so that was a nice surprise. He lived about four doors down from the museum.
You should read some of his poetry. Out of vogue, but I love it. And his detective novels written as Nicholas Blake are a joy.
I learned about the fan museum in an article about great teas around London. I had planned to have tea there, but my email for a reservation didn’t get through. I thought, “fans are nice—I’ll go!” I am glad that I went, and after an initial disappointment about the tea, I realized that I didn’t really want to eat all those heavy carbs anyway. I’d never actually ordered a cream tea, so I was going to try it. Upon reflection, a lunch of cake didn’t actually appeal.
The Fan Museum
The fans were gorgeous, so I’m happy I went.
A display case
Some of my favorite flowers
When I left the museum, I saw a sign for Our Lady Star of the Sea Church further up the hill, so up I went. I’ve only ever seen one other Star of the Sea Church, and that was in rural western Ireland and was an old fisherman’s church. Star of the Sea is yet another patron for me, as the Latin version of my name means pearl, and pearls are known as, you’ve got it, the stars of the sea. It was a Roman Catholic church and actually not that old. I took a look at the outside, then head back down the hill.
Our Lady Star of the Sea
Before I got back on the boat, I took a quick look at the grounds of the Royal Naval College. By this point in my trip, I was museum and monumented out, so I didn’t go look at much at all. It was designed, in part, by Sir Christopher Wren, the man who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral and helped design much of London after the Great Fire. As the fire happened smack dab in the middle of my historical period, Wren is someone I’m familiar with. This was a theme this trip, for sure.
The Royal Naval College, whose domes were a prototype for St. Paul’s
I very much enjoyed the trip back. I sat on the other side of the boat and took my fill of pictures. Although it was mostly overcast, I realized this morning that I managed to get a bit of a sunburn. Not a painful one, but what would have been tan on someone with less fair skin became a pale rose on me. Technically a burn.
Sir Walter Raleigh on the college grounds
I needed to get home in order to change for I had tickets for The Globe Theatre, which has no roof! It was raining and getting chilly, so I wanted to change into khakis and grab my rain jacket. I’d been to the Globe before, in 1997, so I was looking forward to going again. Last night’s play was Richard II, which is full of beautiful poetry.
In spite of the drizzle, it was a sublime experience. Richard’s fall never ceases to move me. As it was the Globe, the performances were brilliant, the staging impeccable, the spectacle downright Elizabethan.
Inside the Globe
Period decoration in the boxes
Then it was early to bed as I had to be up to make the train to the plane.
Summary reflections another day. Just some pictures to sum it all up.
HMS Belfast, now a floating museum
Replica of Raleigh’s The Golden Hind, which is raising funds for a new voyage.