17 February, 2014

What do you do when you are in London?

 - gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

The Ungardener is hyperactive, can't sit still or he falls asleep. I like to learn something. See something I would miss if it wasn't pointed out to me. Understand something I can only know if it is explained to me. My roots are in London. My mother was born there. I read, talk, write and think in English. To me, that means London. 

What we always do - is go on as many London Walks as possible. He checked the web and printed out all the possible interesting walks for when we would be there. This was one of the two we walked in July 2009. 

First we had lunch, in a church, as one does in London. St. Mary le Bow. The Cafe BeLow, beneath Bow Bells. And a very quick look in the church, before the walk started. The crucifix at the main altar epitomises the folded grave cloths at Easter. Showing the crown of thorns.

PS Thanks to Matthew Power, Parish Secretary, for information. 'The figure (or Corpus) of the crucified Christ on the east wall is a work from the 1980s by Simon Robinson at Forge Robinson in Caligny France  and made of stainless steel' 

Crucifix at St Mary le Bow
Work of Simon Robinson

'The bells were destroyed by a German air raid on the night of 11 and 12 May 1941. In 1956 Bow bells were recast. Each bell has an inscription from the Psalms on it and the first letter of each Psalm spells D WHITTINGTON' from Waymarking

From London Walks Timetable - 'LONDON'S SECRET VILLAGE - Meet Jean at St Paul's Tube - The ancient, hidden village of Clerkenwell clings to a hillside barely a stone's throw away from St. Paul's Cathedral. It's very name - the clerks, or students, spring - is redolent of antiquity; and indeed this tiny hamlet serves up brimming draughts from the deep well of its history. Monks, murder, and medicine. Tracing its narrow alleyways and ancient squares, we take in here a Norman church; there a magnificent Tudor gateway; round that corner venerable Charterhouse, London's only surviving mediaeval monastic complex' 

Our first stop was at Postman's Park, where tired feet rested after a day of delivering letters. Just another of London's green squares, that you might rush thru on your way somewhere. Or pause to rest if you had time? But against the far wall, under a wooden overhang. Lots of glazed ceramic tiles, each set with a story to tell. About people who lost their lives, saving the life of another. (One day we'll have time to go back and read them, all?!) Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice thanks to ELJAYGEE for (Park not Hill and) the link. 

My life for yours at Postman's Park in London

Even London's old hospitals have names redolent of history. A statue of St Bartholomew. Bart's hospital? The half-timbered entrance to St Bartholomew the Great survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson met at this hospital. 

St Bartholomew

A gloriously ornate building, garnished with technicoloured dragons. Smithfield meat market. Once WAS a field.

Smithfield meat market

Art Nouveau detail on Fox and Anchor pub across the square from Hercule Poirot's Art Deco flat.

Stone detailing at the Fox and Anchor

Then we headed off to Nicola Jane. Only in London (or Swiss cities) do I find a shop with mastectomy bras. Instead of the usual rude, unspoken - None of OUR Customers have Breast Cancer. (In October 2014 I will move my story to Elephant's Eye on False Bay) 

Elephant on weathervane in London!

On the way we saw your average, typical London animal on a weather vane. 

Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer  
of  Elephant's Eye on False Bay

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  1. I went on a London Walks walk about 1993 in the area around St. Paul's. Our guide exhausted us, but we really saw a lot. My husband and I went back to the area about a year and a half ago, and we were amazed how much it had changed with all the construction.

    1. Oh yes, I remember being torn between keeping up at a brisk pace, absorbing all the stories, and trying to catch a picture of it!

  2. When I am in London, I always plan one day to spend at Kew; even a whole day is never enough time to see it all. -Jean

  3. I so enjoyed our time in London! And I realize that I must get back there someday because a week just wasn't enough! I don't like cities, but I did like London. It had a similar feel to Washington DC, another city that I actually like. Great photos!

  4. What wonderful fun facts you learned. Sometimes we zip through a vacation and miss the most interesting things. A trip to London is a must.

  5. I got to go to the UK in 2008 to attend World Travel Market and spent 5 days in Docklands for the show which only left me one morning to explore London before the flight back. I made the most of it and covered so much distance on foot you wouldn't believe it.

    1. I've learnt to wear hiking boots. You see so much more when you walk, but the Tube is quick (if you don't start in the WRONG direction)

  6. It has been a while since we have been to London. It is nice to remember through your post.

    1. we'd like to go again, one day ...

  7. I am like you Diana. I like to learn and explore. I will bookmark this so I can make sure I get in some good informative walks when I finally get to London.