Friday, October 8, 2010

Streets of London: Part II

So I woke as early as I could. I planned to go to the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields for the 10am Eucharist service, so it was back to Trafalgar Square for me. Was lost several times in every direction before coming across it accidentally. I couldn’t say that the Not For Tourists London guide saved me from being wholly lost, but without it I would have laid down in a ditch somewhere and never been found again.

The service was lively with a bright and radiant choir which sung a lot of Herbert Howells-ish music, a surprisingly friendly passing of the peace (aren’t the British supposed to be reserved and hate that part?) and a Eucharist of an unhappily polystyrene wafer and grape juice but also good will. The rain and wind began and I slipped into the National Portrait Gallery to see the Tudors, Victorians, Bloomsbury set, Iris Murdoch and photos of John Taverner and Harold Pinter.

Sadly the publishing house I’d planned to see, Persephone Books, was closed, which was disappointing but not surprising after an enormous hiking expedition to find it. I did find various literary houses en route – Vera Brittain’s flat, Dickens’ house on Doughty, the house where the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was formed, and also the place where the first anaesthetic was administered in England – and then went to meet a high school friend and his girlfriend on Goodge Street.

Followed by a walk to Euston to see the British Library (closed) and back to Russell Square to see the British Museum (closed), and finally into the London Review Bookshop (not closed!).

In Tavistock Square at dusk I found two friends: Virginia Woolf (Bloomsbury is, after all, her hood) and Mahatma Gandhi (photographed here in honor of Kristin and the Fremont Community School).

The evening ended with Indian food and some sort of feathered licorice seed (which, on second thought, may not have been for eating. I certainly couldn’t swallow it, and left them on the table in my napkin.)

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