Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sunday in London . . . or Most of London

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

Dr. Seuss

This is where I walked on Sunday.

First, I woke up. Missed breakfast. Then I walked down to St. Paul's cathedral, where I head most of a service (I was late for that, too).

I now consider myself the inaugural member of the St. Paul's Cathedral 1st Branch.
Yeeeeeah. I got to go to church in that.

Then I thought to myself, "Self, I think we'd like to walk along the river aways." So we did.

You'll note it was a little cool and breezy, but nothing drastic. Much more temperate than I had anticipated.

I also encountered this old friend:

Obviously an earlier, prototype model. I tried to see what size it was on the inside, but it was locked.

At this point I was not planning to do the rest of the walking that I did . . . I figured I'd turn around when I got tired. You can see how well that turned out.

So after a while, the river turned south, and I came to this:

As I wanted to head west, I left the river at this point and went wandering through St. James's Park, which was very pretty and had lots of geese and ducks and things. Also some trees. Also this.

This turned out, on closer inspection, to be Buckingham Palace. 

I honestly wasn't planning on walking to Buckingham palace. I just stumbled across it. I swear. I didn't even realize it was there. But there it was.

So rather than stopping in to pay a call on the Royal Family, I went past Buckingham and through a park called Green Park (aptly named) until I got to the corner of Hyde Park. And then I thought, "Well, self, since we've come this far, we might as well head for the Hyde Park chapel and go to the YSA ward's sacrament meeting."

So I walked along the edge of Hyde Park for a while until I found the church marked on one of the Barklay's Cycle Hire maps. (Side note: There is a nice little 'what's around you' map at every bike rental station and every bus stop. You are never more than half a block from a map. It's very nice.)

As I was walking up Hyde Park, some tourists who did not speak English as a first language stopped me and asked me the way to Buckingham Palace. I set them in the right direction, feeling very pleased with myself.

I got to the chapel in perfect time for church, only to be informed by one of the visitor's center sisters that the YSA ward wasn't meeting that week, as everyone was off on holiday. So if I die this week I guess I'm going to hell or something. But I did try.

But as long as I was in the neighborhood, I thought I'd head over to my housing office and see what that was like. On the way, I stumbled upon this:

It looks like a large frosted brain, but really it's the Royal Albert Hall. For concerts and stuff.

My neighborhood is . . . um . . . 

It's filled with houses that were the houses that Downton-Abbey-esque families lived in when they were in Town with a Capital T. They have servants' entrances.

Most of these buildings have now been divvied up into flats, which are still absurdly expensive even if you don't have to pay for a household staff anyomore. The servants' quarters are another flat. The ones that haven't been divvied up are now embassies. 

So I went to the housing office, said hi, and then wandered around the corner to my own house, which I illustrate here: 

It is tall and skinny and deep and Victorian (or possibly Edwardian) and has an area railing. The red building on the right is the Embassy of the Netherlands. I'm not kidding. 

But I couldn't go into my house until Tuesday, so instead I went over to Kensington High Street and caught the tail end of a fish'n'chips lunch special. By then it was getting dark and wet and rainy, so I headed into the church of St. Mary Abbott to warm up a bit. And then I sat in the church, because it was nice, and read some chapters from Luke on my Kindle. And then the bells started ringing, and that was so nice that I sat to listen for a while. And then I fell asleep a little. And then I figured I'd been sitting there so long that I might as well sit a little longer and listen to the evening service, which I did. It was a service with lots of singing, which was nice, as I got to work some of the catches out of my still-scratchy voice. It was, all in all, a nice evening, just sitting in a Victorian church with nowhere to be. It was very restful.

And when the service was over, I finally got my rear in gear and headed back out into the rain and caught the tube to go back to my temporary housing at the London School of Economics (housing pictured below, not a reconstruction).

From the sublime to the ridiculous, as they say. 

The LSE was cramped and sketch, and I'm glad to say I'm now quit of it and am settled into my new digs, of which I will upload a video tour in a bit or so. 


  1. How exciting to live in such a neighborhood!

  2. Remember not to let your puppies play in the area--fenced or not! You never know what riff-raff are wandering around Hyde Park!