Sunday, August 12, 2018

London: Wednesday 8 August

Joshua and I had to be up early today, to get to Westminster Abbey for a 9:15 guided tour.  We met our guide, and waited for the rest of the 22 people to arrived.  As she went to get our wrist band admission tickets, she suggested that we stay together and mingle.  One young lady, with her brother and parents, said she "didn't mingle".  I suggested that "those who don't mingle tend to stay single."  She and her mother laughed, and the mother said that was a good idea.  There was also a family from Freeburg, Illinois, a town somewhat near where I grew up.  The mother had attended St. Theresa's Academy, which was co-institutional with Assumption High School.  She also has relatives who were in my class.  Yet another "small world" proof!

We were allowed  to take photos in most parts of Westminster Abbey, with a few exceptions:

the west front

the London Eye

the tour entrance

inside the Dean's Garden (cloister)

Then we exited the Abbey (after a rest stop) and crossed the street to the Houses of Parliament.  There is very high security there - bags checked, metal detectors, etc.  Also, professional tour guides are only allowed to get you started on your individual head-phone tour, and answer your questions afterwards in the Great Hall.  We took our time going through.

Here is a description from Wikipedia:

Sir Charles Barry's collaborative design for the Palace of Westminster uses the Perpendicular Gothic style, which was popular during the 15th century and returned during the Gothic revival of the 19th century.  Barry was a classical architect, but he was aided by the Gothic architect Augustus Pugin.  Westminster Hall, which was built in the 11th century and survived the fire of 1834, was incorporated in Barry's design.  Pugin was displeased with the result of the work, especially with the symmetrical layout designed by Barry; he famously remarked, "All Grecian, sir; Tudor details on a classic body". 

Victoria Tower

up closer

the window in Westminster Hall

a lighting sconce in Westminster Hall

the entrance to St. Stephen's Hall

in St. Stephen's Hall - Joshua taking it all in

Back in 2016, during Sacra Liturgia London, Dr. Mahrt and I had a nice dinner at the Genting Casino in Knightsbridge.  Joshua wanted to try his hand at some gambling, so we took the tube out there.  Photos weren't allowed inside, so I had to just take one as we left.

It was soon time to head to Shakespeare's Globe Theater on the South Bank.  The play  was "Othelo", and it was very, very good.  We both enjoyed it more than we expected.

the stage and the "yard" - for standing patrons

view of the yard and three levels of seating

our seats - up high, above the stage

At the intermission, I mentioned to other patrons near us that this was yet another Shakespearean irony:  those who were standing needed to sit, and those who were sitting really needed to stand and walk around some!

the exterior at the end of the play

To get to our preferred tube stop, we crossed the Millennium Bridge, and had a great view of St. Paul's Cathedral at night: 

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Summer Trip 2018 - UK

This summer's trip is to the UK, London and Glasgow.  Joshua will be at the World Bagpipe Competition in Glasgow on 18 August, and I wanted to be there this time.

I arrived mid-day on Saturday, 4 August, quite tired since I didn't sleep well at all on the flight, and took the Tube from Heathrow to London.  Some of the lines were down, and I had to make a couple of train changes to get to Notting Hill.  I was too tired to go and get a SIM card for my UK phone.  I just went to bed after a late lunch.

Sunday morning, I decided to ring at St. Martin in the Fields, where I've rung before, and then go to Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory for the Anglican Ordinariate Mass.  But another ringer came and announced the he had to leave at half past nine to help ring at Christ Church, Spitalfields.  This is a tower I had not rung at yet, and I wanted see the tower captain, Alan Regin, so I rang some at St. Martins, then rang at Spitalfields.  I spent the afternoon and evening with my friend, Katarina, in Mottingham.

Joshua arrived from Canada Monday morning.  This is his fourth trip to Scotland, but he's never been to England.  I convinced him to spend a week in London with me before heading to Scotland.  So, here we are, doing touristy things in London!  (I confess that I did drag him to one bell tower for a practice night and pub afterward.)

We're staying at Pembridge Hall (Imperial College housing - summer B&B), the same place I stayed back in 2016.  It's quite convenient for everything we want to do.  I did have some trouble getting connected to the internet here, so I'm behind on blogging this trip.

Joshua's room

my room

We had lunch at The Old Swan, a nearby pub that I went to a number of times in 2016, and took in some of Kensington Park.

Tuesday, we headed up to the RAF Museum near the Colindale tube station.  They have aircraft from before WWI all the way through today.

They have a Lancaster bomber:

A Vulcan bomber:

And a Spitfire "experience", i.e. I became the kid and gave Joshua the camera:

There had been a Spitfire I could have sat in two years ago at the Flying Legends Airshow, but I didn't get to it.  It turns out that was a replica.  This one was real.  It was built near the end of WWII, and didn't see any action, but became the personal plane of one of the Air Marshals.  I saw a photo of it painted white, with all the markings, including the pilot's Squadron, family coat of arms, and his rank on the fuselage.

On the way back, we stopped at Selfridge's Department Store (the original) to look around, and ended up getting a snack at the Kitchen on the top floor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Monday, 19 June 2017: Last Day in Manchester

So, my weekend of relaxing with Michael and Raven ended up being totally packed with wonderful experiences! I slept a bit late Monday morning, and then took a few hours in Manchester just chilling. Here are a few photos in the city center:

Sinclair's Oyster Bar from Plaza in front of Selfridge's Department Store, with tower of Manchester Cathedral in the background.
The Old Wellington

When I landed in Manchester back in 2010, Raven showed me around downtown, and we had a drink here a The Old Wellington, probably an Elizabethan building. I decided to have a good lunch there before going back to the Wenner's to start packing.

My flight home was uneventful. I flew Thomas Cook Airlines for the first time. I found them efficient, and the food was good. My only complaint was that the full cabin lighting stayed on the entire flight! There was no way I could sleep.

This trip spanned June 2nd through the 20th, a total of 18 days, including travel days. I didn't think I should take more time, but I think I really need a minimum of three weeks, including four weekends for future trips. Traveling is always an adventure for me - a balance between planning for some things and being ready for just about anything else along the way! This trip definitely lived up to that!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sunday, 18 June 2018: Feast of Corpus Christi at Manchester Ordinariate

After a really incredible day-trip to London with Fr. Starkie (and some family) and Raven, Sunday morning started early also. Mrs. Starkie drove to pick us up for Manchester Ordinariate Mission's Sunday Mass at St Joseph's Church, Heywood, which is on the other side of Manchester from Broadbottom. (One of the benefits of having both the OF and EF liturgical calendars is begin able to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi twice!)

Front entrance
Side entrance
Side entrance mosaic of St. Joseph
West entrance
Apse mosaic
North transept with choir loft and organ

Organ & console close-up

Mass was simple and elegant, with much singing from the small congregation. The husband/wife cantor/organist duo were very good. All of the music was from "The New English Hymnal" and "The English Gradual". At the end of Mass, we had a Eucharistic Procession to a side Altar for Benediction.

Fr. Starkie, me, and Raven
Mrs. Starkie and two daughters, and other members of the congregation
After Mass, we had some refreshments in the parish library, including tea and scones, served by the Starkie daughters.

Raven & Michael
Then we had a wonderful afternoon dinner and visiting at the Starkie's.

Mrs. Starkie drove us back home to Broadbottom at about 3:30. Once we got there, we had about 30 minutes to relax before Martin was to take us to the opening of "Virtuoso", a play in Manchester about a famous concert pianist, John Ogdon. This was opening night in a very quaint store-front theater/bar. Martin played two parts, one in the first act, and another in the second act. We really enjoyed it. 

Here is an older photo from the Manchester Ordinariate website:

Fr. Starkie (+ son, wife, and3 daughters), Raven, Msgr. Keith Newton