Saturday, 25 February 2012

Abbeys and Sherlock and plays! Oh my!

Can I just say, I am an organisational fiend. This morning I got up, showered, dressed, checked my email, went to the pub for breakfast, posted a huge package of stuff back to Aus, went to Euston Station and booked our train tickets to Liverpool and made it to Westminster Abbey, all before noon. I must confess, I was pretty much going to Westminster Abbey just to say I'd been there. It was free with our London Pass and it's a pretty looking building, but I hadn't really fully considered the things I would see. I'm so glad I went. You would think I would be all churched out after trooping across Europe for the last 5 weeks, but Westminster Abbey blew my mind. I was a bit pressed for time, so I tried to just do the most important bits. They give you a free map and audio guide which are invaluable (and it sounds like Jeremy Irons on the audio guide. Is it Jeremy Irons? I'm not sure). I saw the tomb of Elizabeth I and Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots. I saw the Coronation Chair, the Chapter House and Pyx Chamber, as well as the Cloisters and the Abbey Museum. My favourite sections were easily the Poet's Corner and the Nave. The Poet's Corner is crammed full of memorial stones of all manner of important British writers, including a beautiful monument to Shakespeare. Geoffrey Chaucer's tomb is another highlight. The Nave holds the tomb of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and the Unknown Soldier, but is beautiful to sit in and reflect. There were candles to light and I lit one for my family. That makes candles lit in Notre Dame, St Paul's and Westminster Abbey, and hopefully the list will grow. I then spent wayyyyy too much at the Abbey Shop.

We raced over to Embankment Station and met a London Walks guide for a 6 pound walking tour on Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle. It was a fascinating couple of hours and our guide was brilliant. It included a lot of history of London as well and we saw places where Conan Doyle had lived and worked and places where Sherlock and Dr Watson had visited in the stories. After this finished, we trained over to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, but I was pressed for time so I've added it to my list of things to do when I return to London. Sean and I took off for Kensington Gardens where I FINALLY found the statue of Peter Pan, four years after I first looked for it. Yay for photo ops. And we saw a squirrel!! A SQUIRREL!! They are the loveliest, cutest things! I don't care that they are pests, they look like cartoons. Then we trained to Waterloo and found some dinner. There was a fish and chip shop that had a little mini-restaurant in the back, with table service and very traditional British fish and chips. It was delicious, but THEN we found a gorgeous little market near the Thames. It was filled with delicious food and really, really friendly people. We wished we had waited to eat until then! So I had a cup a CUP of churros, covered in cinnamon and sugar with some melted chocolate. Pretty amazing stuff. There was also something going on with bikes and skateboards...there were hundreds rushing along South Bank together and it looked really cool.

Then we went to the National Theatre to see Juno and the Paycock. I cannot emphasise how good it is to see some theatre again. Sinead Cusack and Ciaran Hinds played the leads and they were, of course, outstanding. The whole supporting cast was really strong and it was cool to watch the play having walked around the set yesterday. It was extremely funny with a very tragic ending a very Irish feeling play. We came home and I was too tired to type, hence the blog being up late! 

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