Yesterday we went to church at the Benedictine monastery in Ealing and met up with a friend, who hadn't quite been expecting us but still instantly gave up all his plans for the afternoon to hang out with us and show us some sights. These included quite a few churches, in which we all have an interest (his somewhat more professional than ours, admittedly). Here's a shot of Westminster Abbey, showing the door over which have been carved statues of a number of 20th-century martyrs (in case you're wondering, they're of a wide variety of ethnic groups and Christian denominations):
We also had a good old look at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (and you can see the London Eye in the background):
Plus, it must be said that wherever you start walking in either Westminster or the City, you're absolutely bound to find things of interest to your inner historian, your inner artist, or just your plain old inner geek.
Today we took up again the Geek Trail, and stopped by King's Cross, where Margaret just couldn't hold herself back from her lifelong desire to go to Hogwarts:
After that, we went to the South Bank (historical and spiritual home of hack playwrights such as myself) to meet up with a friend (not the friend from yesterday, but another friend an embarrassment of riches, no?) and we walked around a bit and stuck our heads in at the Tate Gallery, before making our way to THE GLOBE!!!
Okay, I'm fully aware that it's a reconstruction and not even on the actual site of the actual Globe. But it was still cool. We had a somewhat scattered but very enthusiastic docent who told us quite a bit. For me, the experience was only improved by watching the techies bump in a new production while she talked a bit of a reminder that theatre is a timeless art!
There was a fantastic exhibition as well, and all up it was a blissfully geeky afternoon.
You know, the more I've been travelling around the UK, the more I've been struck for some reason, to a greater degree on this visit than on others by the extent to which England really is the source of so much that I claim (and revel in) as my culture. There's so much of what I value, how I organize my thoughts, even how I use the beautiful and powerful English language, that comes directly from England and English history. There's even more that comes to me indirectly, through the American and Australian histories and experiences, that can still be traced back to England. Maybe it's the feng shui of the place or something, but this infusion of energy into the human story that England provides really is unique and potent, and more than a little overwhelming.