Lovely to be back in London, especially on a warm sunny November day, no joke. We stopped at the National Covid Memorial Wall, a long stretch of wall along the Thames across from Parliament, with thousands of red painted hearts, many with handwritten notes remembering people who died during the pandemic (about 200,000 in the UK). Sobering.
We walked along the river on the south bank past the Tate Modern (where the blockbuster Cezanne show is the same show we saw earlier this year in Chicago) , walking over the wobbly bridge into the City of London past St. Paul’s to the third pub we happened upon, the Golden Fleece, which had something approximating traditional pub grub, although not my favorite (ploughman’s) and a good house beer of the same name. The scotch egg that Francine ordered was surprisingly delicious, with a very fresh egg with a soft orange yolk inside a savory mound of sausage and bread.
On to the Guildhall, the seat of government for the City of London which has an interesting free art gallery and amazingly, ruins of a Roman amphitheater (65 AD) in the basement. Who knew? Francine, of course. Nearby, we popped into a little pocket park near St. Botolph church that has a remarkable Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, a wall with tiles honoring people who died trying to “save another,” including 19-year-old railway clerk William Donald of Bayswater who “drowned in the Lea from a dangerous entanglement of weed” on July 16, 1876 and 31-year-old inspector Frederick Alfred Croft “who saved a lunatic woman from suicide at Woolwich Arsenal station but was himself run over by the train” on January 11, 1878. Another Francine find!
We dropped in at my favorite London church St. Bartholomew’s, a 12th century Romanesque beauty that still offers Christmas concerts that I remember fondly. (Also featured in movies including Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare in Love.)
After wandering past the large colorful wrought iron gates of a Smithfield market, we landed at a trendy coffee bar, Prufrocks, in Leather Lane, where I recall my pal Marion used to shop when the NYTimes bureau was nearby on Shoe Lane.
Dinner tonight was superb Indian food at Chook, Chook, an “Indian Railway Kitchen” in Putney.