This is a ridiculously long post. Make yourself a cuppa, and get a biscuit or two before you start reading!
I got home at 5.15pm last night, [just in time to go out again to church] following an absolutely brilliant weekend in London with Liz.
She had planned all sorts of great activities, and we enjoyed ourselves enormously.
I arrived at her place at 2.30pm, after a fraught journey [roadworks and minor crunches causing many traffic holdups en route] and she made me a light lunch [mushrooms and rocket on toast] and a cake
I am sure this ought to remind me of something!
[It is the last item from the F&M hamper she won in the Waterstones Comp at Christmas]
then we set off to walk to the British Museum to see this...
The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest collection of Anglo Saxon gold ever unearthed. The Museum is open late on Fridays and we figured it would be better once the school parties/coach trips were out of the way!
We walked past the Octavia Hill Red Cross Gardens and Almshouses
As well as the blue plaque there was a great mosaic and the original plaque re-sited
We walked on, past these houses for the poor towards those of the rich - on the way passing the Cross Bones Graveyard.
I first learned of this place a few weeks ago [watching Songs of Praise]
In medieval times, the Bishop of Winchester licensed prostitute to work in this area of Southwark [so they were nicknamed 'Winchester Geese'] but of course, when they died, they were not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. Hence this graveyard, which then became a general space for burying paupers. It was deemed full, closed in 1853, and largely forgotten, until recent excavations by the railways unearthed thousands of bones. You can read about it here. Now Friends of Crossbones are seeking to preserve the site, as a 'memorial to the outcast dead'
Apparently, when the site was just a railway excavation, litter was thrown over the gates- but now there is a plaque, and ribbons and ephemera tied to the gates, the site is treated with much more respect.
I found the whole thing very moving, and thought again about the work done by people like Lauren Bethel, who show such love and concern for workers in the 21st century Sex Industry.
Here lay your flowers
Your book of hours
Your fingers, thuumbs
Your 'Miss your Mum's
Here hang your hopes,
your Might Have Beens
Many of the ribbons bear the names of poor people buried there
We passed the house of Richard Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor Of London
I think Boris Johnson should send someone round to clean Dick's windows though!
We meandered on, and stumbled across a great little shop near Russell Square selling rubber stamps/craft punches etc
I think I need to check out their website[Blade Rubber] when I have a moment.
They had an extremely comprehensive selection of goods.
I could easily have spent a lot of money on crafting supplies. But I was extremely restrained and bought...nothing!
So finally we got to the Museum - only to discover that the Staffordshire Hoard part closed at 5pm! It doesn't mention that on the posters. Liz and I felt a little miffed about that - but had a good wander round anyway.
I felt a little more knowledgeable about the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Empires this time [due to Bob's recent evening sermons from the OT] and we reminisced about a school trip in 1994, when I was a 'Mum-Helper' and we looked at the Elgin Marbles together with her teacher Mrs Tonya Kelsey [Liz was horse-mad even then!]
The Swimming Reindeer exhibit was fantastic and we marvelled at the detail of the exquisite carving
We had a good discussion about why it was made. I believe that if we are made in the image of a Creator God, then creativity is innate in us - and we too get pleasure from creating things.
All this history and intellectual debate made us hungry - so off to Tas for a Turkish Dinner. Lovely pictures here.
Saturday was designated "Ministry Of Food" at the Imperial War Museum
I was a little disappointed that there didn't seem to be a picture of my heroine of WW2 food, Margeurite Patten, altho she was on the audio guide [along with Jane Fearnley Whittingstall. Those F-Ws are getting rather ubiquitous, I fear]
Woolton Pie was there - and some mugs of solid plastic tea. [I tried to put my finger in to see if they were hot!]
We had a cuppa and shared a slice of beetroot and cocoa cake in the cafe
See the stew and rabbit pies all lined up!
Liz and I were utterly horrified by families who had just been round the exhibition [all about saving waste, the value of food etc etc] and then let their spoilt kids leave food [whole scones!] untouched on their plates, only for it to be thrown into the bin. Had they not learned anything??
Just so Bob did not feel left out, we sent him a photo pf the Brough Superior owned by Lawrence of Arabia, which is on loan to the IWM
We went on to Waterloo and met up with Steph and Mark for salad in Pain Quotidienne. We first discovered PQ in Brussels 10 years ago
After all that, we meandered home and chilled out with CSI on TV. Jon eventually got home [his train had broken down outside Melton Mowbray] - we were pleased he was home safely
Sunday morning, I telephoned Bob- to discover KM was blanketed in snow [we just had rain in London]
The three of us we went up to Elephant and Castle for a delicious, amazingly inexpensive lunch in Mamuska, a newly opened Polish diner.
Oh sorry, you probably don't speak Polish! Try this instead [click on the picture to see it larger]
Here's Jon and Liz ordering from 'the lovely lady at the counter' [no idea who guy at table is!]
We ate potato pancakes, bigos [meat stew] dumplings, cucumber and sour cream salad...and Jon's refreshing fruit drink had raspberries and strawberries in it
Unbelievably filling, tasty food - at around £5 each
When we came out, we noticed one of the shops has been taken over by artists preparing for this summer's elephant parade
Liz - ever the ambassador for Southwark Council- said "It is for charity - if you are putting it on the blog mention the website clearly" yes dear! Click on the link below for full details http://elephantparadelondon.org/
After all that, I got in the car and drove home. The M1 was happily much less clogged going northwards.
Weekend over. Thanks Liz [and Jon and Steph and Mark] It was lovely to see you all and I had a tremendous time.