Friday, January 18, 2019

London: A Rainy Sunday

Sunday was our sixth day in London and I was still on two feet. They weren't pretty and they were pretty darned painful but still moving. Well, into each life some rain must fall -- and it fell hard that Sunday morning.


We decided we wanted to see St. Paul's, home of the Charles and Diana wedding so long ago and one of the most beautiful and famous of Christopher Wren's creations. So, we took the bus from our hotel to its nearest stop, walking the rest of the way, to attend the Matins or choral service.


It's quite impressive, this mammoth landmark, with its enormous dome and expansive entry.


In fact, when you are standing at the steps, you can barely see the dome!


To do that, you have to walk around to the side for a better look. And it's quite a look!


We ventured inside (security check) and found seats near the front and I enjoyed a rather interesting service with beautiful music and a short and well done homily that I wish I could remember now. And it was glorious inside.

Source: Wikipedia/St. Paul's Cathedral

I suspect I spent far more time gaping at the elaborate ceiling and mosaic floor than I did in any serious contemplation of faith.

Source: Wikipedia/St. Paul's Cathedral

(I will say, though, that the acoustics were wretched. It sounded like we were in an echo chamber and maybe where our seats were located, it was. That was quite a disappointment because I think the choir would have sounded lovely if I wasn't hearing them slightly out of synch like two televisions close together but off by a half second in dialogue!)

Source: Wikipedia/St. Paul's Cathedral

My other disappointment was that we couldn't take photos here. (I probably could have tried but it seemed a little wrong!) They had some handsome statues and monuments and I would have loved to record the stunning interior. This postcard will have to do.


After the service we both bought quite a few things in the gift shop and this past Christmas enjoyed carols sung by the choir (which actually sounded really good, no echo!). I bought this wee icon and Rick gave me this beautiful cross for my Christmas tree (which may not go away with the other ornaments. I love it too much!)



Then onward, past the statue of Queen Anne ("The Favourite") in front of the cathedral. One of her political opponents wrote that "it was fitting she was depicted with her rump to the church, gazing longingly into a wineshop!"


After church we walked across Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern. We were wet. It was cold. I was in pain and I had a total meltdown. Rick said, "I'm getting a wheelchair."  And then I really broke because it felt so embarrassing to know you had to be pushed through a museum. I mean, going to museums is what I DO. On my own two feet. And I'm not THAT old. Yet. I will always be grateful to the kind volunteer who waited with me while he looked for the chair and just calmed me down. Yes, "kind." That is the word I'll always remember when I think of her.


The Tate Modern is -- well, modern. Very contemporary art. And that SO isn't my thing. I just don't get it. But I have to say, it was unique. We saw a movie which (we learned, after the first hour or so when we left) runs 24 hours and people are continually looking at clocks or their watches and the time is what the time really is. It's loads of clips and it made no sense but it was sort of intriguing and well edited. It was called -- wait for it -- "The Clock." Then there was this area, which seemed a waste of good space.


(However, it did have all sorts of cool sayings in plaques on the wall, many of which resonated!)


In Lansing we have an area near our home we call the Malfunction Junction because over about three square blocks we see at least one accident/almost accident/remnants from an accident once a week, without fail. So we renamed this sculpture "The Malfunction Junction."


And artist Julie Mehretu is also from our home town, so it was fun to see one of her big pieces here even if I didn't like it. (It was based on protests in Cairo.)


I have no idea what this was.


Or this.


But it isn't a bad thing to go out of your artistic comfort zone now and then. If nothing else, it can be good for grins. And one man's trash is another's treasure, they say. But it was no Klimt experience! As for me, my art will never be in the Tate -- modern or otherwise.


But I can work with that.



Travel Tips:


  • Visiting Churches -- If you want to see a beautiful church that charges a hefty admission (or even doesn't), skip the tour and hit a service. Choir services -- Matins and Evensong -- are particularly nice because you get some lovely entertainment with it. They do collect an optional offering, although I found it worth my gift for the lovely music in a beautiful venue.
  • Check out Concert/Recital Schedules -- If you enjoy music, don't hesitate to check out free or inexpensive afternoon and evening concerts or recitals. The recitals at St. James were by donation and while you won't hear Yo-Yo Ma performing, you will perhaps hear the Yo-Yo of tomorrow.
  • Ask for Help -- Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. I was. I am. I always will be. But they have wheelchairs in museums for a reason -- to help you enjoy the facility. To allow you to see what you wouldn't otherwise. And it gets easier as you do it more than once. When I say "don't be embarrassed" I mean not only embarrassed around the strangers but also to your traveling companion. I hated more than anything to slow Rick down. But he was OK with that. Even before he saw that plaque above that said, "It is in your self interest to be very tender," he was.
  • Always take your umbrella. (Get that small kind that fit in your purse or day bag.) 
  • Venture out of Your Comfort Zone -- You don't have to do it often if it makes you that uncomfortable, but you might learn something, see something that makes your think or, if nothing else, solidify your own opinion. I can't say I'd return to the Tate. Not my thing. But I'm glad I went. 
Sharing this week with:   Pink Saturday    

44 comments:

David M. Gascoigne, said...

If you need a wheelchair you need a wheelchair. A friend of mine always scoffed at the idea, but every now and then he would have to break down because it pained him so much to carry on without one. The Eureka moment for him came when he realized that he could request one at the airport and he and his wife got assisted boarding ahead of the cattle train. He has had hip replacement surgery now, but is still a little shaky, so he doesn't hesitate to get wheeled on and off the plane. I visit retirement centres quite often to give presentations on birds and when I see the condition of some of the residents if the worst that happens is a wheelchair it's not too bad!

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

That church where Charles and Dianna got married was amazing!

As for needing the wheelchair, everyone has a breaking point when it comes to pain. No shame in finding yours.

My name is Erika. said...

It's hard to pick what's more beautiful-Westminster Abbey or St Pauls. Not sure the Tate Modern is my style but it is fascinating to see. And using the wheel chair does not make you old, for sure. Hugs-Erika

Pamela said...

I understand the reluctance to use the wheelchair. I had foot surgery years ago and while traveling there was only so much I could do with crutches. As much as I hated to use it, it was very helpful.

I am enjoying your London tour. I've attended several services at St. Paul's and am always in awe.

Valerie-Jael said...

St Paul's is indeed a magnificent Church, and one I always loved. The Tate Modern is interesting, but not really my thing either. Sorry your foot was paining you so much. Hugs, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

Wow. The Cathedral´s interior is more than impressive! The sound, though... surprises me that it´s done so "wrong"!
The statues look beautiful with the golden details.

Oh, I´m so sorry you had to "go" through so much pain. But it´s got nothing much to do with being "old", it can happen to anyone...
Yes, modern... hmm.
We have a "Malfunction Junction", horrible, how come some places just attract accidents...

Oh, good Lord, what pieces of art, LOL! Good saying with the trash.
I do love the sketch, though!

Lynne said...

I truly am enjoying your posts on your trip, travel, visits . . .

St Paul’s visit . . . seeing, listening, even with an echo . . . must have been grand.
Love the outside pictures, dome, looking up . . .
and too . . . the inside, remembering the wedding ceremony of years ago.

Liked your pointers at the end of your post.
Especially . . . stepping out of ones comfort zone . . .
Abstract doesn’t grab me either . . .
But like you said . . .
Happy you had been there.

BB said...

St. Paul's is absolutely beautiful. It's terrible when pain prevents you from doing what you want to do. Thank goodness for the chair and for Rick and the volunteer. Sometimes we have to give in, though I know how hard that is.

I think H could get some scraps of plywood, bricks, chunks of concrete, and other junk and make that one big, square piece of art. Maybe he could finally clean out his garage. :)

What a wonderful trip.

NanaDiana said...

What a wonderful visit to that church. It is too bad that it was so echo-y inside. I suppose back then no one considered the acoustics---just the grandeur of it all.

I, too, was pushed around Disney World a few years ago. It was embarrassing to me, also---especially when I am always the "let's go" gal.

I am not overly fond of modern art either although there are some paintings I like.

Have a great weekend! xo Diana

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie, I love your photos of St Pauls Cathedral. It is a beautiful church. I would not be embarrassed to be pushed in the wheelchair, you were lucky to walk as much as you did with the pain in your foot. I like the find a way to be tender quote. I am not really of fan of this art but your sketch is pretty. enjoy your day and weekend!

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

Ah I feel for you regarding your feet. Glad you were able to get a wheel chair and get some relief. Once they start hurting it can ruin everything. St. Paul’s is gorgeous. I never understand why places like that won’t allow pictures to be taken. Thankfully there are plenty of images to share from other resources. I would have felt that museum was a waste of time but at least you can check it off your list of places to go!

La Table De Nana said...

Love your loose artwork Jeanie!

In most churches..no photos..in one town we did not see a sign and people were taking photos..it was a sign for me to take some.
I felt disrespectful:(So ingrained in me the NO Photos.
Like that market vendor who got mad at me and the accordeon player.I am mortified and it has only increased my reserve.
Love the tender quote..to bits..

and both you and Rick were troopers:)

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Thanks for taking us on more of your tour. I really don't 'get' modern art, either. I just like what I like. I understand the meltdown. I really hope that foot of yours is on the mend. -Jenn

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

WOW!! What an amazing trip you had, Jeanie!! I just love all the beautiful architecture of the buildings..... Thanks so much for stopping by! The lasagna really isn't that hard to make. If it was, I wouldn't be making it as I am all about easy cooking!
Hugs,
Deb

Joanne Huffman said...

I had to request a wheelchair after I broke my ankle last summer (they have them at the Dali Museum down here) and got over my embarrassment when I realized I wouldn't be able to enjoy the museum at all without it. Also, my friend was very kind about pushing me around. Also, when I went to Disney World a week ago, I rented an electric scooter after my first day there walking around and slowing my friend down; we were both happier the two days I rented the scooter. Good advice about carrying an umbrella with you in London (although mine got blown inside out when I was there). I love your picture of St Paul. I loved The Tate; but we went to the "regular" Tate, not the Tate Modern.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Such a lovely trip. I am sure on such a trip, one never has enough time to visit everything that looks wonderful. However, it looks as though you saw fabulous beauty and creativity. I love the plaque - "It is in your self-interest to find a way to be very tender."
I am happy you found a wheelchair and could enjoy the museum. I hope your foot is on the mend.
Enjoy your weekend and stay warm.

William Kendall said...

St. Paul's is a wonder!

Aritha said...

Ik vind je dapper :)

Thank you so much for the nice photos and ideas. It's over the North sea... not so far away, but I am never been there.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Beautiful church! I am not a modern art fan either. I didn't know you were from Michigan! I grew up in Michigan. Is Win Schuler's restaurant still there?

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Oh! I think Win Schuler's was in Marshall not Lansing?

Sandra Cox said...

Ahh, so many wonders.
Sorry your feet weren't more cooperative.

FABBY'S LIVING said...


What an amazing trip to elegant and beautiful London !
The church is fabulous, such class and elegance where one day, so long ago, beautiful bride Diana came out with her prince and I remember it like yesterday.
You look so pretty on your pic.
Fabby

Denise said...

I understand your reluctance to use the wheelchair, but those of us who rely on them are grateful that they make it possible to participate in things that would be impossible without them. I would be bed-bound without my wheelchair, so I see it as a true necessity.

DUTA said...

I like the opponent's remark about Queen Anne; it's witty and funny. Religious institutions (churches,cathedrals, synagogues, mosques) usually don't disappoint with their architecture and history. St. Paul is at the very top of religious marvels.
As for museums, I'm not very keen on modern art. Prefer the old school of art.

You look very sweet in the picture. I wouldn't have noticed the wheelchair without you and commenters mentioning it.

Marilyn Miller said...

The church is gorgeous inside and outside too. I love the cross Rick bought for you too and indeed would keep it out all year long. Humm? The Tate museum would not be my cup of tea, but fascinating to see. I am glad you used the wheel chair, it gives the rest of us permission if need be too. I am not sure I would have thought to ask for one. Glad you took some music home to enjoy later too. Yes, we have had some very special experiences walking into a church in time for a service, concert, or vespers.

Linda said...

How is it that you look beautifully serene even whilst in the middle of a mini breakdown?

Great post, love the pictures....I feel like I've been there.

Running on empty said...

You look pretty as ever in your carriage, Milady. I wonder if you could take photos by paying a fee? That’s what the Anglican Church here in Melbourne does. I love that drawing of St Paul’s! Cath

Sami said...

St Paul's Cathedral is beautiful, what a pity you couldn't take photos inside.
Love the remarks about Queen Anne's statue, very funny.
The art at the Tate was also not to my taste, I'm not fond of abstract at, but of course art is very subjective...
Glad you could get a wheelchair and carry on your visit.
Have a lovely weekend Jeanie.

BeachGypsy said...

LOVED THIS LOOK at St. Paul's!! Wow....I adore that floor, it's gorgeous!! Just love all the lighting, those CEILINGS, all the fancy carving etc. An amazing place. You truly had the trip of a lifetime, so many historic and interesting places! I'm so glad you are showing all this to us!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

It's a beautiful church, but your post has convinced me I will never visit St. Paul's. If I can't take photos and I can't enjoy the music, I will pass and visit some place that allows inside photos.

Thanks for taking us to the Tate Modern. I LOVED the sculpture with pallets and trash. It was fabulous. Maybe not YOUR thing, but I was glad you shared it, because this is something I fell in love with.

I've told Sally she should get a wheelchair instead of missing half of everything we wanted to see. I would gladly have pushed her at any pace she preferred. I can see Sally in you, but you gave in. She doesn't.

Cathy Sherman said...

Great photos and commentary! It's been a long time since I've visited London. I'm overdue for a re-visit. Your post was an an inspiration. I'm not a big fan of modern art, but nevertheless I always find myself viewing it in the Bloch Building section of our local museum the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. So I must be intrigued. The stack of pallets with stuff wedged between them that you posted reminded me so much of my dresser drawers. :)

Lowcarb team member said...

My first visit to your blog, but I already see so many names and faces I know :)

Lovely to see all of your photographs, and I agree with you about Tate Modern, I just don't get it (neither did my husband Eddie when I showed him your photographs)

I think it an excellent idea to use a wheelchair, it enabled you to finish your visit in more comfort.

Take care and I will visit again soon.

All the best Jan

The French Hutch said...

Bless your heart, don't you ever feel bad about being in pain and needing a little help! I'm just happy you have wonderful Rick who to0k matters into his own hands and knew exactly what you needed! Aside from being tired and in pain I hope you enjoyed the Tate Museum. We've never been there. I don't think it is my thing but I would like to see it. I enjoyed all your photos but I really enjoyed all of the snaps of St. Paul's. It has to be one of my favorite places in London. Thanks for refreshing my memories about how beautiful it is. I couldn't stop thinking about the history and all those who have walked those floors.............

Zaa said...

Looks like you are having a fabulous time, even with a wheel chair...Heck I’ve just decided that I deserve it once in a while( ha ha) ...I think we’ve earned alittle help...It’s all part of the journey...OMG what beautiful pictures... St. Pauls cathedral is out of this world... however The Tate Modern is best saved for another persons image of beauty...BUT ..Isn’t it nice to have the opportunity to experience both worlds. Take care and ENJOY yourselves....Big Hugs

Anonymous said...

St Paul's Cathedral - so breathtakingly beautiful. I remember watching Diana & Charles wedding so long ago. I was living in CA at the time and it was so early there when it was live in England. Thank you for sharing your lovely adventure!! And I'm your newest follower too! :-)

Susan Kane said...

St. Paul's Cathedral--just the photos leave me speechless.

I broke my ankle and it had not healed yet when we went to the Smithsonian with our grown kids. We got a wheelchair for me, and they pushed me around. At one point they were evil and pushed me up against a wall, and left me.

What an adventure.

Pam Richardson said...

St. Paul’s Is such a magnificent church. It is truly a stunning work of architecture. I would have loved to have heard the choir when I was there, What a shame that the acoustics were unpleasant. Jeanie, I understand your melt down, bless your heart. The museum was interesting, but not my taste, either. Have a wonderful day!

Sketchbook Wandering said...

I talked about the wheelchair thing in your next post...As I think about it again, the key is the transition part, getting used to something that is new...

Oh, those old churches!! And the Tate: I think a lot of the intention of modern art is to get us to think, to reflect about life, our surroundings, verses aesthetic pleasure. The Clock sounds intriguing, theater of the absurd maybe? I'll search for it.

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

I understand your troubles with giving up your mobility. It's hard to believe we aren't still the best versions of ourselves and never will be again! It's a certain vulnerability I recently faced after being the "strong one" through my mother in laws death, my father in laws death and my husband's lingering neuropathy caused by chemo drugs that saved his life. All of a sudden, I was unable to function and couldn't take care of my love one let alone do simple things with my hands! It has mostly passed at this point, but the knowledge that I'm not invincible still stresses me out.

shoreacres said...

It makes some sense to me that photos weren't allowed in St. Paul's. I wonder if that's true 24/7, or if it might have been because a service was taking place. It's hard to remember, sometimes, that churches are places of worship more than they're museums -- even though many visit for the art, the music, the history.

Besides, the great thing about professional photos, like those on the postcards, is that they can provide views most of us don't have the skill or equipment to capture. Interesting that the reverb you experienced in person isn't on the recordings. I'm sure there are some professionals involved in recording there, too -- people who know how to account for such things.

I laughed out loud at the description of Queen Anne's statue. That's just funny. As for the Tate... I always take a look at the modern stuff when I come upon it, but I confess I don't make a point to look for it. I've stopped apologizing, despite the fact that it probably indicates some lack in my art appreciation genes!

shoreacres said...

There wasn't a thing offensive about your wheelchair comment, and if someone was offended, that would be their problem, not yours. In truth, I would have found the need for a wheelchair embarassing at one point in my life -- but only because of my own pride in my independence, ability to get around, etc. and so on. However: when my mother and I discovered that a wheelchair meant we got to go to the head of the line when boarding airplanes, we rejoiced. Especially when she was traveling by herself, it meant that she got a little extra attention from the flight attendants, and that made her feel more emotionally secure as well as physically comfortable.

The toy museum is fabulous. I actually spotted a doll that looks very much like one I had, and I grinned when I saw that viewer with the round card containing slides. We had one of those, too, and it was considered quite the thing. I would have enjoyed the doll houses and miniatures. My doll house was my pride and joy. It's amazing how many hours we spent playing with the thing, and how much fun it was going to the five-and-dime to look through their inventory of tiny furniture and tea sets to make the 'house' even more attractive.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

It's hard to accept help at times. Especially when you are an active, independent person. But I'm glad that Rick insisted upon getting a wheelchair because it sounded like you needed one. And while it might have slowed Rick down, a museum is the perfect place to be forced to slow down a little. And I know he did not mind since he didn't want you to be in such pain. :(

Modern art is not my thing either. We have a modern art museum here in Minneapolis. I went once because they were playing a special on award-winning advertisements. They do that once a year in January. My friend and I walked around the museum ahead of the showing and just giggled over things because we just didn't get it!!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I would never be concerned about having to ask for help or a wheelchair and hopefully your legs felt relieved. Slowing down at a museum is not a bad thing, except perhaps when it's one filled with rather unusual pieces. We've been to a few like this and there were many pieces that I just didn't "get."

Jenny Woolf said...

It is disappointing to have to use a chair, and frustrating too. Last summer I was watching people walking past and thinking, wow, how wonderful it would be to be able to just walk without thinking about it. But I guess that kind of thing is part of life, and some have much more of it than we do. I appreciate the great improvement as my ligament and tendon heal.

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