|Subject: Greenwich: what a nice "time" at a fan museum|
Day 2 Sunny in the morning, but it turned into grey clouds in the late afternoon.
This morning we descended to the basement and joined the other guests for our introduction to the full English breakfast of poached eggs, sausage, a half of a tomato, a slice of what they call bacon, but we Yanks call a thin slice of somewhat salty ham, and "brown" wheat toast served in a silver toast rack. Orange marmalade, Strawberry preserves and pats of Anchor brand "free range" butter were available. The coffee was strong, served in a metal pitcher. All this served on solid place mats with charming English country scenes. The walls are covered with a range of traditional 19th century country life: fox hunts, country maidens at work, carriages, dances, etc.
A number of families with children of different ages and behaviors are staying at the B&B.
We visited the St. Mary Abbots church at the corner of Kensington Church Road and Kensington High Street. Isaac Newton worshipped there. We heard the joyful screaming of children at recess play next to the church from the church school. I got roundly chided for grabbing a snapshot of two darling little girl friends. It was then that we noticed security cameras mounted at the second story level all about. The church had a simplicity about its interior dateing from 1872, designed by Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott who adopted the style of 13th century English Gothic. The windows are original from that date. The 10 bells are from previous churches dated 1772 and still rung by hand on Sunday and Thursday. There is an early memorial from 1653, but a church of some sort has been on this ground for 1,000 years!
We descended into the tube stop outside of Marks & Spenser on Kensington High Street to catch the yellow circle train to the Embankment stop. There we boarded a tour boat to Greenwich. (There are various other modes of travel to Greenwich in addition to the boat.) After we boarded from the "downtown" area we went past many former loft buildings that had been converted to expensive condos complete with hanging patios. Then many condos of recent uninspired, insipid dreary architecture. Not dynamic, not risky, not organic, not anything. Bland, drab, colorless. Some came dangerously close to Mussolini Modern.
At Greenwich, we had lunch at Goodard's, established in 1890! It seemed like a hole in the wall, popular with the locals, many of whom ran in for take out. It is a very good "pie" shop. I had a lamb pastie, mash and peas. Susan had a cheese and onion pie straight out of the oven with a green mystery sauce and mash. We both had tea with milk. It all was very tasty.
We didn't have much time, after lunch, to catch the boat back, so we made straight away to a privately owned "Fan Museum" in two fine old Georgian townhouses at 12 Crooms Hill. [020-8858-7879, fan-museum.org] It was well worth the visit. Because the museum is so small, exhibits are arranged by themes. While we visited, the theme was antique, lace fans. The fans were stunning, delicate and extremely beautiful. I took many finely detailed digcam shots by available by available light. Flash would have washed out the delicate lace work. The museum had a lovely semi formal garden in the rear and wonderful hanging flower boxes in the front falling down to the sunken basement below. They had a very nice tea room named "The Orangery" that was a delight that I photographed, but unfortunately it was not open at the time. [Tu & Su 3~5p, full £4.50/p, half is £3.5/p]
Upon our return to the Embankment via the boat, it was rush hour and we noticed people walking very fast, at least on the Strand during the Friday evening rush hour. People were streaming down a slight incline to the Embankment tube stop. Looking up that hill, we saw bobbing heads stacked atop one another. Ah, but this was not all of them. Many pubs lined the street as well the surrounding streets and these pubs were packed shoulder to shoulder to the point that the customers spilled out onto the sidewalks like an overflow flood of gurgling bubbles bursting with cheer and chatter.
We noticed a few street people in this area sitting on the sidewalk with their backs against a building wall with all their belongings. Not aggressive at all, just a plaintive "Can/will you help me?" as the hoards, and we mean hoards, streamed by.
We had dinner at Bistro 1 (There are one or two more) at 50 James St. (almost an alley) off of Strand St. (no autos.) It is a Mediterranean restaurant that is a second story walk up in the midst of the theatre district. I had mixed mezzo appetizer consisting of hummus, falafel, domas, cheese borek, coucus and garlic yoghurt cucumber dip. Each on was excellent! That was followed by an okay lamb shish kabob. Susan had a regular salad with a very tart dressing and lamb shish kabob with rice that was a bit spicy. The place was packed to the gills with constant chatter. Sitting next to us was a "Sheila," (an Ozzie chick,) and a local guy.
Leaving the Bistro, we came across a jazz joint with a sax player outside attracting customers. I got a nice shot of him illuminated by the the warm glow of light streaming out of the club's doorway
When we returned to our room, we heard a woman shrieking at the top of her lungs constantly like the whistle on a tea pot, stopping only to gasp for air. This continued for some time as we heard windows opening and neighbors adding their comments. The intensity of the shrieking rose. We couldn't make out any words. Mostly it was screaming. WE did hear a man's voice, bit it was not loud nor often. Eventually the police arrived and she continued her tirade at them as well. We seem to get a dose of drama each evening.
Cherrio till my next installment!
Steve in Chicago where we are "enjoying" London like weather of rain, overcast skies and temperatures in the low 70's in late August.