Thursday, December 08, 2005

St. Paul's

On Sunday, nothing was pre-determined, except our early evening flight home.  We decided to set out for St. Paul’s Cathedral, which I had always wanted to see, but had never previously gotten closer to than the view from the Tate Modern end of the adjacent bridge.

Of course, I knew the exterior from film and postcard, but the interior was a revelation – clean cool curves arching overhead, without the massy sense of the Norman churches, warmer and less severe than the Gothic lines I loved in Salisbury, none of the glamour and gilding that plagues Italian churches.  Wren was a genius.

We lunched in the Crypt Café, bone-free since the clean-up that followed the Great Fire of London – the disaster which gave Wren his great chance.  We may have spotted a knight: a distinguished looking grey haired gentleman in tails, with a large medal around his neck and a slim, blonde, (very U) lady companion of similar age.

I found the monuments to fallen heroes absurdly touching.  Wellington is remembered there, and General Slim, who only has a plaque: a modest memorial, I thought, for the man who saved the subcontinent, and rolled the Axis back through Burma.

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