Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 23, 2010: Scavenging, Shakespeare, and a Service

(Dieter) What an amazing day! After breakfast, we got on the subway to St. Peter's Cathedral. From here we walked across the Millennium Bridge and enjoyed a snack of hot caramelized sugared peanuts. Alexander’s dream of digging for relics becomes a reality as the Thames River is substantially lower and the south side of the river shoreline is open to the public. After a good 30 minutes of kicking rocks, scouring through stones and mud, we find a number of iron items (mostly nails), porcelain and glass. We speculate and daydream how these items might have been used many hundreds (maybe only a few) years ago. After bringing our treasures up to the river walkway, we head for the Shakespeare Globe Theatre for a tour. Alexander experiences a face-2-face encounter with William, Karannina and Sandra enjoy the exhibit of costumes, while I get a lesson in swordsmanship from a woman. The theatre is a replica of the original, almost to the detail in building materials. But we discover that the original site of Shakespeare’s theatre would have been at the base of the bridge just behind us in the picture of the river scavenging. The theatre was outdoors, with room for 700 penny stinkers (they paid one penny entrance and had to stand for up to three hours for the plays. The term stinkers comes from the fact that there were no WC’s and so, in case of urgency, the audience members would relieve themselves were they stood. Alexander discovered a number of stage secrets (flying, trap doors, trick tables, staged hangings, etc.). After a quick trip to Westminster Parliament via subway, we made our way into the Abby for an Evensong. What an amazing experience this was! From the choral of boys/men choir to the organ filling the huge caverns. The acoustics were unbelievable. We got to sing one song as a congregation and it was wonderful to hear our voices echo through the chambers. We were somewhat discouraged to see such ouster beauty in terms of architecture yet such a cold spiritual feeling. I was also very surprised to see little if any reference or leadership by the women. As we left the worship service, encouraged by the prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (but is actually from St. Benedict): O gracious and holy Father, Give us wisdom to perceive you, intelligence to understand you, diligence to seek you, patience to wait for you, eyes to see you, a heart to meditate on you, and a life to proclaim you, through the power of the spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord. After the service, Alexander noted the graves of Darwin, Isaac Newton and a number of other historical individuals of significance, that were beneath the floor over which we walked. Outside we were met by a number of protestors from Iran who were asking for the support of the Abbey to help free those who were in prison and being tortured. We left the Abbey on a double-decker bus headed back to Trafalgar Square to our subway stop. We were surprised to see so many people on the subway and found out shortly, that due to a person jumping onto the tracks, the entire subway line was delayed. Paramedics were called in; a helicopter arrived at the scene, ready to airlift the person to hospital. We are hopeful that the person will live. Soon the underground is back on time and Karannina discovers some effective subway advertising. At home, we make a wonderful supper of soft wraps, cheese, hamburger, and fresh vegies, followed by a delightful dessert of chocolate cake and fresh fruit.

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