Strange but true – I got tripped up by my ghostly escalator ...
I went to London last week for a few visits – I had some birthday presents to drop off, after visiting Selfridges for one last purchase, then on to Chancery Lane for the drop off.
I’d decided I had time, despite leaving an hour later than I intended to from here, to get down to Greenwich to see the Turner exhibition at the Maritime Museum ...
... failed at that ... I was switched off ... sitting quietly on the Docklands Light Railway – that I don’t use very often, which takes us through the revamped docks through stations: named such as West India Docks ... I wonder where they traded ?...
... then MudChute ... what happens there?! Well it’s on the Isle of Dogs ... the muddy overspill was left from dock expansion in the 1840s ... the Isle of Dogs has some etymologically interesting connotations: please see the Wiki entry.
While I’m on this line of posting ... Canary Wharf – why its name? Once this easterly end of London in the 1980s was opened up to office, retail and housing ... the dock areas rapidly took off, and this is now one of London’s two main financial centres: the other being the traditional City of London.
Canary Wharf is located on the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs, which is bounded on three sides by one of the largest meanders in the River Thames.
From 1802, these docks were one of the busiest in the world. In 1936 the fruit trade ships from the Mediterranean and Canary Islands docked at these wharfs ... hence the name Canary Wharf.
I completely missed the Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich station ... and found myself at Deptford – back down the steps, up the other side - and back to Greenwich ....
... another mistake – I should have waited for the next station: Cutty Sark ... but I didn’t realise this til I was off and walking ... however time was drawing on ... and I was thinking – now I’m too late to get to see the Exhibition so I’ll make that visit on another day.
As I walked I came across a church – a large edifice of a building from the west side – with a sign saying Church Open ... I decided to have a look inside St Alfege’s Church ...
.... and what a good decision that was ... designed by Wren’s assistant, the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661 – 1736), this massive Portland stone church of circa 1715 ...
... however its connections go much further back ... who is St Alfege? was my first question ... and then a millennium of history dropped into my lap – ie my brain – and what a journey I took ...
St Alfege (954 – 1012), Archbishop of Canterbury (1006), was a great church reformer and looked after his peoples ... there were no beggars in Winchester, when he was bishop in 984.
|From the Church's website - a photo of a recreation of
Viking traditions ... re-enacted during the Millennial
celebrations for St Alfege 1012 - 2012
The Danes were raiding our eastern coasts; proceeded to sack Canterbury in 1011; the church was pillaged; monks and people massacred ... Alfege offered himself as hostage and he was taken in chains by ship round to Greenwich.
Alfege refused to allow anyone to ransom him ... the Danes in 1012 renewed their demands for money, eventually demanding 3,000 gold marks be paid within a week or they would kill the Archbishop.
|The very Rev'd Rowan Williams -
the previous Archbishop of
Canterbury: in front of a Viking
boat, similar to those used in
One week later, the enraged Danes battered him to death with meat bones and stones ... so beginneth Alfege’s journey to sainthood ... King Cnut took his body home to Canterbury in 1023 ... he was then canonised in 1078.
St Alfege church’s history is so interesting that I’ll cover it in another post ... but my journey back into London was uneventful. I was going to go round on a new members’ tour of the National Portrait Gallery.
The gallery houses portraits of historically important famous people associated with Britain, selected on the basis of significance of the sitter, not that of the artist.
The collection includes photographs and caricatures as well as paintings, drawings and sculpture. I spotted a photograph of Mandela, taken by the photojournalist Michael Peto, during his time in London in 1962.
Now I know more about the Gallery – I shall look forward to going back to exhibitions ... I have already been to one lecture that will make an interesting blog topic.
Then I thought I’d go home ... so off to the Leicester Square tube I went – via Charing Cross ....... next stop Embankment ..... the Ghosts of dustsheets, last birthdays, five years of blogging ... and Ghostly Escalators that I couldn’t find ... all came flooding back ....
.... I was at Waterloo – why? Where’s my stop! – then I remembered the Embankment station was closed ... so ghostly recollections came to haunt me!
Back to Charing Cross a walk down to Embankment station – that part was working ... talk about a convoluted journey to get my train back to Victoria Station and down to Eastbourne.
Honestly you’d have thought I’d remembered ... and I wasn’t paying attention to all those warning notices, or wretched constant reminders that we seem to spend our times having to listen to ... be it on the train, tube or bus ... so irritating!
Oh well – home once again ... having had an inadvertent off the beaten track Church visit ... very well worth it – I was so pleased I was doolally!!
Sometimes these strange but true experiences offer us so much ... and opened my eyes to the historical importance of that particular Church ...
My blog post in January ... Ghostly Reappearance from under ...
One of my very early posts in May 2009 about Selfridges
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories