Friday, 4 February 2011

London trip 2

Monday morning we were up early and approaching the American Embassy by ten am. We goggled at the British policemen, not just one or two, but lots of them, holding automatic rifles. Seeing armed men dressed in uniform in the UK is a strange experience. We groaned when we saw the long queue and groaned even harder when told that the IRS section does not open on Monday. By chance we’d decided to stay over a second night in the hope of seeing a ballet, so we could come back on Tuesday morning, but if we'd been going back that night, the whole trip would have been for nothing. ‘Come for 8 o’ clock,’ the young woman said with a charming smile, as if it was the easiest thing in the world to get from King’s Cross to Mayfair by 8am.

So we had coffee, zipped into M&S to buy a thermal vest because I’d thought London would be the usual three or four degrees warmer than the Tyne valley – it wasn’t; it was far colder - and purchased tickets for a play that evening. (Ballet companies weren't playing ball either.)

Ventured through Lisle Street, hung with balloons for Chinese New Year, and then trotted down Long Acre towards Lincoln’s Inn Fields hoping to see some trace of the sixteenth century setting for the Sansom novels featuring Lawyer Shardlake. Wandered around, admiring everything and found the crypt where John Donne laid the foundation stone in 1620, but not much I could relate to Shardlake. Perhaps the fountain has replaced his fishpond?

We stopped for lunch at the Knights Templar on the corner of Carey St and Chancery Lane and found the most amazing ladies loo we’ve ever seen. If you stop there, make sure you go downstairs to the toilets. I kept thinking I wasn't alone, because there are so many mirrors that the slightest movement was replicated a dozen times. As fast as I turned, my reflection was always ahead of me!

We dived through to the Inner Temple where we discovered the Temple Church and the effigy of William Marshall. I'm not sure if his tomb is under the floor or not. Must check. Most people will think the church more famous for being part of the Da Vinci Code.

Here is the website for the church, and click here for a general guide to walking the area.

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