Friday, April 27, 2012

Hung with snow, along the bough

Well, Housman probably would have written that, had he seen this courtyard outside the Temple Church (the Inns of Court, by the way, are naturally very attached to rules, hence the underlining) - what looks just like a sprinkle of snow is purely petals. But the showers and rain have been interspersed with enough bright spells for us to enjoy a trip along the river on a ferry, gawping at old faithfuls like Tower Bridge and the Belfast, and at the new entrants, like the Gherkin and the Shard, which is very nearly finished.

Then it was lovely to walk through the gardens along the Embankment - so many green bits in the middle of all the roads and buildings in London - admiring the spring flowers and stopping every 20 metres or so to study yet another statue or memorial. London always reminds me of my aunt's front room, where every flat surface is cluttered with little ornaments, plates and knick-knacks. Some of the statues are obvious, like Robert Raikes of Sunday School fame, and Samuel Plimsoll of the line (possibly also the sandshoe), and Arthur Sullivan out the back (front?) of the Savoy Hotel. But there was a mysterious marble statue presented to Britain in 1920 in gratitude by the people of Belgium. That had me, historically deficient as I am, foxed until we went to the theatre that night.

War Horse the play, predating the movie by a year or so, was brilliantly done and quite moving, deserving its standing ovation at the end. It also mentioned that Britain entered the Great War in response to the German invasion of Belgium, which if I ever knew, I'd forgotten. There's going to be quite a lot about war in the blog posts from this trip. Some of it's going to be pretty heavy. You have been warned...

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