Thursday, 25 July 2013

South Banking

In Ring terms, yesterday and today are holidays, and I'm enjoying a little London leisure. The night-time rain has cooled things down, so making it more comfortable to cycle around. Southwark Cathedral hosts an inter-faith exhibition this week, put on by our good friend Sarah. That made something to aim for: it was an added bonus to find a steward who knew all about the Cathedral's stained glass. Much of it is C.E. Kempe, and indeed there's a memorial to him in the South transept. I admired the colourful Henry Holiday window at the West end also (complete with a panel which seems to depict the Rhinemaidens: you can't get away from it!). The Cathedral, wedged in between railway lines, is now of course dwarfed by the Shard.

From London Bridge, I pushed/rode my bike three miles upstream along the Thames path: from the dry dock that's home to Drake's Golden Hind (such a tiny vessel to have circumnavigated the globe all those 400+ years ago!) to the brand new St George's Wharf development at Vauxhall. Most of the way was thronged with people enjoying themselves: drinking mainly, but also playing on the shore or on the artificial beach outside the Festival Hall; learning from the brilliant garden exhibition by Hungerford Bridge; watching jugglers, acrobats and limbo dancers; browsing the book stalls by the Film Theatre; queuing for the Eye; photographing each other against the river backdrop, and proselytising - my ear was bent for ten minutes by a young man from South China, who worshipped at All Souls Langham Place and made it his - or rather the Lord's - business to accost people sitting in the pleasant gardens outside Tate Modern on his way home from work every evening (so he told me).

You don't get the feeling that Austerity Britain means much here.

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