Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday (St Wulfstan)

The meeting of Province V bishops concluded at noon yesterday, so I was actually the first one to check in for my flight,mwhich departed a 5pm. How often does one even get to meet, let alone fly across the ocean with, a set of quituplets? They were four yearsold, and very well- behaved. British Airways deposited me at Heathrow shortly after 6am (that is, shortly after midnight central time). A little while later I was in my hotel room, grateful that the Hilton Metropole (Edgeware Road) had a room available for early check-in. After settling in, cleaning up, and arguing my way to a free internet connection in my room, I surveyed the neighborhood on foot (it's even more Arab that I remember it from my last trip in 2005), then entered the labyrinthine Underground system. After a couple of small false starts, I made it to the Westminster area, and to the offices of Watts & Company, purveyors of fine vestments for clergy and churches. They had a mitre ready for me to pick up ... so I picked it up.  Found a very nice place to grad a bite, after which I reported for a pre-arranged verger-led tour of the Abbey. It lasted two hours, and while not exhaustive, it was exhausting. My takeaway was the reminder that Elizabeth I and her half-sister predecessor Mary are buried together. They were not the best of friends in this world. Of course I stayed for Evensong! Was there ever any doubt? For geeks like me: Intoit Anthem from the nave (Tallis, If ye love me...), Byrd Reponses, Stanford Mag & Nunc (B-flat), Poulenc anthem (Videntes Stella). Surpassingly lovely. And they do this every day. Amazing. Came back to the hotel (braving rush hour train loads), freshened up, and ventured back out in search of dinner. Found some very tasty Indian cuisine. Pass the Garlic Naan.England is expensive, even with a much-improved exchange rate.  Now I lay me down to sleep. Tomorrow it's Oxford.

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