have just woken up on my commute home in Aldershot, which is after my stop… oh bugger…
Anyone who has already been over to Legally Blonde will already have heard of the tragic death of Michael Blakey (a.k.a. MrG). I’m afraid that I have no new news for those looking, but I would like to share a couple of memories of mine.
If there’s anything that you can say about MrG is that he truely was a proper English Gentleman. Good, kind, well mannered and just a tad grumpy. He had many varied interests and as can be seen was both an accomplished guitarist and pianist and a damned fine chess player (things that are important to me).
MrG was an incredibling positive influence for people. A strong sense of what was right and wrong in the world and was willing to try to do something about it. And it was this that made him so special to so many different people, both here and aboard. At this point I believe it’s traditional to say something along the lines of, ‘he never had a bad thing to say about anyone.’ While this isn’t actually true (as if it ever is) to earn his ire you really had to work for it.
Something that we used to do on a regular basis was to pretend that we were victorian toffs back in the age of The British Empire. With our brandy talking about the “savages” of Africa and what a good job our troops were doing….. very Zulu-esq. We both knew that if we had been living in the Naponian era there’s no chance that we’d have been upper-class twits….. but that didn’t mean that we couldn’t pretend.
That is the one reason why this song from Fairport Convention (Jewel In The Crown) reminds me of those times. I suspect that the song is supposed to be ironic towards the whole Empire thingy, especially in later verses but I’m happy to totally ignore all that sort of thing. As I lean back in my wing-back chair with cigar in hand and raising my glass to a man who will be sorely missed.
We are a proud land, we stand for freedom,
We've got the franchise on how to lead them,
We've got the history and books to prove it,
Give us a mountain and we will move it,
We rule the waves and the seven seas,
We bring the mighty to their knees,
We offer hope and inspiration,
A fine example to lesser nations,
We are Britannia, the Jewel in the crown.
We brought a system to the masses,
Divide the nation into classes
It's in our breeding and on our faces
At least we're all born knowing our places
We stay inside our social borders
We only take what our class affords us,
It doesn't matter if it's not even,
The system nature of the daemon
We are Britannia, Jewel in the crown,
We are Britannia, We crown an empire
We came and conquered, we tore their borders down,
We need no conscious, God is on our side
We are Britannia, Jewel in the crown
Fairport Convention – Jewel In The Crown
I managed to see things in pairs when I went round London on Saturday…. not on purpose, but that’s just the way it turned out!!!
first there was the Golden Hinde in Southwark. This is a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s galleon which sailed over 100,000 miles including round the world!! The other is the Cutty Sark…… which didn’t look much like the model I have in a bottle….. I know it had been windy the night before but surely not that windy…..???
I also popped into Southwark Cathedral which was very nice. I didn’t realise that they were doing a special service for the anniversary of the Porvoo Communion, a community of twelve European churches which consider themselves maintaining the Catholic and Apostilic Faith while being Protestant with regard to the Roman Catholic Church. While it sounds like this was signed many years ago it was infact as recent as 1994!!!
On the otherside we have the Chapel of St Paul and St Peter from the Old Royal Naval College which was beautifully painted and plastered.
The first of the museums I visited was the Royal Observatory. It was great. If you happen to know the radius of the Earth, with a quick bit of mathematics you could work out just how far away all those places are. I also reset my watch, so if anyone wants to know the correct time, just ask!!! While in the museum park I caught up with a tour group and I have nothing but praise for the lady that was giving the tour. She was amazing. I don’t know if she’s the only one or not, but I was still amazed!! I also didn’t know that the Greenwich line has been moved three times by successive Royal Astronomers for no more reason than they didn’t like where the old one was!!
I also visited one of my favourite museums, the Natural History Museum. Now here’s a small hint, if you ever visit and there’s a massive queue (like on Saturday) head round the side as if you were going to the Science Museum and there’s another enterance which almost no-one realises about. Sure you don’t see the dinosaurs straight away, but you do come up under the model of the Planet Earth (see above).
Lots and lots of fun!!!
There are more photos, and they look better when a bit bigger, just head over to Bimbling Along on flickr.
nb – there were some very friendly squirrels in Greenwich Park….
I’m currently uploading photos from my trip (and others) onto Flickr.com and as anyone else who does that knows, it takes a bit of time…. but for those that really want to know, I visited Southwark Cathedral, the Golden Hinde, Cutty Sark, the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul at the Old Royal Naval College, the Royal Obseratory, and the Natural History Musuem. but more of that tomorrow.
Anyway, I was listening to the Game last night while chatting to Belle over the internet. I was quite happy when my Leafs managed to score three goals in sixty seconds and it till after I’d been all cheerful that the thought suddenly crossed my mind that Belle might actually support the other team (Washington Capitals). Which she did….. whoops!!!
nb – we won 7-1 in the end…
Cheers guys for the suggestions, having flicked through the posts of Jackthelass for the months of Oct ’04 – Sep ’05 as well as other suggestions I now have a fairly extensive list of things to visit. These include (in an order that I’m not going to make clear);
Museum of Gardening History,
Tate Modern (but only for the slides),
National Maratine Museum (along with the Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark),
second-hand book stores on Charring Cross Road,
Tea Shop – Covent Garden,
The Canada Shop, Maiden Lane.
Obviously I can’t get round them all. Not in one day at least!!!
Places I will try to visit will be the Slides of Tate Modern, the Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark (I have never actually seen the Millennium Done with my actual eyes… so maybe that as well), Charing Cross Road and then finish off either at the Portrait Gallery…. or maybe back over in Knightsbridge for my favourite two museums.
Then I have all of Sunday to recover. Phew!!
Which makes me wonder…. what’s happening Sunday. I don’t generally have free days….
Today was very cold in London. Tomorrow is… cold and rainy. I have a cold coming on. I have a slight tempurature as well as sniffing/sneezing. poor me….. 🙁
Apart from the slides at Tate Modern and the Natural History/Science Museums is there anything else that’s worth going to see in London?? At the moment I have Saturday free and a week travelcard burning a hole in my pocket.
Don’t worry rain, this was just for the weekend, I’m planning on getting a much earlier night tonight. And the batteries both going flat quickly so we had to finish work early was nice.
But back to my weekend.
A very long Friday found me eating lasana at the House of Fun. What made the Friday that bit longer was the fact that we then stayed up far too late chatting. Not so good with our competition the very next morning. Oh well!!! ;o)
The trip down to Exeter went very well….. for all those who weren’t in the Car of Death…. apparently there were only two… moments… on the way there. One involving a HGV and the other a car stopped at a red light. And no, it wasn’t my car!!! :p
The competition went well, both our experienced and novice teams came second and there were several individual golds. I had one of them, thrashing my competitor from Exeter. Is it wrong to use a bit of gamesmanship to put a competitor off their game?? I’m not talking like poking them with a stick but more just not letting them settle into a routine. To put them off just enough that they don’t do as well as they might. Is that wrong or just part of sports??
And does it make any difference if I’m then thanked by his team-mates as he’d been becoming a bit too cocky and needed taking down a peg or two. See, I did good by handing him a crushing defeat.
I shan’t mention the car keys being locked in the car, as it wasn’t my fault. Needless to say we got them out. We do have a slight history with the breaking in of vehicles. Well, minibuses really…. but that really is another story!!!
Sunday was the lie-in day. Caught up with a few friends at church. Even though I got there early, it seems that someone has stolen my pew. Leave the place for a couple of months…….
After taking Ceinwen and Jack-Jack shopping we then headed off to watch James Bond in Casino Royale which we enjoyed. But I did think that the bit where James ‘retires’ to live with his girlie, who we all knew was going to die like in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was a bit annoying. And they could have played the Mr White out like a Blofeld-esq charactor.
Of course, doing this made it that coming home bit well, slightly delayed and well, you can see what happened then.
I’m now going to finsih off my tv prog and then go to bed. I think I deserve it.
Tunnels have nineteen car pile-up, bridges closed, heavy road-works on A465 at Neath…… have only just gotten home after a fairly long detour….. have to get up in three hours to go to work.
If I’m conscious when I get home tomorrow, later today even, I’ll say more about it. Or I might just stay asleep on the train and miss my stop…. who knows!!!
Which about describes my mental functions at this current moment.
I’m not sure what it is, the three hours of travelling, the 5.45am wake up, four hours of working in the rain, four more hours of drying out, the vast numbers of people and traffic just getting in the way….. and the same to look forward to tomorrow….. and then I’m following it up by driving to Swansea.
Once there I shall try to stay awake long enough to have a cup of tea!!!
After the last couple of blogs I’ve read being from people with their low grade fevers/near fatal needle injuriesthe best I can do for looking for sympathy is the fact that I have the catch the 6.39am train tomorrow morning to get up to Kings Cross Station for 8am.
If anyone would like to come see how vast quanities of people and traffic can make surveying difficult I’m going to be there till at least the end of the week. And maybe even next….