Thursday, 14 January 2010

Ecclesiastical Splendour

It must be about ten years since I last paid St Paul's Cathedral a visit. The entrance fee has increased to £12.50, though it was reduced to £9 yesterday, due to the inclement weather. St Paul's is one of those historic buildings that fill one with awe: Look around and Wren's masterpiece is there for all to admire.

Whilst the crypt of St Paul's lacks the architectural magnificence of the nave and dome, it compensates for this by its historical import. Here we have the tombs and monuments to illustrious personages, many of whom were Admirals of the Fleet and Field Marshals; the two most noteworthy, perhaps, being those of the great Duke of Wellington and Admiral Lord Nelson. Many of our military figures rest here; there are memorials to Lord Alanbrooke and Lord Montgomery, for instance.

The Crypt is vast: The shop is here, as is the cafeteria and the restaurant. The Crypt also contains the Chapel of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; and the banners of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Prince Philip hang here. I think the Order was founded in 1917, so the Chapel is relatively recent.

I chatted to a member of the clergy on duty below the dome. We talked about Northern Ireland and he asked me if Belfast was worth a visit. I replied tactfully that every place was worth a visit at least once! I told him that I listened to Canon Lucy Winkett on Thought For The Day, BBC Radio Four; and he exclaimed: "can you get Radio Four over there?" Had I been impertinent I could have added " Indeed, and we have electricity and cold running water too!" It was an innocuous enough comment, though.

Earlier in the day, I wandered in to Turnbull and Asser's shop in Jermyn Street for a "browse". There was a sale on, though they don't seem to publicize it much. I stepped downstairs, where there were literally dozens of ties on the sale.

Over at the end where my shirt sizes were, I noticed a classic, plain, light blue button-cuff shirt; and, slightly impulsively, bought it. Their button cuffs all have the distinctive three buttons. I told the assistant that I'd been a customer of theirs since the early 80s; and that I still owned a double-cuff silk shirt, along with three other shirts, from Turnbull's. Now I have four, plus two ties and a handkerchief.

Long may they last.


Peregrine's Bird Blog said...

I hope you popped upto the very nice cheese shop a few doors up from Turnbull & Asser

Anonymous said...

Paxtons! Indeed...ha


Timothy Belmont said...

Paxton and Whitfield? Couldn't miss it. :-)