Tuesday, 8 March 2016

An afternoon on the South Bank

We had intended to start off today's outing by going up to Tower Bridge to listen to a 61-gun salute that was due to start at 1:00 pm.  Unfortunately, we were a bit late and only heard the last two blasts, "But if you've heard one, you've heard them all!" said the Swan Whisperer. 

You know, I'm sure HMS Belfast is further away from the bank than it used to be - it seems to be moored right out in the middle of the river, and does block your view of things!  But we did manage to see across the river to the Tower, where everything was obviously over, so we turned round to walk along the South Bank. 

I had suggested we had lunch in the Prets in Clink Street, but the Swan Whisperer wanted to try the restaurant at Southwark Cathedral.  Which was okay, but I'd rather have had a sandwich, and the loos were out of service and, although there was a disabled loo, you had to ask for the key.  Which, to be fair, they did provide.  And their brownies were lovely and fudgey. 

After this we continued along the South Bank, past the Clink Prison, under Southwark Bridge, past Shakespeare's Globe, past the Tate Modern, past the Bankside Gallery and the Founders Arms pub (one of the first places the Swan Whisperer bought me a meal back in the early days of our marriage), under Blackfriars railway and road bridges and so to Oxo Tower Wharf. 

We were there to see this exhibition, a photo essay on a year in the life of a London priest.  It was fabulous - many of the photos were very moving.  The priest in question, Kit Gunasekera, is the vicar of St James, Clapham Park, just round the corner from us, and a friend of ours is an unpaid minister there, too.  We were delighted to see him and his wife featuring in several of the photos, including one where they were centre stage as they had been celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.   The photographer, who was there, insisted on taking our photo in front of this picture:
I look a bit laden (and fat!).  Anyway, we chatted to him, and to the curator, and enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading up about what had motivated him and so on.  The best bit was that due to working on this project, he and his wife are now staunch members of St James, having not been churchgoers before!  God is amazing sometimes!

When we had finally had enough, we came away and walked on, past Jubilee Gardens and Gabriel's Wharf, and past the National Theatre until we came to Waterloo Bridge, where we climbed the steps up on to the bridge and caught a 59 bus home!

The exhibition is on until 20 March, and if you are in London it is well worth going to see.  Admission is free.

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