Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bawds and Bards

In this inclement weather four of us with a Spirit of Adventure headed for London for our 'Bawds and Bards' walk. From London Bridge we passed through Borough Market. Abuzz with foodies and food and wonderful smells. But there was no lingering. We were off to see the walls of Marshalsea Prison where Charles Dicken's father was incarcerated and where Little Dorrit was set. We followed along the narrow lanes to Red Cross Garden a delightful tranquil little garden with a row of very desirable (i.e...I want one!) cottages.

Not far from here is Cross Bones Graveyard - a burial site for Winchester's Geese, licensed prostitutes who could not have a Christian burial. Paupers were also buried here. The gate of the site is covered in momentos to those who were buried there.

We then dropped into The Anchor for a drink. This was a let down. Despite its history, there was little atmosphere. Few of the bar staff spoke English well or even at all, which should not be a reason to grumble, but in such a historic pub it would have been nice to have a bit of local colour. The service was stunningly slow, in fact more people cancelled their meals while we were waiting at the bar than ordered them. Our intrepid book club team (down to four due to the weather) found two packs of Tescos sandwhiches left on the table by earlier disgruntled customers, so not wanting to waste them and having been watching over them for an hour with no return of their owners, we had them for lunch. One each!! Frugal or what??

Fortified with bland sandwiches and a glass of red we headed for the River. On the way we passed The Clink, the old prison where a gibbet hangs today. We all thought a gibbet was for hanging people, like the gallows, but were wrong. It is a nasty item of invention.

But we had to pass it to get to the Ferryman's Seat.
It is very narrow, and was quite a challenge to wedge this rear end into it.

There was a play on at The Globe so we could not get a look around, but we did see this keen theatre goer dressed for the occasion....

Southwark Cathedral was next. It wasn't going to be, but the choir was rehearsing so we trooped in to listen. It was great. Made even more appealing by a very keen volunteer who asked if we liked a bit of gossip - er, yes!! and she proceeded to go into gory detail about the true blood line of the Tudors... what a raunchy lot they were...

William Shakespeare and the Shakespeare window above him depicting characters from his plays and the seven stages of man.  

This brought us to our final spot, the Old Operating Theatre Museum. For this bunch of Medical Secretaries it was just fabulous. Up in the bell tower of a church, there are some horrificly fascinating medical instruments, pictures and stories. Each of us have our own Consultant (well they have us if the truth be told....) and it was amazing to read that the surgeons of old had 'Dressers' who prepared the patient's details, gathered information about their condition and generally ran around after the surgeon. Not much has changed.

Dinner was in The George. The last galleried coaching house in London. Great food, great atmosphere, fast fast service. An excellent way to end a wonderful day out.

A very big thank you to Juliet - it would never have happened without all your hard work and planning.

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