It is hard to believe I am sitting writing this article for the January magazine already! I have been here in London 3 months already-and I am finding it difficult to believe where the time has gone. The last week, I must confess, has not been a barrel of laughs: I spent it in bed suffering with bronchitis. I went off to the doctor in Denbigh Street on Tuesday with the worst hacking cough I’ve ever had.
As I climbed the stairs to his room I was coughing terribly, we spoke briefly when I went in, and whilst he went about his examining my chest with his stethoscope, he asked me was I new to London. I told him “Yes, 3 months ago.” His response amused me a little, and I must say doesn’t give a good advert for London: “That’ll be it,” replied the doctor, “It’ll be the smoggy London air, you’re not used to it yet.” So there is the cause of my getting bronchitis!
On a more cheery note, a dose of bronchitis isn’t all I’ve managed in the last month. I’ve been able to finally get a look into Harrods - where I encountered artificial snow which was quite amusing. The shop attendant tipped some into my hand, and it looked just like Persil non-bio. Then she added a little drop of water, and in a second it puffed up and resembles snow. It was cold to the touch, but you wouldn’t be able to make a snowball out of it. It did amuse me and the children who were all lined up with our hands out. I’ve also been for a walk one afternoon to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. The sights and smells of the German Christmas Markets there are wonderful. Apparently it has become an annual event. Also somewhere in the month, I’ve been to the Cadogan Hall, which is a concert hall that is in a former place of worship. We went to see the London Gay Men’s Chorus give their Christmas Concert. The other concert I’ve been to in the month was part of an event held by the Saint Nicholas Society. There was a drinks reception at Saint Matthew’s before the concert, and then we all went round to Saint John’s Smith Square, which is a former church that is now a concert hall, just a stone’s throw from here. The performance was of Holst’s Two Psalms, and then The Coming of Christ - which was the first time it had been heard in London. The second half was Benjamin Britten’s St Nicholas Cantata, which was very good.
My sister (Amanda) and her boyfriend (Philip) came to visit for a few days at the end of November, arriving Thursday until Monday. There is so much do and see in London, it was such a difficult decision to decide what to do. There was quite a bit of touring about the shopping streets of London, taking in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly. We went into Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly, and Amanda spent most of the time exclaiming “look at the price of that!” and naming shops where the same item could be bought cheaper. I did tell her that Fortnum and Mason products should even better, I’m sure, and some of them available no-where else! On the Saturday evening we went off to see The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus. It is a comedy show based on the film of the same name. I thought it was very good, especially the way that there are only 3 actors and an actress to play all of the parts! It is also the first theatre I’ve ever been in that you have to descend lots of stairs to get to the stalls!
All day on the Saturday of their visit, we spent our time at the Natural History Museum. It was the first time any of us had been, and we all found it very interesting. We spent over 6 hours there. The highlight of the visit though, was in the mineral part. Philip was a little ahead of me looking at the displays, and he came back to tell me he’s found something that someone from our part of the world would find interesting-a miner’s safety lamp that said “Ashington Colliery!”
© Andrew Crawford
Our pastoral assistant, Andrew, has been writing his "Andrew's Travels" column in his Parish magazine for three years. He continues to contribute and his current articles will be published here.