I’m sitting writing this at the beginning of September, which means a lot of change has happened in recent weeks. The school has come back after the summer holiday, there are new children, and the rest have all moved up a year. My friend, flat-mate and colleague of the last year, Andreas Wenzel has moved out of the flat, and shall very soon be moving on to Leeds where he will study Arabic and Islamic studies for a year while he discerns his calling to the Priesthood with the Diocese in Europe. We marked the coming to an end of our time together at Saint Matthew’s with a meal out, just the two of us. We decided to go someone a bit more extravagant than we normally would, and went to The Wolseley Restaurant in Piccadilly-it’s a bit expensive, but worth every penny. My current flat-mate and colleague is now Chris Minchin, who arrived the first weekend in September, from his native Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
August, as is usual in most places I imagine has been quieter than usual. I’ve had a few tours about after I came back to London after going to the family wedding in Nottinghamshire. We had a very nice trip on the River to Greenwich. The Thames Clipper sails down the river, and gives a very nice view of things as you do by. We saw the painted hall at the National Maritime Museum, and the Chapel Royal there, which are both beautiful and certainly worth seeing, before heading off to find somewhere for tea.
Bank holiday weekend brought with it plenty to do. It was the weekend of the Notting Hill Carnival, which I’ve heard about and seen on the television, but this year I thought I’d attempt a look. I went on Sunday afternoon and saw some of the floats go by, and saw the sights and smelled the smells of the Carnival. It was an interesting experience-especially the parts when you come to such a crowded street its just like being in a rugby scrum! I decided a visit on the Sunday was enough, despite that just being the starting of it, supposedly the “child’s day” with Monday expected to be even busier!
On bank holiday Monday at the end of August I went off to Hampton Court Palace. After I preached the sermon on the 20th of August, Hilary the church warden asked me if I’d prepare something on the King James Bible for the house group to mark the 400th anniversary of its publication. I hadn’t thought about it at the time, but once I’d arrived at Hampton Court Palace I realised that it was there in 1604 that King James I held the conference that began the translating of the scriptures that led to the publication of the Authorised Version in 1611.
Hampton Court Palace is a lovely red brick structure, surrounded by the best gardens. The website says to allow at least 3 hours for your visit, and they weren’t joking. I was there for almost 6 hours wandering round looking. The apartments are really good to see, and to think of the historical figures that have lived there and worked there. I started with Henry VIII’s part, and then moved on to King William III and Mary II’s apartments. The Chapel Royal which is there, where services still take place, is exquisite. A beautiful chapel, quite a thought to think that Henry VIII went to Mass in there.
The great Tudor kitchens were fascinating, and there was even an activity on for children so they could sit and eat like a Tudor-without a fork as they hadn’t been invented yet! One interesting thing in there, alongside everything else that was going is left over from when Hampton Court Palace was divided up into “grace and favour apartments.” One of them belonged to Lady Baden-Powell. As it happens, the same Victorian cast-iron range that was in the kitchen of her apartment is still there, in what was and has been returned to the Tudor kitchens. Alongside everything else that I saw that was connected with many monarchs of this country, I looked the range that Lady Baden-Powell’s dinner was cooked on until about 1970.
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.