“London, thou art the flower of Cities all” – William Dunbar
From his poem, In Honour of the City of London
August was a great month. Without even getting to Europe yet, there are more England adventures to share. So. Flash forward to August 24. I met a lovely neighbour, we’ll call her Miss D. We chatted outside one day, and then Troy and I had Miss D over for dinner not long after that. We fell into comfortable conversation with lots of laughter and some famous British Banter (that’s code for teasing. And if someone is too polite in a social situation, it may well mean they don’t really like you). We got on so well that she and I decided we would go over to Lewisham to do some shopping. We did our shopping, enjoying a light breakfast at Dunelm’s, a local store. At the cafe there, I asked for a London Fog, and ironically Londoner’s have no clue what I’m referring to! The cafe worker, Miss D, and I all got a good laugh out of that.
On our way back, we stopped in Greenwich. Have I mentioned how many idyllic places there are in Greenwich for a walk? This 2009 article lists just a few examples. It’s so perfectly British (I wrote more about experiencing the park in my last post), and having just been there a couple of weeks prior, I was excited to wander there again. We started out with a glass of wine from the grocery store, as you do.
It gave us some energy for our first stop: the Greenwich Discovery Centre. It is an interactive centre and it’s AMAZING! We had such fun recreating tile patterns with puzzle pieces, and then pretending we were following in the footsteps of Christopher Wren (read more about his work here), and trying on some armour replicas. They were heavy! Maybe one day I’ll get to return here with a class. For this day though, Miss D and I were happy to be the kids.
Next, we walked across to the old Naval College. What Troy and I didn’t yet know when we overlooked the beautiful grounds is that the Naval College had long ago relocated, and some of these buildings are now open to the public! We wandered the lovely chapel, with its surprising hints of pink and blue in the design. And then, into the Painted Hall. I was completely taken aback as I had no clue what was going to greet me when I stepped inside. I was hesitant about sharing a picture, because it’s truly an image you must see in person to appreciate, but this is really just a taste. The interior is painted from top to bottom and the detail is beyond description.
The painting on the ceiling is the largest single painting in all of Europe, and it is really something to behold. This year, a 3-year restoration process is set to begin. Soon, scaffolding will start going up and there will be times it is closed to the public, for how long I’m not sure. Really, you must try to see it if you ever come here!
We ended the day with a drink at a pub in Greenwich. I’m not much of a drinker and I haven’t talked about it yet, but the cider here is quite incredible. 128 also happened to be the ONLY empty table in the entire pub. And not even entirely empty: one girl was sitting on the other side, and she welcomed us to join her and take a seat. Some of you know the story of the 1128/128s. The short version is that it’s Jessica’s hello to me. I have seen one or both of these numbers every single day since she passed, for almost 7 years now. It always feels like a sign that I’m on the right track. At any rate, I tried the Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime. I’ve decided I’m quite a fan of most things Elderflower, and this was no exception. Fruity and light, with a bit of zip from the lime, it was the perfect drink to enjoy at the end of our adventure. With countless brands and flavours of cider to choose from, I’m sure your perfect beverage awaits! Just one more reason to visit England, if you needed yet another. 😉