Friday, January 20, 2012

"London Jottings - 2"

Today… *

(* Actually, it was three-and-a-half weeks ago, but I want it to feel current.)

The first place we stayed in was an apartment in a complex called “The King’s Wardrobe”, a structure that dates back to the time of Henry VIII (1491-1547). I found a ruffled collar in the closet. It had his nametag on it. I guess he took it to camp.

Actually, that last part, though possibly humorous, is not chronologically possible, because the original “King’s Wardrobe” (and presumably its contents, including discarded ruffled collars) burned down during the great London fire of 1666. You probably read about it. It was in all the folios. The structure we’re staying in is the replacement, which a stone-carved plaque outside tells us was constructed in 1667.

Think about that for a moment.

“The King’s Wardrobe” was there before 1667. A long time before, specifically whenever Henry VIII got tired of dressing outside and said, “I need a wardrobe. The peasants are seeing me naked.”

That wardrobe went up in flames in 1666. And in 1667, they carted away the rubble, and they put up another “King’s Wardrobe” where the first “King’s Wardrobe” originally stood.

I find this amazing, don’t you? 1667 was a long time ago. In 1667, America was still “Indians Only!” No buildings at all. Longhouses and wikiups. But nothing with stairs.

Yet, at that very same time, in the city of London, they were building things

For the second time!

Do you get what I’m telling you here?

This is a really old place!

And that’s why I love it.

Nearby Points of Interest

“The King’s Wardrobe”, or as they called it in 1667, “The New King’s Wardrobe” is located less than a hundred yards away from St. Paul’s Cathedral, made famous as the imposing backdrop for the “Feed The Birds” song from Mary Poppins. (Though others may have different associations with it. )

Along with its magnificent signature dome, St, Paul’s also boasts a bonging, reverberating clock, which chimes every fifteen minutes, as well as on the hour.

The noise never bothered us, as we have our own a bonging clock in our living room. This one’s just a thousand times louder.

A recent addition to the location is what they call, a “Tent City”, London’s incarnation of the “Occupy” movement. Dozens of tents have been set up just praying distance from the venerated cathedral. As far as I could glean, “Tent City” is there, because St. Paul’s is adjacent to London’s financial district. And also, because there was space available to put up some tents.

There was understandably quite to-do about dozens of protesters camping out right next to one of the most hallowed cathedrals in the world. The outraged faithful wanted them out of there.

And then, the archbishop of I don’t know what but he’s big, stepped up and said something like,

“I’m no expert on religion, or anything…no, wait, I am. And I think we’re supposed to be on their side.”

So there they remain. It certainly can’t be easy for them. It’s winter. It’s rainy. And they’re sleeping ten feet away from that big noisy clock.

On the Slightly Lighter Side…

Read in a major London newspaper…

Police are hunting thieves who stole thirty-eight budgies from a private aviary. Said Mark Allison, a care assistant from Hessle, East Yorkshire,

“I’m worried about them. If they’re not fed properly, they’ll get ill.”


Johnny Walker said...

Haha. Very enjoyable to hear your impressions of our fair city. I've never heard of "The King's Wardrobe" and so had to look it up.

Did you visit the London Museum? It was right near where you stayed. If you ever wanted to get an idea of how ridiculous the hysteria surrounding US politics can get, I find a visit to there does the job nicely: A city that's seen famine, fire, disease, war -- a few times over -- and still going strong is a good reminder that America is here to stay... No matter who is in power, or who they go to war with, or whether their heathcare system is privatized.

Politics: If you're not bored, you're not doing it right.

Zaraya said...

Dear Mr. Pomerantz; you find the humour in everything. I look forward to reading about your trip in the days to come.


Dion & the Belmont said...

1667. Isn't that the last time the Leafs won the SC?