After several years of queueing to get into Queensgate we finally parked the car and headed for the cathedral. The instant we stepped into the streets of the old town sleet began to fall. It bucketed down, piling into drifts, making the cobbles slippery and running down necks. We joined a bunch of other pedestrians in the old rotunda, where the local dixieland jazz quartet were playing. The band had a captive audience until the sleet turned into merely drenching rain, whereupon everyone then bolted for the shelter of the shops around the square, or at least away from the band.
A few minutes later we were standing in front of massive cast-iron heaters in the cathedral, being told by the nice lady that if I wanted to take photos then I had to buy a permit for £1.50. I did, so I did.
The cathedral is built of pale yellow stone, first in a Norman style, added to in the Plantangenet style, and finally the new wing was added in the early 1500s in the Perpendicular style with fan vaulting. It also has a maginifcent wooden ceiling running the lenth of the nave. There is almost no stained glass so it feels light and open when the sun shone, which it did briefly. Cromwell's soldiers removed the stained glass in 1643.
On the way home Steve and I decided to show Aaron The Fens.
We saw The Fens.
Then it was in to St Ives to see the ancient bridge, and back home to Offord Darcy for a massive dinner at The Horseshoe. I had a lamb shank washed down with Abbots, a yummy bitter.
Today we headed back into London and used our trusty map of the tube (left) to get to Greenwich Observatory using the Docklands Light Railway, an automated, driverless train. We walked up to the Observatory and spent quite a lot of time standing on the Greenwich Meridian, looking at huge quadrants, sextants and octants, ancient clocks and large, old telescopes. The gift shop had an excellent collection of time-pieces for sale; hour glasses, minute glasses, 3-minute glasses, rolling ball clocks, 24 hour clocks, and small compasses and sextants in brass. BRASS! SHINEY! SHINEY BRASS! I really, really really wanted one, but at 160 quid it made my wallet cry. Outside I felt a little peckish and wanted to buy a "Park Pork Free Range Sausage" but it would take too long to cook, so we dropped in to the Pavillion for sandwiches and tea. I had brie and rocket on brown bread, with really hot English Breakfast Tea. Outside once again to walk down to Cutty Sark, and I was instantly mugged by squirrels who wanted my Burt's Hand Cooked Crisps.
The Cutty Sark is an old tea clipper in permanant dry dock. I think that ship still holds the record time for the Sydney to London run. What a wonderful old ship she is!
Then it was back to the DLR for a quick trip to Canery Wharf ("Mudchute" has got to be the best name ever for a railway station) then by Jubilee Line to Waterloo Station. We had considered getting a sight-seeing tour but it was getting cold and dark. People were still queueing or the London Eye and there was no way Steve would get in there anyway, so we caught a tour boat back to Tower Hill, and had to walk to Aldgate because the tube at Tower was closed. Something was going on at Kings Cross that attracted an unusualy large number of Police and regular security announcements, but we never discovered what it was.
Tomorrow is our last full day. I'll probably do a little of Cambridge. Aaron wants another Day In to get ready for the flight. Silly boy.