Tuesday, August 30–London

Laundry again; St Jude's church/St Mellitus College; St Augustine's/Queen's Gate Holy Trinity Brompton; Christ Church Chelsea; the church of Our Most Holy Redeemer & St Thomas More; Chelsea Methodist church; past the Saatchi Gallery; Holy Trinity & St Saviour Upper Chelsea church; Hello Fresh; by Tube from Sloane Square back home; a pint at the Stanhope Arms; confusion about the packages I'd sent home from Edinburgh;

Best Western Cromwell



I felt a good bit better today if not quite back to normal and managed to get to most of the places I thought I'd go to last night, if not to all of them, and walked to most of them.

I woke up around 7 AM this morning, even before my alarm clock which I'd set for 7:30 so I could drop another load of dirty clothes off at the reception desk before 8. Last night I thought this morning I'd just throw on some clean clothes and shoes, drop off the laundry, have breakfast, then come back up here to shave and shower. I actually was awake early enough to shave and shower before taking my laundry downstairs. I did have breakfast here and remembered to skip the sausages which seemed to give me indigestion the last time I had them. I had mushrooms, scrambled eggs, and the hash browns that are like what Arby's calls potato cakes.

I then came back up here for a couple of hours since I didn't want to leave too much before noon since I had no other plans for today.

This morning I took a look at my reservation from London to Paris on the Eurostar on Thursday September 8th and discovered that with the ticket I'd bought I can only bring two suitcases and one carry on and I have two suitcases, my hat box and my pack and thought I'd have to pay extra to have one of my bags shipped until just now when I realized that I have enough room in both of my suitcases to put my pack and all the stuff I was going to put in it into the suitcases instead of carrying it, which gets me down to the required two suitcases and one carry on. It isn't that much more expensive to travel Standard Premier instead of plain old Standard class so that's what I booked when I bought the ticket back in March.

I also wanted to go over my list of what churches were where between here and the Chelsea Physic Garden. It turns out that Google Maps needs to update their databases since they list at least a couple of the churches I was looking up either as still active churches when they're not or with their old names. I also found at least one lovely church I hadn't even thought of. Not all of the churches were open for visiting, including at least one whose sign out front said it should have been. I went into the ones that were open.

I'd actually been to the first church I wanted to go to today earlier this week but wasn't sure until I got there again today. Google Maps lists the church as being one called St Jude's but when I had been there earlier I didn't see a sign for St Jude's but instead saw a sign on the door that identified it as being St Mellitus College. When I checked the web site for St Mellitus after I got back here I learned that St Mellitus is the local divinity school for the Anglican church, and indeed is in a building that used to be St Jude's church.

The next church was listed on Google Maps as being St Augustine's church which it might have been at one time, but is now actually the Queen's Gate location of the four church Holy Trinity Brompton. I went to at least a couple of the other locations when I was here in London last year. This one seems to be only open for services on Sunday.

The next church I wanted to go to, the Christ Church Chelsea branch of St Luke's/Christ Church (I forgot all about St Luke's which is also supposed to be quite lovely) was almost a 25 minute walk away. Although I was feeling much better today than I have been I still don't quite feel back to what passes for normal for me, and was still just a tiny bit dizzier than I liked, just a barely noticeable level. I took a cab instead of walking there. So much for all London cabbies supposedly knowing everything–this one wasn't sure where the Christ Church Chelsea was and actually drove past it and around the corner. I had seen the sign on the church as we went past, and had him stop. This is another of the churches that was closed.

I also found the older church of Our Most Holy Redeemer & St Thomas More. The front door was unlocked but the gate to the very lovely sanctuary was locked. I was still able to take some pictures of the interior through the gate, though.

I was then going to walk on over to Chelsea Old Church but it was only about 1:15 PM and the church didn't open for visiting until 2 so I was going to walk over to the Chelsea Physic Garden and then go back to the Old Church. I hadn't seen any place I really felt like having lunch but was passing a Boots and popped in to pick up a Slimfast which I had instead, and of course a couple of blocks later saw several places that looked quite nice.

Along the way I saw a lovely older building that said it was the Chelsea Methodist church. When I went in I saw that although the Methodists might have originally owned and used the whole building they currently only use a very small part of the ground floor.

One of my knees was giving me a little bit of trouble so I decided I wouldn't walk all the way over to the Chelsea Physic Garden and kept seeing signs that the Sloane Square Tube station was further along the way I was heading. I had already looked up how to get back here from Battersea Park and the Pump House Gallery and knew that I'd have to walk from the park or take a bus across the Thames to Sloane Square and then take the Circle train back to Gloucester Road so I decided to take the Tube back.

Right before Sloane Square is the Saatchi Gallery which I sort of knew about but didn't remember what was going on there. I was going to go in when I noticed a sign saying that you had to buy a ticket to visit the Gallery, and was going to buy a ticket when I saw another sign saying the entire Gallery was taken up by an exhibit about the Rolling Stones whom I've never been a fan of.

Right past the Saatchi Gallery was the wonderfully decorative and lovely church of Holy Trinity & St Saviour Upper Chelsea. This is one of my favorite churches I've been to, and not just here in London. The church apparently is best known for its connections with the Arts & Crafts movement. Here's an excellent site about that, with a long list of Arts & Crafts decorative elements none of which I actually looked for.

I had to start laughing as I was going into the Sloane Square Tube station because there were some representatives from the local branch of Hello Fresh. I was laughing because I've been a Hello Fresh customer for quite a while back home, and had to have them hold my food shipments until after I get home, and chatted with the reps for a couple of minutes before heading in and downstairs to catch my train.

When I got back here to Gloucester Road I was delighted to see that there were actually free smaller tables in the Stanhope Arms across the street, so I went in for a very nice pint before coming back to my room. The Arms are part of the much larger Taylor Walker pub chain and I've been to others of their pubs here in London and in Scotland.

Throughout the day I was having what's become my usual problems accessing Google Maps here on my Irish Android smart phone, which means I've been incurring the obscenely and absurdly high roaming charges Verizon charges me for using the maps apps on my home iPhone which has been my only alternative while wandering around. I called Vodafone IE again after I got back and once again said I'd been trying since August 2nd to get the code to unlock the phone I'd bought at a Vodafone store while in Ireland, and was once again told they'd have to contact the actual manufacturer of the phone and get back to me. I got so angry that I went online and ordered a sim-free, already unlocked smart phone which will be delivered here to my hotel on Thursday. Even if I'll have to buy a UK sim card and pay for a month's use even though I'm only here for another week, and will have to do the same when I get to Paris, that'll still be much cheaper than what Verizon has been charging me and the 2 Euros Vodafone IE has been charging me daily except for when I call them and get them to credit back part of it.

I also checked my emails and saw one from Fed Ex that the packages I had sent from Edinburgh were refused back in Florida. I checked the address they were to be delivered to on the email from Fed Ex and decided I'd better call my neighbor Michael and ask him what was going on and check his address, and the guy at the Rose Street Mailboxes Etc back in Edinburgh had misread and then mistyped Michael's address. I used my home iPhone to call Fed Ex and was told that since the Rose Street Mailboxes Etc were the shippers of record they need to call Fed Ex International and give them the right address. They were of course closed by then but I left a voice mail and sent an email explaining the situation and giving them Michael's correct address. I hope to hear from them tomorrow.

I still plan on going back to the National Army Museum, the Chelsea Physic Garden, Chelsea Old Church, and then across the Thames to the Peace Pagoda and the Pump House Gallery but not tomorrow.

Although I haven't been able to find much information about it, there's an organ program at Westminster Cathedral at 7:30 PM tomorrow and one of my goals for this whole trip is to here some organ music in churches here in London and in Paris.

I decided I'd take the boat from Westminster Pier to Hampton Court Palace. I noticed that buying a ticket online saves a bit, so I did. I'll still have to stop by the ticket office to get an actual ticket but I won't have to queue in the line to buy one.

I've been planning on getting out on the Thames at least once while I'm here, either to Hampton Court which I didn't do last year or to Greenwich again. Maybe I'll still go to Kew Gardens and Greenwich next week before I leave here next Thursday.

The morning boats to Hampton Court leave Westminster Pier at 11 AM and 12 PM. I'm not sure how long the whole trip takes but I do know the last boat back to Westminster Pier leaves Hampton Court at 4 PM. I could take the train back but that seems a lot more complicated than just getting back on another boat, with walking to the Hampton Court train station, taking one train to Clapham Junction to transfer to a second train to get to Victoria Station back here in London. If the weather's good tomorrow I'll just take the boat both ways.

And it's still before midnight. I hope to get to sleep earlier tonight than I've been doing, and I can sleep in later than I did this morning. Getting up about 8:30 will give me more than enough time to take a shower, get dressed, have a Slimfast for breakfast, and get across the street to the Tube station and get to the Westminster Tube station which is right at the pier well before the 11 AM sailing to allow as much time at Hampton Court as possible.

Return to journal