Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Somewhere Around Blackfriars

I was doing some research for a novel yesterday, walking around Blackfriars. I did not take a proper camera, just my replacement phone, and that turned out to not work very well. So I only have three photos. They are quite good, though.

Friends.

Back alleys.

Hard to read, but: St.Andrew-By-The-Wardrobe.
I walked into a number of small churches around there. They are quite hidden, squeezed in between buildings, sitting by the side of busy roads, waiting, promising peace and quiet, somehow. They may have very specific names, as if to make sure you don't walk into the wrong one, and often the thing they refer to is long gone, as in St-Andrews-By-The-Wardrobe (the king used to stash his clothes next door, apparently).
They are all open to people who just want to sit and think, and sometimes there is someone who is happy to answer questions.
I asked about everything I saw mentioned on the leaflets or on the signs balanced on cupboards or taped to the walls. "It says you have a pelican, where is the pelican?" I asked in one tiny church. "Ah, it's hidden," said the man with the "Friend" badge, opening a door to a stairwell. There, indeed, was a very detailed sculpture of a pelican, thrusting her beak into her chest to feed a clutch of chicks. The runnels of blood were neat white marble drops.
"Wow," I said.
"There are more spectacular ones", he said, "but this one is pretty good."

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