London, Out and About

Old Churches – they’re just not my thang…

I’ve been playing tourist with my lovely mother-in-law over the past few weeks and I’ve been loving it for the most part, honest!

Living in a city (especially when at times it’s begrudgingly) means you don’t always see it through tourist-eyes and you may even go as far as to avoid the tourist traps, after all you live here why put yourself through the horror of camera hugging crowds in tourist season?

Briefly off on a tangent here but for those who’ve never lived in a big city those moments of begrudging “I gotta move out of this city” normally follow incidents such as;  stubbing my toe on hubby’s bane-of-my-existence bike in its home at the bottom of the stairs.  This is normally done whilst hauling the basket of never-ending washing from the puny bathroom upstairs down to the okay sized if it were only used as a kitchen where the washing machine lives beside the rubbish bin, dishwasher and refrigerator.  Some days I’d sell a kidney for a utility/laundry room!

Anywho!  Being the good sport I am (hardy har har) after viewing the first old and dusty “spectacularly steeped in history” cathedral and discovering that in fact old churches in England smell a lot like the stinky old churches of my childhood, I needed bribes to see another.  I’m a simple gal, screw briefcases full of money and diamond rings I’ll sell my soul for a large slice of cake and hazelnutty coffee.  With the promise of food I trundled along to the next church with a grimace smile on my face.

I will admit that some of the architecture is gob-smackingly amazing and I do love the history aspect of these buildings but honestly when you go in and all the info is about the old guys buried in the crypt below and throne/chairs and what-not that important people sat atop, it gets old for me…very quickly.  The shrine’s to the Virgin Mary and other figures don’t do it for me either.  A lot of them were dusty old tapestries thrown over a table with a stain glass window behind.

I do think stained glass windows are pretty spectacular so I’ll give them that.  Maybe it’s that these were still functioning churches with the bottom numbing chairs and hymn books on display and a somber and quiet atmosphere as you walked about the place.

I think I’d have been far more impressed if you’d been allowed down to the crypt below.  Even better if someone dressed as the grim reaper jumped out at unsuspecting visitors.  The musty church smell would really work with a few haunted house themed activities, maybe give it go guys?  Might up the donations!

Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral

2 thoughts on “Old Churches – they’re just not my thang…”

  1. Ok, I’ll keep this in mind when I come over not to invite you come with me to the umpteen different cathedrals and churches I want to see. But what staggers me is the age of these buildings! Some have been around FOR-EVER! Couple hundred years??? And they’re still standing??? Amazing! I guess I have to admit that things in my area are ho hum as well but to a visitor may seem “WOW”. Seen one, seen them all. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

    Just make sure you take me a a place with the best fish and chips, ok?


  2. You can drag me along to museum’s and just about anything but cathedrals Irene 😛 Unless of course these cathedrals come with cake, lots and lots of cake.

    It does blow you away the age of these buildings and their long history. One of my favourite’s when we lived further north was Kenilworth Castle (built in 1575). Warwick Castle was good too! I love the heck out of castles! I can picture men on the walls watching for invaders, bows drawn. I can imagine the royalty in their chambers and the peasants in the courtyard. The washer women washing all that linen by hand and the constant activity in the kitchens with a tubby cook in charge. I can imagine how they lived their lives as I wander around. Last summer we visited a ruined castle (Hadleigh Castle) and Dover Castle (above the white cliffs of Dover) and I enjoyed them all..

    Maybe I’ve just been spoilt with the castles? and churches are a bit bland in comparison?

    Might I add though that I haven’t been inside Saint Paul’s Cathedral as they had some kind of special service on when we were there and we weren’t allowed inside (we were going to climb the stairs to the dome) so maybe it would sway me. The outside and the grounds were nice but not thrilling. I’ll report back when I’ve been inside.

    I can definitely take you to a good fish and chipper Irene! A pub Sunday Roast is a must and a good Kebab place…very important to the Brits.


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