23 July, 2007

Sunday lunch

up to the uncharted wastes north of the river yesterday for lunch with newly-wedded Journalista and her hubby. Trains from Barnes Bridge are only one an hour on Sundays so had to take bus into Hammersmith.

I was ahead of husband and kids as thought I would try the morning service at St James Piccadilly. Church itself is lovely - nice to be able to see the buses going by on Piccadilly on a beautiful sunny morning as we sat inside the church. They had no choir, but they did have a cantor who took the trouble to take the congregation through one of the unfamiliar hymns, before the service kicked off. St James itself, however, is extremely well-meaning upper-middle-class Lord Longford-style liberal, which meant the whole service was jam-packed full of "giving the peace" opportunities - they were hell-bent on getting us to commune with each other. Now I may be only a durn furriner, but is this mania for communication really what one looks for in the Church of England? If I wanted to commune with my fellow Christians, I would have joined a more evangelical church. To take communion you have to proceed to the altar while singing some kind of response in what I take to be an African language, the only word of which I understood was Amen. Frankly, I am not about to chant anything I don't understand - for all I know it could have been an exhortation to devote our souls to Satan and all his little minions.

Anyway, post service, up to Canonbury. Got as far as Highbury and Islington, only to find there were no trains running to Canonbury. No A to Z, so I took a bus going vaguely in the right direction. Does this bus go anywhere near Canonbury station, I asked the bus driver. It goes to Dalston Kingsland, he said. I know, I said, but does it go past Canonbury station. It goes to Dalston Kingsland, he repeated, shutting the door on me, so that I couldn't get off the bus. So I stayed on until I guessed I'd gone far enough, and then made my way on foot to Canonbury, using the handy maps that they post in the bus-shelters. It turned out that Canonbury station was so near to Highbury + Islington, that I could have walked it. I don't know why I would have expected the bus driver to be able to tell me this, or in fact to be able to do anything but repeat "Dalston Kingsland" like an automaton. Somehow I had assumed that if you have to drive the same route everyday, you would start to acquire some knowledge about the route, out of sheer boredom, if nothing else.

Journalista's flat is very nice - high ceilings, those folding shutters that seem to be ubiquitous in North London houses, and gardens with low walls, which makes the canyon between the backs of the houses seem strangely rural. Food was figs with parmesan and rocket, roast pork and apples with excellent roasters and Savoy cabbage (but no gravy - how can this be?), rhubarb crumble, cream and summer fruits. Cider, Pimms and Prosecco for beverages (but not all in the same glass).

The newly-weds were very lovey-dovey. As we told the children afterwards, when you're first married, it's all "dearest heart" and "darling". When you've been married as long as we have, it's "Mr and Mrs Pants", and that's on a good day...


Blogger dgny said...

I took a bus the other day. I don't usually, somehow I've managed to wheedle my way in as having first dibs on the car. Anyway, I asked the driver if he went where I was going and he said yes, and on what street he turned away from where I was going. All very succinct, but friendly. What I thought interesting about the exchange was his ever so thick Scottish accent. Unexpected.

Lunch sounds lovely - all very sweet, quite like your newlyweds!

4:17 pm  
Blogger 962 said...

In days long gone before the market was as common as it is now (my God look at the countries they have let in) signs in France stopped at the border. If you were going to Brussels you had to head for the french equivalent of little uppington nether wallop which was in fact on the border. Nobody in France knew where or how to get to Brussels. I believe this was not ignorance as I have never found the French ignorant but an ingrained leftover from the days of the french resistance.
Maybe your bus driver was French. Or maybe he was a New York Taxi driver in disguise.
Peace be with you or as my old Christian freind used to say Shallom. I always felt that was a little too American and a single run around the pews trying to offer everybody in the church the peace in the shortest possible time was sufficient.

2:42 am  
Blogger dgny said...

I've just been reading about all the flooding in the UK. How is it you managed to get across the river? Why weren't you knee deep during lunch? The news makes it sound like all of England is under water.

3:50 am  
Blogger FBT said...

it's the old Blitz spirit. Stiff upper lip and all that - we're not going to let a little water get in the way of our lunch!

10:02 am  
Blogger 962 said...

Suggest the folks in Tewksbury may need a stiff upper lip unless they wish to partake of a few floating brown sausages

10:14 am  
Blogger Fumier said...

Ah, the old north-south divide.

4:22 am  

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