Sunday, January 04, 2004

London - Jan 3 - Evensong at St Paul's

Back across the Millenium Bridge. This was the suspension one that had to be hurriedly closed days after its opening in 2000 for 'adjustments' after it quickly exhibited resonance effects under the feet of several hundred people crossing it. Like there were no resonance issues generally with suspension bridges - think Tacoma Narrows for starters (it twisted itself to pieces in about 10 minutes during a moderate gale in the 1940's). Classic Brit engineering SNAFU. It's a nice bridge now though, after its de-bouncing treatment, and leads straight to St Paul's from TM.
We arrive at St Paul's at 5 pm - evensong is just starting, Hmm. This could become a habit. The tourists mill around all through the service, coming and going through the prayers, taking flash pictures (ushers try to stop this, but aren't everywhere). The service is very good: very inclusive (unlike the RC cathedral in Barcelona) with prayers offered (as in Salisbury) for victims and survivors of the Iran quake. A stirring organ voluntary at the end, with applause from the less aware tourists. St Paul's is under cleaning and reconstruction inside and out, so the glorious dome is visible in fragments only from inside. But it's a lovely tall, light-filled church, unlike (M feels) Westminster Abbey which was much more gloomy. And more obviously and obtrusively full of dead people to boot. Boot Hill, in fact. St Paul's is an absolute London landmark: it's dome shows up in the skyline everywhere (think, the river views in 'Love Actually'). Christopher Wren, the architect, has an epitaph which translates roughly as 'For my memorial, look around you' and it's still true 350 years later.

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