Friday, 29 June 2012

Another journey to London

A happy but tiring day in London yesterday, to attend Fr Hunwicke’s First Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Slept very badly, which meant I was already up and about before my alarm clock was due to go off. Taxi to the station, then by train to London Paddington. Crowded: long queues for tickets in the Underground.

The day was already very warm as I made my way from South Kensington Tube station to the nearby Brompton Oratory. Dark and somewhat cooler in the big Baroque church.

Fr Hunwicke’s Mass was not at the High Altar, but at the Lady Altar. This made the occasion more intimate because we were closer to the celebrant, even though we had to face sideways in our chairs.

A modest, dignified Low Mass. I love the straightforwardness of this form of the Holy Sacrifice.

After the Mass we were able to kneel at the sanctuary rail of the High Altar and receive Father Hunwicke’s First Blessing. A great joy. I can’t remember ever having received this before.

There were one or two faces I recognised, but none I could put a name to, except for Fr Blake of Brighton. He has blogged about the event here.

I left the building and walked the short distance to the Victoria & Albert Museum. At that moment, five Royal Air Force jets in close formation – Tornadoes, I guessed –roared fast and low along the length of the street. I remembered that the Bomber Command memorial was being opened, and supposed they were connected with that. Today’s paper has confirmed that they were indeed Tornadoes.

Lunch in a very busy V&A, then a look round the 20th century costume exhibits. I love fabrics and was very interested in the cut of the clothes.

There was still a good deal of time before I needed to go back to Paddington for my homeward train. I thought of walking up to Hyde Park to see the Albert memorial and the Royal Albert Hall; but with every step in the humid heat I felt more and more tired, and more conscious that each step would have to be duplicated for the return. And so I turned back, and trudged to the tube station.

The first train was very full. Two buskers with fiddle and guitar were plying their trade amidst the scrum. I decided to try another train, and got off at the next station. So did the buskers. They struck up again, but I think they were only rehearsing. There were few people on the platforms, and the station was cool, which I appreciated.

I arrived at Paddington with an hour and a half to spare. The time went surprisingly quickly. Saw an elderly man, very smart and upright, with a row of medals on his jacket. He must have been to the opening of the memorial. I think I recognised him in the newspaper picture this morning.

My reserved seat on the return journey was in the only carriage on the train in which the air conditioning had broken down. What sort of luck is that? I endured it until the train had disgorged the greater part of its passengers, and then moved to find somewhere cooler.

Taxi home from the station, and it was a long time since I had felt so exhausted, what with the bad night and the heat. Slept for nine and a half hours last night, and I needed every minute of it.

1 comment:

Richard Collins said...

I like London....but for about the same period of time.