Monday, 26th June, 2023

Today we returned "our" car to Avis near Heathrow Airport. Satoshi found what I thought looked like an unpromising car wash so that we could return the car in a clean state. I was astounded that it cost only £15 (about $30) for a very thorough hand wash on the outside and an equally thorough dust and vacuum on the inside. The car was sparkling!

What huge breakfasts - cheap and quite tasty too!

It took almost 90 minutes to drive to Avis, near Heathrow. Apart from forgetting to provide a full tank of petrol (for which we were charged £43), everything went smoothly. The process was simple, and the staff friendly. I would certainly be happy to use Avis for car rental in the future. I'm not used to being without a car so I had a slight sense of insecurity.An Avis courtesy bus took us to Terminal 4 at Heathrow, where we got an Elizabeth Line train into London. We headed towards Westminster Abbey. Right next to the abbey is St Margaret's Church, often called "the parish church of the House of Commons". As it was open, we ventured inside.

The west window commemorates Sir Walter Raleigh (1152-1618), whose voyages of exploration in the reign of Elizabeth I led to the establishment of Virginia, one of the earliest settlements in America.

Elizabeth I (detail of above)

St Michael

Christ helping St Peter when he began to doubt when walking on the water

King David



The five photo above show scenes form John Milton's "Paradise Lost". His marriage to his second wife took place in this church in 1656.

We were two of the last people to enter Westmister Abbey for visiting today. There were many other people there and it felt quite crowded. As we moved through the building, along a defined route, the vergers were following, closing each section after us. Although we saw all the public areas of the abbey, there wasn't enough time to explore thoroughly so we resolved to visit again if we can find the time.

There are so many memorials and tombs in the Abbey that parts of it feel more like a mausoleum than a church. On the other hand, it was quite moving to find the memorials to many people, especially composers, whom I have "known" for years!

Henry Purcell is buried in the north aisle.

Samuel Arnold

William Croft (who wrote, among much other music, the hymn tune "St Anne", sung to the hymn "O God Our Help in Ages Past")

Charles Villiers Stanford, my favourite composer of church music!

The Grave of the Unknown Warrior, near the West Door

The Nave Altar with the Quire Screen behind it

The Quire

The Stall of the High Commissioner of Australia

Detail of above

Another view of the Quire

Looking up into the central tower

The Pulpit

The Lectern

This section of the abbey dates to the 13th century.

This monument shows Lady Elizabeth Nightingale (1704-31), who died in childbirth, being protected by her husband from the skeletal figure of death emerging from a tomb.

The fan vaulting of the chapel in which Elizabeth I and her sister, Mary I, are buried.

The tomb mentioned above

Elizabeth I

The tomb of Princess Sophia, youngest daughter of James I. She lived only one day.

There is a mirror set up so that one can see the other side of the tomb above. It is quite touching.

The Lady Chapel of Henry VII, begun in 1503 and consecrated in 1516. It is now used as the chapel of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.

Note the wonderful fan vaulting!

This 14th century painting of Richard II is the earliest portrait of an English Sovereign

One advantage of being near the end of the line of visitors was we could be first in line for Evensong. We were able to sit in the Quire, very close the the choir. Only the lay clerks (men) of the choir were singing. The introit was "O Nata Lux" by Piers Connor Kennedy (b. 1991), plainsong responses, Psalms 142 and 143 (plainsong chants), the Magnificat was "Magnificat quinti toni" by Hans Leo Hassler (c.1564-1612) and the Nunc Dimittis was sung to plainsong. The anthem was "The Lord Bless Us and Keep Us" by Robert White (c.1538-1574), the organist of the Abbey from 1570-1574. All of the music was sung to a very high standard. Again, there was a large congregation, perhaps 200 strong.

We then made our way towards the Adelphi Theatre (via McDonald's) for a performance of the musical "Back to the Future". Once again, it was very loud but this time the diction was good, so all the words could be heard clearly. It was a very entertaining show and the special effects, particularly those relating to the car, we amazing.

The view from or balcony when we got "home".

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