Went to London to visit the Golden Hinde and on the way to Drake's ship we came across Southwark Cathedral. I've walked past it a gazillion times but never been in. It's really good with lots of 13th Century architecture, a memorial to those who died on the Marchioness (including Lawrence Dallaglio's sister), more gold and marble than you can shake a heathen at and a gift shop that sells whisky marmalade! Highly recommended.
The Golden Hinde was fabulous, a replica of the ship on which Drake circumnavigated the world in the 16th century and St Trinians circumnavigated David Tennant in the 21st Century. What's striking is just how small the ship is, especially given its sizable crew and the fact it must have carried a shedload of supplies, powder and shot. The gun deck was only about four feet high and took several notches out of my skull. There were far more guns than there were gunports but I suppose some were for casual and some for best. Standing at the helm is quite inspiring and I spent a good half hour pretending to be a fearless sailor rounding Cape Horn and routing the Spaniards. I was magnificent!
Went in the Clink, the museum of the prison that used to belong to the Bishop of Winchester (who also ran all the brothels in the area for a tidy profit! Obviously he'd never actually read the Bible...) I've been before but it's always worth a visit with its straw strewn floor, screeches of terror soundtrack, fluffy fake rats and nice line in rusty torture devices. Kids love it!
Onwards to the Tate Modern and after a couple of floors of absolute pants we left without seeing the rest. Honestly, I may be a complete philistine, but a giant green canvas with a daub of yellow in the corner that represents opposition to fascist ideals is not only a load of nonsense, it isn't in any way good to look at. What's the point of a painting if you're not supposed to look at it, especially as you have to have it explained to you by the blurb at the side? I've got this theory actually: in future centuries people will look back on this period of art and dub it 'The Mockist Period' when a lot of clever people battled with each other to get the art world to pay ever higher sums for ever more outrageous nonsense, just to see how far they could go. By the evidence of the Tate Modern, they can go a lot further yet! One of the paintings even had a blurb saying that it was trying to inform the viewer that women are attractive. Thank goodness art is not afraid to tackle controversial issues! Who could have come to that conclusion otherwise? We'd be reduced to asking teenage schoolboys!
Off to the National Army Museum tomorrow to look at the history of the British Army subjugating other nations in the name of freedom, democracy, civilisation, Chrisitianity and cold, hard cash. Gawd bless 'em, ma'am!
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