London sojourn update

Yesterday after Holy Mass at the little church on Maiden Lane near Covent Garden, a group of people met up at The Coal Hole, nearby on The Strand, for an extemp blognic.  Here are a few pics of the proceedings.

Those who were down in “the hole” itself were having serious political theory discussions.  When I popped in they were talking about Dante and De monarchia.  No, really.

That is my pint on the empty corner.  I was delighted to be drinking pints of Brains, which appealed to my inner zombie.

Here is one of the “share platters”.  I think His Hermeneuticalness offered this one.

That door at the back to the left goes down into the “hole”.

I really enjoy these gatherings.  It is nice to travel here and see the museums and events and sights, but the people I meet make these trips memorable and exceptional.

Changing gears, here, are a couple shots of something fun I saw yesterday from my perch over the square by the parish.

Some people were Swing dancing in the park. They had a boombox playing that great music from that era (I didn’t recognize the tunes but they were distinctly appropriate for the style of dancing).

I think this must have been a regular meeting. Some people drifted in and out. At the time I shot this one, there was only one couple dancing, but shortly before there were three, with a some on the sidelines chatting.

And, just for fun, here are a few pics from my trips to The Globe Theatre, the recreation of the “wooden O” of Shakespeare’s time not far at all from the original site.  I dearly love good and reasonable productions of the Bard’s plays, and the two I have seen were well done. You may also recall my posts for Talk Like Shakespeare Day.

Here was my view for The Taming Of The Shrew.  I walked up to the box office ten minutes before the play and got the dead center seat in the front row of the middle balcony.

The production was pretty bawdy, but, hey, TTOTS, is a pretty bawdy play.

My view for As You Like It, and I did.  The production was superb and put a smile on my face from beginning to after the end.  The company was well-rehearsed, since this was, as it turned out, their final performance.

As evening drew on, the character of the place changed.  This would not have been possible in Elizabethan times.  We need to remember what Holy Mass and baseball and Shakespeare were like before electric lights.

The outside view.

Two wonderful and refreshing experiences.  I am soooo tempted to extend my stay a couple days with the hope of seeing their Richard III, a favorite… er um favourite.

And just because some of you are wondering about food, …

… I am pretty close to Chinatown, so I will be digging in soon.  I am intrigued by one shop which is preparing squid, along with ducks.  The squid are the two things that look like something from Doctor Who.

Nearby there is a shop with a window where there is often a lady making dumplings.   Since I make these same, I will usually stop and watch for a bit.

She works fast, but she is cheating by not putting the classic crimp in the edge.  I have seen that done before and could use some visual help. I haven’t mastered that technique.

Also, I will one day arrive in time to watch the preparation of the wrappers, accomplished by rolling with a wooden rod while turning the little disk of dough.

Just for fun, the famous Seven Dials.  At the end of a day, if I don’t have some other appointment I will often wander over here.  There is a pleasant pub, and the Dial reminds me of characters in Dickens and O’Brien and appeals as well to my astronomical side.

The Dial is indeed a dial.  On the wall on one corner there is a bronze plaque that describes how it describes the time.

So… there we are for now.

The rest of the day will involve confessions, Mass, and then probably a visit to the British Museum.

Again, the waving flag is clickable. Some of what you donate will buy me a pint of bitter, but will also go to the parish where I am staying.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Blognics, Just Too Cool, On the road, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Papabile says:

    OK, Father… Just stay there in England. It’s easier to get my blog reading done for the day when the stuff is up before work. [My pleasure. Just be sure to use the donation button and pay for an apartment each month.]

  2. wmeyer says:

    My wife makes dumplings, usually every week or two. She prefers her hand-made wrappers, but making them turns a big project into a much bigger one. Her skill with that tapered roller she uses leaves me in awe. I have tried again and again to learn to fill the wrappers, but my fingers are soon tied in knots. So instead, I play scullery maid and do all the cleanup. Oh, and I also make the sauce for the dumplings.

  3. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I do not think I have visited a ‘Chinatown’ I did not enjoy – Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, for example – but I wish every city had one like ‘London Chinatown’ – more delightful shops – especially bakeries! – I have never encountered – and though my last visit was long ago, it looks like it must be as lovely as ever!

  4. VexillaRegis says:

    Papabile: Hmm, I torn on this one – It’s very nice to have Fr. Z. in the relative vicinity for once, but I miss reading the blog over one cup of tea and one of coffee. Since Fr. went to London my mornings are boooring! OTH I have more time to fix my hair…

  5. VexillaRegis says:

    Lapsus calami: Hmm, I’m torn…

  6. I’ll do my best to give people something more to read… on both sides of the pond.

  7. acardnal says:

    Great reporting and photos, Fr. Z!

    Let’s inspire readers to contribute to funding your future trip to Roma to attend the Summorum Pontificum anniversary conference at the end of October. I anticipate equally interesting posts and photos from there.

  8. irishgirl says:

    Looks like you’re having some nice weather in London, Father Z! Great pictures, too! The ones of the ‘swing dancers’ in the park and of the Globe Theatre were especially cool!
    Have you been able to get over to Tyburn Convent, on Bayswater Road, near Marble Arch?
    On my last visit to England in 1999, I went over to the Globe. Didn’t see any plays, however; I only stopped at the shop and bought a two tape set (audio) of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (for myself) and a cardboard replica of the Globe (that was for the priest-director of the Third Order Carmelite group I belonged to at the time. He wanted it for one of his godchildren as a gift).

  9. asperges says:

    Glad you are having a rain-free trip, Father.
    Seven Dials was once a notorious slum (much of it bombed in the war). It is briefly referred to in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe:

    “Spare us the bitter pain / Of stern denials,
    Nor with low-born disdain / Augment our trials.
    Hearts just as pure and fair / May beat in Belgrave Square
    As in the lowly air / Of Seven Dials!
    (Chorus) Blue blood! blue blood! / Of what avail art thou
    To serve us now? / Though dating from the Flood,
    Blue blood! Ah, blue blood!

  10. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr. Z. : Sorry, I didn’t mean that there was too little to read on the blog! What I meant to say, is that because you are here in Europe, you don’t post during my night and there are much fewer comments to read in the morning for me. Instead you keep me up at night ;-) !

    I wish you a refreshing and inspiring stay here, we are happy to have you over!

  11. mike cliffson says:

    The great Wen, a place of men , civilized, and a place of horror, many overlapping cities in one, so many things for so many centuries, so provisional for so much of its extent as the East of England tilts into the sea, so little Roman visible, so much history, so much life and so few children, so much one aches to see Catholic again, including catholicism! So many fine people of so many origens, so much Londonistan, so much evil done and plotted behind closed doors, so much privateness and closed circles for good and for ill, so much honed to perfection and so much slapdash, so many vivid children of dreadful night and so much leaven of the children of the light and so much in between and both, so many surprises…
    God send your visit was fruitful and bears fruit! But tis enough that twas enjoyable!

  12. Father K says:

    Heart attack on a plate! Much better food and way more expensive just down road at Simpsons on the Strand [a favourite of Rumpole of the Old Bailey].

  13. chantgirl says:

    If my hubby and I were in England right now, I’d hit the Jane Austen Festival, and he’d hit the pub!

  14. VexillaRegis says:

    chantgirl: Ditto! Husband gets bored out of his mind by Austen books and – movies (but loves Dickens?!) and likes ale.

  15. Supertradmum says:

    What a great blognic, what fantastic conversation, and what great photos.

    Glad you are enjoying yourself of the best of Britain. I am down with a flu bug….

    Have a great time and try and find a benefactor that will keep you here six months out of the year!

    There is still some civilization left here in Old Blighty.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    PS I hope you get to Ely Place, St. Etheldredas and the Bishop’s Mitre

    Queen Elizabeth I was there so you should go as well.

  17. David Zampino says:

    Pints of Brains! I love it! I sampled that brew (on the advice of a cabbie) last time I visited Wales. I have not been able to find it in the United States.

  18. PJ says:

    The Globe is great (usually). I have seen the same production of the Taming of the Shrew and I must say I thought it was excellent. Bawdy but excellent. A very hard play to perform these days (take the audience’s reaction to the closing speech by Katherina) and I think they really tried to do it justice.

  19. wmeyer says:

    Father, my wife says if you will come to Atlanta, she will teach you all the tricks in the preparation of dumplings. Including the making of the wrappers.

  20. lizaanne says:

    Oh sigh….. I do miss London.

    Love the updates from your trips! Even if they do make me …..sigh….

  21. Kathleen10 says:

    These are very wonderful pictures Father Z. I am intrigued by the group at the pub, engaging in “conversation”? And not just that, but real conversation, on a topic that is not related to Lady Gaga or sports. Imagine that. The folks there look intelligent and well read, even pleasant! You have captured a pretty timeless moment I think, in that pub.
    Theater is wonderful. Wonderful! I love all of it, even children’s theater. It’s just magical to be lost in a play or musical for awhile. I have never seen a production of Shakespeare. Should remedy that.
    I hope not to miss “Talk like Shakespeare Day” when it next occurs. Please remind us as it approaches. I should have printed out last year’s. That was classic.

  22. abasham says:

    Ah, Father… I do so enjoy your updates from London. As I have written here before, a few years back I spent a semester in London interning at Parliament. I lived a few blocks from the wonderful St James, Spanish Place, and attended the EF there, the Oratory. And a few other parishes. You are constantly sending pictures from some of my favorite locations, but alas, despite all my annoying blot comments, I see no pictures from the magical Burrough Market! For a gourmand like you, it would be a heavenly experience. It is just a few blocks from the Globe so I’m sure you could stop by. And, I must add, the BEST fish ‘n’ chips in London. I bated fish before I had it there and I’ve been on a seafood journey ever since.

  23. Ben Yanke says:

    Ah yes, As You Like It. I really enjoyed that play when I had the opportunity to see it. I’d love to see it again!

Comments are closed.