Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 17: St. Martin and Sweet Charity

Ah, sleeping in a bit on a Saturday after a very busy week! When Christina and I ventured outside this morning, it was off to Leicester Square to get some matinee theatre tickes--Sweet Charity for me, Mamma Mia for her. We ended up running into another librarian friend, and we all headed over to the big Waterstone's near Piccadilly to help in his quest for a few books.

Christina and I then headed over to St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a church on Trafalgar Square. We explored the underground floor first. After all of the old, older, and older still churches and cathedrals we've been seeing this month, we were really taken aback at the modern minimalism of this newer space. There was a lot of glass and stark white space, which really had a good feeling to it. I imagine that praying in the chapel there, bare white except for a white-clothed altar and three wooden statues, would be very good for clearing one's mind.

On the recommendation of our library professor for the month, we got lunch at the cafe that is now operating in the crypt of the church. Oh, man, was this a good idea. We both enjoyed the vegetarian hot lunch option, which included baked pasta with cheese, a garlic roll, and salad with a dill yoghurt dressing. Mmm! After such a tasty lunch we headed up into the main church space, which was again rather minimalistic. The altar window was made entirely of clear, colourless glass with a design to form a cross, and the wooden pews--some of which have doors--seem pretty old despite the modern-looking feel of the space. The pipe organ, too, seemed pretty spectacular. St. Martin's is known for giving concerts, so I think I may be returning to one later in the month.

Before heading to our respective matinees, Christina and I each got a treat from a restaurant with a to-die-for pastries window. I ate my strawberry tart, she her strawberry gateaux, sitting in Leicester Square and people watching until it was time to go our separate ways.

Sweet Charity was a really great show. I usually enjoy musicals with strong female leads, and this show was no exception. The music was catchy jazz, and the sixties setting made for some really fantastic costumes. I also really liked the show's overall message, that a girl can be herself and make it just fine in the world, no apologies necessary. Gotta love that sort of happy ending.

After walking home from the theatre across the footbridge near Charing Cross--where the weather, as you can see, was quite fine:

--I met up with five other library folk for dinner. We chose the Indian place just near our flats, and everyone was very happy with the choice. My chicken masala was terrific, and it was great to share a leisurely meal and good conversation without feeling rushed to be anywhere. It was also a nice little evening out before we all had to head back to the flats to pack for our departure from London tomorrow morning.

We'll be leaving bright and early (I'm calling it half past nonsense) for Edinburgh, where we'll be a few days doing library things before everyone scatters for our mini-break. The moral of that story is that I'm not sure when or how frequently I'll be able to post again. Rest assured, however; I'm pretty sure I'll continue having a great time.

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