It's not been a quiet week at the Elephant and Castle, except for Monday.
Tuesday Goliath had our Lodge of Instruction. Something that Freemasons have to do regularly is rehearse the ritual. In most Masonic jurisdictions the ritual must be memorised. One particular ceremony can take up to an hour, and may be conducted by one man. So, rehearsal is serious stuff indeed. My friend Nadeem, whom I nominated for the Lodge, picks me up at Northwick Park station
on the Metropolitan line and we go to Harrow Masonic Centre
and have a beverage in the bar while waiting for the meeting to start. The meeting was very emo as there was a bit of a dispute about some parts of the ritual. I thus proposed to make a leaflet detailing the differences between our Goliath ritual and the standard Taylor's Working
. This I did, and we'll be publishing it in May after I assume the Mastership of the Lodge. Only problem was: Microsoft Publisher. The final leaflet came to 19 pages plus one blank page, and no matter what I did, I couldn't get page 18 to flow onto page 19. Whoever invented Microsoft Publisher needs to be corrected somehow. I suggest the cat o' nine tails, myself.
Wednesday was my swine flu vaccination. The good thing is that it was free. The bad thing was that the nurse was running 1/2 hour behind. I know that I shouldn't complain, but if I were 1/2 hour late for an appointment I'd get hell in a handbasket. My right arm ached for a couple of days afterward, and I had a very deep hypo on Thursday which I can't explain with what I was eating or the amount of insulin I was taking. I wonder whether the inoculation did something.
HWMBO was off Wednesday through Friday so on Wednesday afternoon we went to the Turner and the Masters
exhibition at Tate Britain on Millbank. It closed today (Sunday January 31) so we thought we'd better go see it. Well, as it was the afternoon and a weekday we thought we'd have an easy time of it, but the exhibition was stuffed. Lots of people who wait until the end of an exhibition to see it were there, and many were elderly and had canes, just like me (I was using mine as my back was killing me…see Thursday for more informaiton on that). I felt that while it was slightly interesting, the Tate often has Turner exhibitions because it has most of the Turners that are extant, as Turner left most of his paintings that he had at his death to the nation and the nation gave most of them to the Tate. As it was kind of a comparison between Turner and other artists, if you weren't paying attention in Art History class (and I wasn't) much of the exhibition was not very illuminating.
Thursday I went to the Foot Clinic at Kings to be fitted for orthopedic shoes and insoles. I have been waiting for this for years (but didn't get on the official waiting list until December). The assessor (fancy name for the shoe fitter) was very nice, perhaps batting for Our Team, and sharing my first name as well. While he was measuring my feet for the shoes, he asked me how my back was faring because of the pressure boot—I told him that my back was killing me. Every time I got up from sitting on the bed while wearing the boot my back felt like someone had stabbed me in the kidney. He said, "Wait a minute!" and took my shoe (not
the boot!) away. A minute later he returned with a device that raised the boot by about an inch. This instantly
fixed my back problem and my gait is now normal, as both shoes are on a level. I was as delighted as a young kid on Christmas morning who got all the presents he asked for and no coal in his stocking. While measuring he rolled my trouserleg up and said, "It's like the Masons." and I replied, "Funny you should say that; I'm a Freemason." and we discussed that for a while. I shall bring a brochure when I take delivery of the shoes. They're black wingtips with laces.
Thursday night we went out with our friends Ard, Leslie, Eddie, and Christina to Belgo at Covent Garden
. HWMBO tried a couple of Belgian beera, but I stuck to Diet Coke. The wait staff were all dressed in monk's robes, for some odd reason…perhaps because a lot of Belgian beer is brewed by monks. Lots of mussels were consumed (not by me), and I had a steak and frites, which were excellent. Then off for dessert. We walked from Belgo to Old Compton Street and Chinatown, and finally ended up at C&R Café and Restaurant
for "dessert. As they have a £6 minimum per person, HWMBO and Leslie ordered some other stuff. The reviews are mixed
, but we enjoyed what we had. I had an iced Milo and a sago pudding as dessert. One of the side dishes that Leslie ordered was a kind of meat loaf phyllo pastry spring roll…this was fantastic and I want to go back and have more.
Friday I returned to the Foot Clinic for the last appointment under the study I've been in. Well, I got in there and when the podiatrist came in I showed him the new device on my shoe and said, "Why didn't I get one of these when you gave me the boot?" He looked at the nurse and said, "I didn't know we had any in stock." The ulcer is still there, but much smaller. However, now that I'm out of the study I do not get free supplies from the clinic; I have to have them prescribed by my GP. That's a pain. Oh well, they are cautiously optimistic about it and I go back for a regular appointment in two weeks.
After the appointment I had to wait in the waiting area for a prescription. The usual doctor, Prof. Edmonds, wasn't there on Friday so I waited for 1/2 hour while they scraped up a doctor. Then the nurse came up to me with the prescription and said, "We forgot to do something for your last appointment." and I had to come back, take my boot and shoe off, and have her test the bottoms of my feet for feeling (I don't have any). The podiatrist just laughed and said to her, "I told you that we could just fill it in ourselves." but no dice. I was seriously late for lunch at the Drop-In.
Saturday morning I received something I'd bought from eBay in the US. Coffee connoiseurs among you will sneer at me, but I am now the proud possessor of a 6-cup Pyrex coffee percolator.
Now I realise that perked coffee tastes burnt and isn't the best quality according to coffee mavens. However
, I have memories of my childhood, when we had instant coffee most of the time, but when company came my mother hiked out the Pyrex percolator and made REAL
coffee, as opposed to instant. Now neither my brother nor my sister drinks coffee nowadays, but I'm seriously addicted. And when I fire up the percolator on Monday afternoon and have a cup of real perked coffee, I guarantee that I will be transported back to my childhood and I'll hear my mother say to me, while she poured me a cup of real perked coffee, "You really shouldn't be drinking this stuff; it'll stunt your growth." Would that it had.
Saturday afternoon we went to the Serpentine gallery via the 360 bus. This is a really great way for us to get to Museum Alley near South Kensington. No muss, no fuss, and a one-seat ride. Very convenient. I enjoy this bus route, which goes by the Imperial War Museum
, through a housing estate and up to Albert Embankment, swings by the Vauxhall Bus Station
and my gym
, then crosses Vauxhall Bridge next to MI6 HQ. Then through Mayfair and along the river to the Royal Chelsea Hospital, the home of the Chelsea Pensioners
. then down the road to Sloane Square and past Peter Jones
, the quite posh store in the John Lewis family of shops which includes Waitrose. Then past the Conran Shop
, with lots of merchandise we can't afford and the Michelin Building
toward South Kensington Tube Station
and the various museums in the area such as the Natural History Museum
, the Science Museum
, and the Royal Geographical Society
next to Imperial College London
, ending up in front of the Royal Albert Hall
and the Albert Memorial
, certainly one of the most garish and curious memorials to a lost love ever erected.( Pictures behind a cut of some of the sights along the 360 bus route )
On the way to the Serpentine we stopped in the Gents' just beyond the Albert Memorial and interrupted what was probably a bit of the old slap and tickle between two guys at the urinals.
The Serpentine Gallery had an exhibition of modern design
that was interesting; it including such things as the OLPC laptop and the bumper of a Lamborghini.
There was an area in the central gallery with Kindles, TV screens, and various displays. All the Kindles were occupied, and we didn't fancy waiting around. So back home to coffee and then dinner with our friend Mark at the Indian restaurant at the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre
. Mark was ogling the waiters, who were all Bangladeshi and very good-looking, especially Aziz.
This morning we had church as usual: it was the observance of Candlemas, and the major attraction of Candlemas is that I can put the candelabra away until Easter. The candles drip on the carpet and are a real nuisance: I refer to them as "the forest fire".
So that was my week.