Thursday, April 18, 2013

Oh Glorious Gloom!

Too much happening today to put in one blog. I love when that happens. I’ll start with this post and finish up tomorrow with several others.

After Robin’s Thursday class, which convened at the Westminster Archives, Parliament, and Lambeth Palace Library (official London residence for the Archbishop of Cantebury since the 13th century and holds the records for the Church of England), we met at one of my favorite pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (rebuilt in 1667 and famous for it’s gloomy charm). I haven’t had a chance to enjoy gloom like this in over a year, so it was nice to get back in the gloomy groove for an afternoon.

I got to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese about 3 pm, went to the cellar, ordered a stout ale (a departure from the usual cider), and did a rough sketch of a group of people at a nearby table. When Robin got there at 5:30 we ordered ciders and pub food and relaxed in the gloom for a while.

Fleet Street (historic center of the printing industry in London) is just through the little snicker ahead.

Looking in the other direction, and to the left, is the way to Samuel Johnson’s house (he wrote the first English Dictionary). He is rumored to have frequented this bar. That’s easy to believe since it’s a 66-second leisurely walk from his house to the pub’s door. I timed it.
A sign that gloomy cheer is imminent.

Speaking of Samuel Johnson, it has to mentioned that he had a cat named Hodge and he might be the most beloved cat in England. In spite of the fact that Hodge is mentioned only once, in one sentence, in all of Johnson’s writings, he is beloved by many Samuel Johnson fans and cat lovers around the world. The one-sentence mention: “A very fine cat indeed." Genius.

Hodge keeps an eye on Johnson’s house at the other end of Gough Square. What a great house.  Four floors. Steeeep stairs. Last year Robin & Lynn (our friend from Oxford) and I attended a play by David Garrick on the fourth floor of his house. 

Waiting for Robin Thursday afternoon in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Not a great drawing, but hey, it’s not easy drawing in this kind of gloom while drinking a stout ale.