South Bank Ramble: The Headless Man & Other Sights

   Advertisers probably  could learn a trick or two from street entertainers.  To attract an audience and lure some loose change  into their overturned hats, these performance artists have to grab people within seconds or they’ll walk on by. This headless man, dapper dressed like a British banker, complete with a felt bowler hat, commanded a lunchtime crowd on a balmy, windy day.

What I love about London is the constant blend of old– really old- remnants of 43 AD Roman architecture and engineering- with the new–  modern construction everywhere. In the arts, there’s Shakespeare, Britain’s 447 year-old megastar,  and performances by new writers.

My husband enticed me to join him on a business trip by adding 4 days cycling in Sicily.  I figured I could handle one day in London and one day in Rome. Having lived here for 4 ½ years, 1982-87, I know the city well.  Like seeing an old friend,  there’s comfort picking up where I left off,  knowing what to do  and where to go.

Today I rambled around the South Bank of the Thames.

Crossing London Bridge, I watched school children- they all wear uniforms here- scramble around the restored  “Golden Hinde,” a full-size replica of explorer Sir Francis Drake’s 16th century ship that he circumnavigated the globe between 1577 and 1580.   

As I headed toward the Tate Modern, the cavernous converted power station housing international modern art from 1900 to the present day, I saw this ruin of the 12th century Wincester Palace, a bishops’ residence used until the 17th century.

Here’s Shakespeare’s restored Globe Theatre.  Built in 1599, fire destroyed the theatre in 1613; it was rebuilt a year later but closed in 1642. The present theatre, a replica of the original opened in 1997.

Georgian row houses.

The Tate Modern.

I returned to the north side of the river via the Millennium Bridge, a steel suspension pedestrian crossing built in 2000. St. Paul’s Cathedral greets you as you walk across. 

London’s bike sharing: 

And two favorite icons:

The Pinnacle:   

I had dinner with my friend Carol. Though we attended the same college, we met when I moved here.  A native New Yorker, she’s lived and worked in London for 30 years.  We sit down at dinner, order a bottle of wine, and talk as if we see each other weekly. There’s always news to share and deeper connections to make, cementing the friendship until the next visit.

Like London itself.

This entry was posted in Shakespeare, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to South Bank Ramble: The Headless Man & Other Sights

  1. Madeline Taylor says:

    After teaching a nd faculty meetings, I went to the grocery store today. Soon I’m off to pick up Ruby at gymnastics. I should really post pictures but I don’t want yur readers to swoon with jealousy!


  2. Well, what a lovely time you had. We had great weather here so yesterday, I went to the Summit Arts and Craft Festival. Nothing like being in London. I can’t wait to see pictures from your cycling in Sicily. Please do not make us wait.


  3. bronxboy55 says:

    Great post — beautiful photographs and wonderful writing. You must be in Sicily right now. I hope you’ll post about it.

    Danbury-News Times! I lived in Danbury, twice, and wrote guest columns for the News-Times. Let’s talk!


  4. Pingback: London Weekend: Halva Ice Cream, Dylan & Lippa! | cyclingrandma

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s