Atop It All

If you’re physically on top of a thing or place — a mountain, a skyscraper — what type of scene do you want to share in your frame?

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

For this week’s photo challenge, ATOP, self pulled from her Archive:

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Fall 2016: Main Lobby of the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: View from the 2nd Floor

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Summer 2016: The Tate Modern is housed in what used to be the Battersea Power Station. In keeping with its industrial spirit, everything in the Tate Modern has that utilitarian feel. Even the restaurant, on the 6th floor. It’s called The Kitchen. The Harry Potter Bridge (Formal Name: the Millenium Bridge) is to the right.

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Spring 2015: The Portrait Café, British National Portrait Gallery

Note to dear blog readers: The Portrait Cafe hosts an afternoon tea, which is booked weeks in advance. The day self showed up, early March, she could not get a seat. So if you would like to see this fabulous view while having tea, book in advance.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ATOP: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 15 March 2017

For this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, ATOP, self goes back to the pictures she took of a London church she visited in 2015. She’s not sure if she’s interpreting the theme correctly (“a view from the top”) but she’ll post this anyway.

Two years ago, self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge. She took The Infernal Devices trilogy with her to the UK, and decided to plan her days around places cited in the books.

In her website, author Cassandra Clare says she used St. Bride’s near Fleet Street as the titular setting for the Shadowhunters Academy. And self did get to see this church. And it was one of the most beautiful churches she had ever seen.

You can see an exhibit on the history of St. Bride’s in the crypt. The spire was designed by Christopher Wren. Building began in 1671 and was completed in 1703:

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Rendering of the Steeple of St. Bride’s (aka “The Church of Journalists”) Just Off Fleet Street

The steeple was destroyed during the Blitz (see newspaper headline below).

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World War II London Newspaper

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A Modern Rendering of the Christopher Wren Steeple

The steeple has been rebuilt; you can see it from the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a long, slim needle that feels surprisingly at home with the modernistic buildings surrounding it.

Self returned to St. Bride’s last year, with poet Joan McGavin. The main space was closed for refurbishing, but the crypt was still open to the public. While Joan went down to look at the exhibit, self chatted with a clergyman, who asked what brought her to St. Bride’s. And she said, Shadowhunters. He was highly amused.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More of the Road Taken: London, March 2017

Today’s edition of The Road Taken is London.

Oh what a glorious morning. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Self enjoys looking out at the garden:

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Bedford Place, London

Last night, self attended Evensong at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The celebrant asked the congregation to pray for the United States, so that its leaders may have “consideration.” Afterwards, self headed toward Trafalgar Square:

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Sunday Evening, Trafalgar Square

A few days ago, self met up with old friends Dodo and Helene (who grew up in the Philippines with her). They took her to see the minster at Beverley. We got to the town just before twilight, and the old stone of Beverley Minster seemed to glow:

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Beverley Minster at Twilight

Travel lately has become extremely arduous, but it still gives self the purest joy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Good Match 3: London Cabbie

Ben Huberman, The Daily Post:

In my book, coffee, sparkling water, and a donut (okay, I confess: a fancy donut) make one such perfect combination. Sweet and bitter, cold and hot, smooth and fizzy — all these sensations come together to create a coherent, “this morning is going to be just fine” experience.

So here is self’s idea of a a good match:

Arriving in London and taking a cab from the airport. It is not cheap. But it pays off in spades because the cabbies are very interesting conversationalists. They know more about London than the average person. Most of them grew up in London. They can tell you where the best street markets are, where the best fish and chip shops are, and where St. Bride’s Church is. (If you are in a rush, this is not the mode of transport for you. It takes almost an hour, esp if you arrive during rush hour. But why would you go to London to rush? Especially if traveling alone and not on a particular schedule?)

A few years ago, when self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge (Thank you, Cassandra Clare!) she followed the path of Will Herondale and it took her to: York; Blackfriars; and St. Bride’s.

St. Bride’s was not easy to find. She asked about three people, and no one had even heard of it. Until she saw a parked London cab, and asked the driver if he knew where it was. His prompt reply: “Course I do! I’m a London cabbie!”

Nick Townsend was the cabbie who drove her in from Heathrow. He owns his own cab, and is a certified city guide:

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Licensed City Guide (and Cab Driver) Nick Townsend proudly showed self his badge.

He talked about a church named St. Bartholomew the Less (The other, St. Bartholomew the Great, is next to the hospital. “Not that one,” he told self), which is a beautiful example, he said, of fine Norman (13th century) architecture.

He told self she must visit Sir John Soane’s Museum, which has candlelight tours “every last Tuesday of the month.”

He also told self about the Wallace Collection, which self has seen, but wouldn’t mind seeing again.

Self took notes.

London: oh, what a city. It is not cold. The rooms are damp. But go outside. Just keep going outside.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Existential Crisis of the Day: To See or Not to See Fifty Shades

Fifty Shades Darker or John Wick 2?

Self is a big fan of Dakota Johnson.

Yup, that’s right. DAKOTA JOHNSON.

Plus, the Jamie. Come on. Ever seen this guy’s back blown up on the side of a building?

Well, self has. London, 2015. Somewhere in the South Bank. That back was pretty fine.

She is also a big fan of Keanu Reeves. Yesterday, an NPR reviewer called John Wick 2 the apogee of something: “designer violence” or “designer mayhem” or, anyway, something designer. Niiice!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Repurpose 2: London and Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

For this challenge, show us something . . .  put to new use.

— Krista, The Daily Post

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Shoreditch, London: Jack the Ripper was here!

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Welcome to Narnia: Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

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Twigs Am I: On the Narnia Trail in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Sally Potter’s Screenplay for YES

Last year, self saw Sally Potter’s Yes at the London Review Bookshop and the filmmaker herself was present to do Q & A afterwards. Self asked Potter if the screenplay had been published, and when Potter said yes, it was available in the U.S., self almost broke out into a Happy Happy Joy Joy dance.

Can she just tell dear blog readers how she adores this screenplay, the fact that it is written in iambic pentameter from first to last is glorious.


Scene: An Irish woman (played by a luminous Joan Allen) who’s moved to New York returns to Belfast to visit her dying aunt in a hospital. The following passage is the aunt’s interior monologue:

AUNT

No one explained to me when I was young
Why time only goes forward. Hold your tongue
Was what they said when I asked them about
The universe and such and why we can’t
Do all that much about it when we make
A mess of things. If only a mistake
Could be corrected. Wind life back and start
Again. The second time we’d know the art
Of living. But we only get one go;
No dress rehearsals, this one is the show,
And we don’t know it. I don’t see the rhyme
Or reason in this so-called grand design . . .

(A priest enters the ward quietly and rapidly gives the last rites, making the sign of the cross and softly muttering a prayer)

But then I don’t believe. There is no sign
Of him up there as far as I’m concerned.
See . . . if there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned
It’s this: it’s down to me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Paths

Halfway through the year, I’ve found myself in a new home, adapting to things on a daily basis, and realizing how important it is to slow down and recognize (and enjoy) the winding path I’m on.

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

“Slow down” — what a wonderful sentiment for the day after Christmas.

Below, three versions of PATH:

A corridor in the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art:

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The New San Francisco MOMA

The approach to the City from 101:

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Approaching San Francisco on the 101 North

Stairs leading to the second level of the British Museum:

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British Museum, Great Russell Street, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Anticipation 2: SFMOMA, Hometown Creamery, London’s Millenium Bridge

This week, share a photo that says ANTICIPATION. — Michelle W., The Daily Post

Art excites self, it always has. Here, people milling about in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, level 2:

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When you are in Hometown Creamery on Irving Street: Mango sorbet and fig tart excite.

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Hometown Creamery, Irving St., San Francisco: November 2016

And nothing speaks of anticipation more than crossing London’s Millenium Bridge (aka the Harry Potter Bridge) towards St. Paul’s.

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London’s Millenium Bridge: No better approach to Saint Paul’s

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

New Horizon: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 9 December 2016

The Daily Post Photo Challenge of the week is: NEW HORIZONS.

Self’s busy brain was on over-drive in 2016, as she continued her explorations of places old and new. First, San Francisco, her home for the last several months.

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This picture embodies the contrasts and contradictions of San Francisco, a city facing the pressures of overwhelming change (And self is incredibly lucky to be able to witness this change, from up close)

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More Contrast and Contradiction: Bush Street, San Francisco

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London, City of the Mind and the Imagination: Crossing the Millenium Bridge, June 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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