Erin Green Author - blog
Last Monday, I took the day off from work to enjoy a day trip to London. It wasn’t a spur of the moment trip but one I’d been thinking about for a while as I wanted to celebrate the 60th birthday of my aunty, who died as a teenager. I have always recognised her birthday; her name being added to every calendar that I’ve ever owned. Though how do you celebrate a milestone for someone who died so young, when you yourself were even younger? After much thought, I decided to link her birthday to my grandparents' anniversary, so there was only one place for me to visit St. Paul’s cathedral, London.
St. Paul’s cathedral was bombed during the Second World War blitz on the night of Wednesday, 9th October 1940 – the same day my grandparents were married in Delhi, India. It’s not a detail that they’d ever referred to but one which I’ve learnt through my love of history. The only detail continually referred to regarding their wedding date is that it was the day on which the late John Lennon was born! Albeit continents apart, the date unites the events. So, in my mind, my grandparents’ wedding, St. Paul’s Cathedral and John Lennon are united like a strange trinity - welcome to my world, baffling but true!
The last time I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral was as a twelve-year-old on a three-day excursion to London with my secondary school, back in 1983. Ironically, the same year my aunty had died, again making the location a fitting choice. I remember a school playing netball on the pedestrian area beside St. Paul’s graveyard, the checker board floor tiling and the seemingly endless steps climbing towards the delights of the ‘Whispering galley’.
I venture towards London several times a year, usually opting for the underground, which I love. I know others hate the hustle and bustle but I could stand and people watch for hours. This time, I opted to walk the distance from London Euston to St. Paul’s Cathedral - a walk of 45 minutes made easier by the pleasant, warm weather.
I took delight in spotting so much as I strolled through Bloomsbury, Tavistock Square, Russell Square, Chancery Lane, Fleet Street and finally, reaching Ludgate Hill – many of which I’d have missed if I’d taken the underground.
As I approached the great cathedral, a bell was tolling which made me smile - if you know, you know! I won’t bore you with the details of my every step but I did chastise the twelve-year-old me for not remembering the painted ceilings and carved archways. I climbed the 528 steps to the ‘Whispering gallery’, noting the once matt black railings have been repainted in a stunning gold, before circling the gallery time and time again. Partway through my visit the organ player surprised us with a practise session, duly followed by the choir! Everyone sat down and listened to the delights on offer - I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting celebration in memory of my aunty.