5 July London Journal
7 July London Journal

6 July London Journal

Boy is London up north. It is on the same latitude as Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In practical terms, that means the sun sets about 9:20 and dusk is still pretty obvious at 10:15. Oh, and sunrise is a bright, early 4:51. Daylight time! That means if there wasn't daylight time the sun would rise at 3:51. Now that is early!

Yet another very busy day. Up early and over to Marylebone National Rail station, which, according to at least one source, was the London point of departure for trains to Charbury, just past Oxford.

There was no set time I had to be at the Cornbury Music Festival, but there was a set time for morning communion: 8:30.  The Marylebone parish church, ironically, is near the Bond Street tube station, not the Marylebone station. Anyway, eventually I found the Anglican church (parent denomination of U.S. Episcopalians), arriving only five minutes late. I wondered if I misread the schedule, This beautiful 1816 church seemed empty as I entered. Then I noticed that all the parishioners were in the choir stalls at the front--all 10 of the parishioners. The Church of England isn't what it once was. It was a beautiful service, not even Rite One as we celebrate it in the U.S., but straight-up 1926 prayer book (with a little added Queen). Most of the service started to come back to me as we went through it. I took communion, shook the vicar's hand, and scooted back to the train station... where I was told I needed to be two stops down the line at Paddington. In five minutes. I didn't make it, and it was an hour until the next train. Also, at the last minute, we were slapped in a half size train. Wow! I stood for the whole 90 minutes to Oxford, getting a seat for the last two stops before Charbury,.

The shuttle bus took us to the Cornbury Music Festival. I have been reading about British summer music festivals for decades, and wanted to experience one. I wandered around, had fish and chips. What's a trip to England if you don't have fish and chips at least once. However, in yet another example of health and safety gone mad, they don't sell them in rolled up newspapers anymore. I know the fish was fresh, because it was cooked  right in front of me. Quite a slab of whitefish. The chips (British for french fries) were, for a change, not over-salted. Hooray! And of course, malt vinegar to top it off.

I wasn't much interested in the music or the face painting, so I went to the Comedy Tent, which had advertised some of my favorite British comedians. Alas, I misread the fine print; in the afternoon it is family comedy. The poor comedians. At least one of them looked so lost, having to work clean. I knew one of the four from his appearances on BBC Radio 4, a man named Nick Doody, who was the best of the lot. I wandered around, had some soft ice cream, and took the train back to London. At least it didn't rain. Rain is the bane of English summer music festivals, but nary a clod of mud was on the horizon.

I had a ticket for Stephen Richards' "Rock and Roll Politics." He's a political columnist and a regular on radio and TV panels.

I saw a waffle stand a block from the theater, but it turned out they were out of waffles. "We have hamburgers," the proprietor said. I don't do English hamburgers. Did some once, wasn't happy, once burned, twice shy.

Richards' show was an evening of trenchant observations and witty asides. There was no Rock and Roll, that was just metaphorical. I would have loved to stay for the whole thing,  but I was exhausted and left at the interval (what we would call the intermission), after having a toasted veggie sandwich.

Monday's entry will probably go up Tuesday morning (London time; about Midnight pacific time). I am taking the Eurostar through the chunnel to Paris for the day, and expect to have a wonderful time. It will only be my second high-speed train. I took the Japanese Bullet Train from Tokyo to Hiroshima in the mid-80s.   Japan has had high speed rail for four decades, and we can't even agree we need it in California between SF and LA, where we need it more than anyplace else in the U.S. with the possible exception of Boston-Washington.

Remarkably, I took no pictures are Cornbury, but I have one of the church which I will post sometime Tuesday.