Mon June 2
My flights to the US were good & after a brief stopover in SD I was on my way to NYC. It is good to be back at the House of the Redeemer & I look forward to my 4 weeks at priest-in-residence. The weather so far has been sunny & warm. I settled back into the priest’s flat & rediscovered the local supermarket which has lovely bread/bagels & delicious oranges. I reacquainted myself with the chapel…..& spilled some oil which was stupidly in a glass container on a top shelf 🙁
Yesterday I went to High Mass at the Church of the Transfiguration, where the Rector is Bp Andrew St John – ex-Melbourne & old friend. This morning I began my daily chapel duties with Morning Prayer at 8 am. 3 people joined me – 2 locals who attended regularly last year & a visitor in the House from Canberra, Australia. Interesting conversation over coffee afterwards. The rest of the morning was busy – I met with Judi, the House Manager, contacted some priests I met last year, got out the old altar frontals which haven’t been used for years (I love resurrecting old church treasures!) & walked to Macey’s, the famous dept store. It is 60 blocks away & took exactly 60 mins to walk. I bought some things on sale, incl new black shoes to wear to the House Garden Party on Wed night.
So I am back into the swing of things & the adventure of living in NYC 🙂
It has been an interesting week. Tues after 5.30 pm Mass I went out for dinner at a new local bar/restaurant. It was very NY. Wed evening was the annual House garden party. I helped on the bar briefly, then enjoyed mingling. Many of the guests remembered me from last year. It was a fun night. Thursday I met up with my old friend, Fr Johann, who is the Rector of the famous Harlem church, St Martin’s. I am preaching for him on Sunday.
On Thurs evening I was taken out to dinner & a Broadway show by the priest from St Edward’s in Spanish Harlem. I met Fr William this time last year & by a surprising coincidence he was at Walsingham when I was there in October. He wanted to properly welcome me to NY – both dinner & show were a wonderful way to do that. Today I went to the Museum of Biblical Art to see an exhibition entitled “Object of Devotion”. This was a collection of mediaeval alabaster sculptures, mainly from English altars – all stunning. The items were on loan from the V & A.
Nothing planned for the w/e except church on Sunday.
My preaching in Harlem this morning for Pentecost was well received. At 11 am it was punctuated by cries of “Amen” & “Yes, Lord”. This began when I referred to psalm 104, “Lord send out your Spirit & renew the face of the earth”. I then said that in one of my prayer books there was a misprint & it said, “Faith of the earth”. Continuing, I said that it was the Faith of the earth that needed renewing & with shouts of “Yes, Lord”, I also got very enthusiastic! I did enjoy the sermon – & so did they 🙂
I also enjoyed the morning because as well as preaching at 8.30 am & 11 am, I celebrated the 11 am Mass. They got the San Diego Mass rite, which was a little different to the version they are usually subjected to. I was thanked for both my Service & my sermon. After both Masses I joined the primarily black congregation at coffee hour, which included a big birthday cake for a 81 year old. She accepted my compliment that the numbers were reversed 😉
A week ago I got an allergy – seemingly from the pollen in Central Park. This is a new experience for me, with flu-like symptoms. Tablets to cure it made me very tired, so that by lunch-time I am drowsy. This stopped any site-seeing for the week. Despite that I had 2 highlights during the week. Tuesday night I received a visit from 2 young women from Melbourne, Deanne & Kristie. Deanne is the daughter of a woman who was secretary of our parish youth group when I was chairman. I gave them a tour of the House, then took them out for dinner to a local restaurant/bar. On Thursday night I went to Greenwich Village to have dinner with Valerie, the daughter of an SD parishioner. Last year I took her to a local restaurant & this year we went to her favourite, Baboo’s, just near Washington Squ.
Still trying to shake off the cough! Monday night I had dinner with Bishop Andrew St John. Bishop Andrew is an old friend from Melbourne who moved to NYC before I moved to SD. It was good to chat, even if the restaurant was expensive (we split the bill!). On Wed I was taken to lunch at the Metroplitan Museum of Art members dining room by the House board member who is responsible for the clergy roster.
Thursday I celebrated Corpus Christi & there were 4 at Mass – the largest attendance in the chapel thus far. At 7 pm I attended High Mass & Benediction at the Church of the Resurrection. This is NY’s traditional Anglocatholic parish & I know the Rector. Choir & or strings performed a 18th cent Spanish Mass….& it was very long! The traditional Lauda Sion before the Gospel went for over 20 mins. And the sermon was just as long. All this for a congregation of 12. The Mass lasted 2 hours. A very nice reception followed & one of the parishioners remembered me from a previous visit.
I seem to finally be over my allergies. What a crazy experience it has been. 2 Aussie women from Melbourne arrived last night to stay 2 weeks. They both are on the staff of Melbourne Grammar (Melbourne’s top Anglican boys school) but I probably won’t see them at chapel services! Today Clare from All SS, San Diego, arrived at the house. This gives me an opportunity to have Daily Mass, instead of just Tues & Thurs. I am now in my last week here – it seems to have gone very quickly.
Being able to say Mass each day has been wonderful. Special Masses & intentions each day made it just like my days at All SS. On Thursday night Clare & I went to a social event at St Martin’s, Harlem. It was the launch of the Harlem Biennale, to be held in May 2015. Planned as one of the many Biennale around the world, the parish has partnered with local artists to sponsor this & it is based at the church. It was a nice event with over 100 present. Several parishioners were pleased to see me.
On Friday I walked 80 blocks down to Chelsea Piers. I went to see a promotion by Air France of their new premium seating, etc. Of course I have no intention of flying Air France – but I did enjoy the free ice cream 😉
Today I went to the Guggenheim Museum. There was an excellent display of Italian Futurist works……my art education has expanded! Tomorrow I celebrate Mass & preach at St Luke’s, Harlem. This is the other church in the parish & has a small congregation. The church is quite stunning in a Byzantine/Romanesque style with a majestic sanctuary containing a marble altar with baldacchino. Like St Martin’s, it needs urgent work & looks much neglected. In the evening I will attend Evensong & Benediction at the Church of the Resurrection. So my time in NYC will come to a happy end.
Saty July 5
I flew to London on Thursday. My connecting flight was cancelled & I arrived on Friday at 11.15 am instead of 7.15 am – a much better time to arrive. As the plane flew in we were above the Thames & I could see all the wonderful sites below. I reflected on my arrival in London exactly 40 years ago & was able to see The Strand, where I worked in 1974/75, Pimlico, where I lived in 1975 & West Kensington, where I stayed with my brother on arriving here. I am staying at St Mary’s, Bourne St, which I attended that first week. It was their centenary & I can remember it as if it was yesterday.
Today I go to see my friend, Joan. We are going to watch the live telecast of the AFL game from Adelaide, Port Adelaide vs Essendon, on ESPN. Afterwards we will go to the local pub for lunch. Tomorrow I will attend High Mass at St Mary’s for the 140th anniversary. On Monday I will explore all the old familiar haunts & relive those exciting days when I lived here. So 2 weeks of sentimentality begins!
The High Mass for St Mary’s 140th was wonderful. It was followed by a street procession & Benediction……taking me back 40 years to that same event for their centenary. It was the week I had arrived in London & was overawed by it all. After lunch I went walking around Pimlico, past the flat where I lived in 1975 & the church I attended. On Monday I walked to Kensington & the street where I stayed when I arrived exactly 40 years ago. It was a house full of Aussies that my brother was living in & I slept on the couch for 2 weeks, as many Aussies did in those days. It was all a wonderful time of discovery for me & lots of innocent fun. I had no problem finding these places & it all seemed just like yesterday. But I couldn’t help reflecting that both London & I are different now.
Tuesday was Joan’s b/day, so she caught the tube into Sloane Square & we had lunch in a nearby restaurant. Today I walked into The Strand. When I passed Westminster Abbey I noticed the Australian flag flying from the SW tower. I enquired of a steward & he informed me that there was a commemoration for Capt Arthur Phillip & the First Fleet. What a nice coincidence. In The Strand I met Phyl, with whom I worked in 74/75, out the front of our old office. We enjoyed lunch & lots of reminiscing!
Tomorrow I catch the train to Manchester. This is one of several places on my list to visit in the UK. It has been rejuvenated in recent years & I look forward to exploring it. I return to London on Monday.
I have had a relaxing w/e in Manchester. The weather has been nice & sunny, but there isn’t actually much to see. No old or attractive buildings & the cathedral was esp unimpressive. The rejuvenation of the canals is interesting & I walked along them thru the city……..bars, restaurants & condos were a hive of activity.
Friday a/noon I walked an hour along one canal to Old Trafford. Both the cricket ground & Man United soccer club were disappointing. Neither was impressive as you approached down back roads. No public transport hub or parking for the 1,000s of fans – do they all come by bus? The Man U precinct was very underwhelming for the most famous soccer club in the world. Maybe I should have taken the tour & seen the inside of the stadium – but it made me realise how far ahead Australia is. Alberton Oval is more inspiring 🙂
I noted that there was a concert on Saty evening by Manchester’s orchestra, The Halle. I discovered that cheap seats were available the morning of the performance, so turned up at 10 am & got a seat 3 rows from the front for just £10. It was a concert of English music, with works by Britten, Walton, Holst, Arnold, Delius & 3 of my favourites: Elgar’s Nimrod & Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending & Fantasia on Greensleeves. At least Manchester has an excellent modern concert hall!
Tomorrow I catch the train back to London, stay overnight at St Mary ‘s, then back to the US.
I have had a nice relaxing 5 days in the US, incl 2 days in a wet New Orleans. I have now been away 8 weeks. Because my month in NYC was not really vacation travel I am not ready to return home yet! Tomorrow I fly to Germany & have 2 weeks travelling around by train.
I arrived in Frankfurt on Tuesday a little tired as I only had 3.5 hours sleep. The flight from Chicago left an hour late, but this was good as we arrived at 6.45 am, instead of 5.50 am. I had arranged an early check-in with the manager of the Frankfurt Intercontinental – a benefit of being an elite IC member, staying at this hotel for 10 years & knowing the manager from when he was at New Orleans IC. After a wonderful shower & breakfast in the club lounge I went for a long walk in the sun & attended Mass at the beautifully restored Dom.
It was very tempting to collapse in the bed & sleep, of course. However, one of the ways I get over jet-lag is to go for a walk after I arrive at my destination (unless it is night). So I resisted the temptation to have a sleep. I has a relaxing a/noon & a pleasant evening in the lounge, chatting to 2 Aussies. The rest of the week I was encountering more Aussies & also Americans, & I always like to find out where they are from.
Wed morning I caught the train to Berlin. I am staying at the Berlin Hilton, in the heart of the Mitte district. This where the Brandenburg Gate, Museums & old public buildings are. Previously it was an area almost derelict because it was near the Wall – but since reunification it has undergone a transformation. Now modern buildings sit beside restored 1930’s structures & it is possible to see some from the Nazi era. The Hilton was previously a communist hotel.
Ever since I have been visiting Berlin (1992, not including 1974) I have been fascinated by the transformation of the city, as well as relics from the Cold War & Nazi eras. In earlier days I walked along where the Wall had been. Until this year I always stayed in the centre of West Berlin. Now I stay in Mitte – & this meant I had to find a new laundromat! There are 2 things I need to know when I travel – where is a laundromat & a barber’s? The hotel concierge gave me an address & said I could catch a taxi. He obviously thought I was a typical American tourist! As it turned out, the laundromat was a mere 35 min walk. It was thru parts of East Berlin that I had not seen before, so I enjoyed exploring.
Laundry done for another week, I set out to see things. For the past few years I have been exploring sites associated with the Nazis, the resistance & the Cold War. I have been aided by an excellent series of guide books for this particular interest. These have maps, pics from the era & lots of information, making the whole exercise fascinating as well as informative. I have already explored Munich, Berchtesgaden & Dusseldorf, which each had 1 book. There are 2 books for Berlin & I am 2/3 way thru the 1st. Alas, in 2.5 days I have not yet finished this book……..I fear I may have a lot more visits to Berlin ahead of me!
This a/noon I visited the Allied Museum. This is in the former US cinema across the road from the former Headquarters of the US Armed Forces & covers the period from 1945 to the withdrawal of the US forces in 1994. Amongst the items was the program for a US military open day which was on my 10th birthday! A special exhibition about Tempelhof airport was very interesting. I also enjoyed watching news-reels from the time of the Berlin Blockade. An attendant came & spoke to me, assuming I was German. He was amazed that an Australian was listening to a German commentary!
Sun Aug 3
After 6 enjoyable days in Berlin I caught the train to Koln on Tuesday. Wednesday morning I went to the laundromat. I was so pleased that I understand German & could read the instructions! I mused that it was pure luck my parents sent me to an Anglican School that offered German as an alternative to French. South Aust has a strong German heritage – EG, amongst the Port Adelaide players are Schulz, Westhoff, Ebert, Lobbe & Hombsch – & the original Noble who came out from England married a German Frau (tho I did not know that when I chose German). I have to thank my German teacher from Munich – she taught us a love of Germany & it’s history. At the same time the Berlin Wall went up & that gave me a keen interest in German history. For all this I am grateful, as it is wonderful to speak & understand German in my travels.
In the afternoon I walked around the old city, discovering old churches I had not seen before. I also walked across the Rhein – which I had not done – & attended Mass in the stunning Dom, of course. Altho I have visited the Dom many times, I had never noticed that the reredos in the Lady Chapel is a well known triptych by the 15th cent painter, Stephen Lochner, Altarpiece of the Patron Saints of Koln, with which I am very familiar.
On Thursday I caught the train to Amsterdam, where I have spent the weekend. The weather has been lovely & Amsterdam is a pretty city, with its canals & interesting houses. I have met several Australians & Americans at drinks in the hotel club lounge each night – one of the enjoyable aspects of travel for me. The city is full of tourists………..I have never seen a more crowded railway station than Amsterdam’s! Tomorrow I catch the train back to Germany & spend 2 nights in Mainz, then to Frankfurt before my flight back to SD on Thursday.
My flight back to the US was pleasant & I arrived in SD very tired on Thurs night. I had a busy day on Friday & then I flew to SF on Saty. This turned out to be a wonderful conclusion to my travels. When I arrived at the Intercontinental I was told my room was not ready & that it was the Terrace Suite (Gina said with a smile). This turned out to be on the 31st floor, with a terrace that had wonderful views of the city.
Sunday morning I went to High Mass at the Church of the Advent. I have had a long association with this parish – I first preached there in 1987 & for many years it was always my 1st stop in the US, staying with the Rector or parishioners. Now it is a shadow of what it was & none of my friends from those days are alive. They are now searching for a new Rector – there were just 20 at Mass. I knew 2 of the acolytes as well as the organist, with whom I was glad to catch up. Returning to the hotel, I enjoyed sitting on the terrace on a beautiful sunny a/noon.
So now my travels are at an end & tonight I fly back to Melbourne. It has been a wonderful 11 weeks, incl a month in NYC, 2 weeks in the UK & 3 weeks in Europe. It is the longest trip I have done & I am feeling quite tired……..& looking forward to returning home to St K 🙂