Saturday, 9 June 2012

London Wednesday


In Westminster Cathedral which I have loved so much since I was taken there aged three. I always asked to go back every time my father took me up to London which happened at three month intervals and was always told it was too far away.

It really is wonderful even though I have now seen the Byzantine churches of Rome but whoever said it was right - it does resemble the bathroom department at Harrod's.

When I was a child I viewed adulthood with unalloyed dread (quite wrongly - it is childhood which is hell) but did assume I would have the money and freedom to spend my life looking at churches and cathedrals without let or hindrance. Yet today I was in the Abbey for the first time properly since I was a little boy - even though my first job was in the House of Lords. Then the entrance fee deterred me - now I am afraid I slipped in without paying.

All those Prime Ministers and poets and and and - look, there's Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman.. I am ashamed I did not go often - but I have to say it does not feel very spiritual even compared with English cathedrals - just a faint afterglow of mediaeval Catholicism.

Old friends in London. One, a devout Catholic and Labour supporter,  who is a kind of genius, has dedicated his life to making money and seems happy well adjusted and fulfilled. He has a handsome wife and sons at Eton. He says the young generation is just as interested as ours (we went down in 1984) in money but no longer fixated on the City. People have to be interested in money because houses cost so much. It sounds like rats in a cage to me.  

Another older friend is a retired atheist bachelor who says work is a way of killing time. He claims to be a rich, happy pagan. 

I am slightly reminded of Lytton Strachey saying that the egoist savours every happiness like a grub eating a leaf but his death is not inspiring. Or something of the sort. This pensee has not made the internet and my books are in boxes.

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