London in December – Part 1

We were back in London from December 11-15 for missions work and a few afternoons off to check out the city at Christmas time.

I have previously mentioned the ads and art work in the Underground stations. Baker Street features in the Sherlock Holmes novels, so some walls at the Baker Street station have silhouettes of Mr. Holmes. This wall is ceramic tile. The large image is made up of dozens of identical smaller images on the tiles.

And this poster caught my attention. The detail!

We heard about the famous Twinings Tea Shop,which opened in 1706 on a street called The Strand. It is located in City of London…

…which is a small area (one square mile) within Greater London. Greater London consists of 32 boroughs. City of London is not one of them but is its own entity, the historic core around which the modern city has been built, and the financial center of London.

The main streets into the City of London are guarded by a dragon statue.

After a long walk along the Strand on a cold, windy day, we came to Twinings Tea Shop, which is only a little bit wider than its door.

Inside you find shelf after shelf of teas of every description. We were eager to sit down, get warm and have tea and some pastry. Imagine our surprise to find out that their web site is misleading; there is no cafe area where you can enjoy a cup of tea, just the various teas to buy and take home. Hugely disappointed, we let them keep their dry tea and we went on our way.

Several blocks away, and just a short distance from St. Paul’s Cathedral, is the Salvation Army International Headquarters on Victoria Street.

We wanted to visit this place, where General Paul Rader from USA served for five years. Paul was a speaker at Roxbury Holiness Camp this past summer and told us about the headquarters. We checked out the hall of past Generals and saw the photo of Paul and Kay Rader. Paul, keenly supportive of women in ministry, had broken with tradition and had chosen to have his wife in the photo with him.

JoLene admired the nativity set in the lobby.

On another day we visited the huge and world-famous Harrod’s department store. The display windows on the long side of the store had nothing that relates to Christmas or the nativity. Instead, they all featured emerald green trim and modern adaptations of the Wizard of Oz story, each window showing items for sale from one of the major departments of the store.

In this photo the glare on the window is quite distracting, but you get a bit of a feel for the displays.

Inside Harrod’s the Food Hall has every imaginable delicacy and remarkable decorative touches.

My friend, little British Bear, travels with me wherever I go, and in the lower level of Harrod’s to his delight he found some big guys to hang out with.

Folks in London say that usually the city does not bother to put up many Christmas lights. This year was the exception. There were lights and rides at Leicester Square.

And a ferris wheel in Hyde Park.

But the most extravagant lights of all were above Oxford Street, a crowded, expensive shopping area.

But sadly, nothing about the Christ whose birthday we are supposedly celebrating.

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