Day Return To London
Having cause to be in London for a late afternoon appointment last week and knowing that it was going to be a bit of a long shot expenditure, I resolved to give myself a valid reason for leaving the cocoon that has been my home these last few years and arranged to pop into the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre, in Islington, about lunchtime.
My renowned timekeeping didn't let me down, but it was close and I was only a minute away from catching the train. Nearly five hours later, I arrived at Canonbury Tower, fortunately only a couple of tube stops away from Euston. The building was easily recognisable from the pictures on their web site and I eventually found the right door.
Ascending the winding staircase, I wondered at the history that was locked into the oaken beams of this fine old 16th century Tower and was pleased to be met by Snezana Lawrence as I arrived at the entrance to her Office.
While Snezana took an important phone call, I gazed out of the window and listened to the children's laughter as they practiced magic tricks in the courtyard below, presumably part of the theatre activities that are also housed in the old Tower.
Although I must have been interrupting her busy schedule, Snezana kindly took time to explain the goals of the Research Centre. Their web site illustrates the subjects covered far better than I could here relate and I gladly accepted the opportunity to take home some non-Internet pamphlets as I left.
As I sat on the tube to my 4pm appointment, I reflected on the courteous manner that I had been greeted with and the pleasant memory of the meeting that remained.
After a brief flutter with Mammon at 4, I found myself with an extra half hour to kill before the train home, so I decided to grab a cab to Great Queen Street. I'd started the visit to London on a Masonic path, so I thought it might be nice to end the day with a visit to Grand Lodge. I knew that I was too late for the grand tours but I hoped that there might be some activity of merit.
As I passed through the entrance, I was struck by the scale of the vast space before me and the two eyes that were tracking my movements as I looked around. I approached the chap at the desk and, aware of my smallness in the grand design around me, I happily accepted his offer of a Grand Lodge brochure and responded by giving him one of the Canonbury brochures.
Not having stopped, since the refreshments at the Canonbury Centre, I was emboldened to ask if I could take advantage of a convenient room and after an affirmative answer, I was directed to the proper place. When I returned to pick up my case, I was interested to see that my guide was still reading the Canonbury information.
Arriving at Euston an hour before departure caused me to be a little rash, by popping into a nice pub and paying London prices for a couple of pints of a fine Guest beer and I don't think I would have had that extravagant third pint before leaving, had I known that I would end up meeting my history teacher of old, on the train, near the bar.
But then that's another story.
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Last updated Wednesday August 15, 2001