Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland


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London Bridge – 3 June 2017

A lot will be written and speculated about what happened and the causes of the events on London Bridge, outside Southwark Cathedral and in Borough Market just after 10pm on Saturday 3 June 2017. I do not intend to do that, however I do intend to reflect on two impressions of London at its best, firstly in the London Bridge Hotel, and secondly a Metropolitan Police Officer.

If you have followed this blog (and the associated Smugmug and Blipfoto galleries) you will know that London Bridge, The Shard and Southwark Cathedral feature from time to time.

So on Saturday 3 June, we went on another of our Cathedral visits, returning to London Kings Cross at around 9:45pm. Taking the Northern line to London Bridge we came up the escalator by the News UK building opposite our hotel – The London Bridge Hotel – outside the upper concourse of London Bridge railway station at around 10:10pm. Looking down London Bridge Street we saw blue flashing lights and commotion, however thought nothing of it as it was Saturday night on Borough High Street.

However as the night unfolded we realised how close we were to a Major Incident, and that we were trapped inside the security cordon with the hotel under Lockdown.

In the morning we watched out of our hotel as the police escorted News UK personnel from their building to outside the cordon. We decided to find out what was happening in the hotel. The Night Manager was still on duty and some of the resturant staff were still in from the previous night. The Day Manager and the breakfast team were unable to get in. In addition, quite a lot of the hotel guests had not been able to get back the previous night. The Night Manager organised what staff she had available to provide a breakfast service. She was in contact with the Metropolitan Police and in a controlled manner, with armed police escort, guests were able to leave the hotel.

So at 10:30am we presented ourselves at reception and checked-out to await an escort away. Our police escort, who we only know as “Rocky”, was good humoured given the circumstances and took across the front of the upper concourse of London Bridge railway station. For one of the busiest stations in the UK, it was surreal in that is was deserted. At this point I felt it prudent to keep my camera in its bag. We then went down the escalator to Tooley Street, and east to the cordon by More London Place. We thanked him and passing through the line of TV cameras, we headed up More London Place towards Tower Bridge, where we saw the Tower of London with its flag at half mast.

Tower of London with flag at half mast

Tower of London with flag at half mast
4 June 2017

Given the road closures and (unrelated) tube closures, the easiest tube station to head for was Aldgate, at the eastern end of the Metropolitan Line to get us to Euston.

Crossing Tower Bridge, we looked back at London Bridge, with buses still where they stopped the previous night, and The Shard.

The Shard and London Bridge

The Shard and London Bridge
4 June 2017

We had intended to go to Southwark Cathedral for the Sunday morning Pentecost service, however it was closed, and at the time of writing (on the evening of Monday 5 June), it is still closed with Tuesday morning services to be held at the nearby St Hughs. As various friends in the congregation and staff (clergy & vergers) knew we were in London and expected to see them on the Sunday morning, we had made sure they knew we were safely away from the cordon and on our train home from Euston.

We will be visiting London again in the near future, and will be using the London Bridge Hotel.


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Borough Market

Borough Market and The Shard

Borough Market and The Shard

One place at the end of London Bridge that I keep meaning to visit is Borough Market. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays it is open. Being in the area when it was open, prompted the visit. However Saturday lunchtime is one of the busiest times to be there. This made it difficult to get any reasonable angles to get some pictures.

Borough Market is set beneath the railway viaducts that connect London Bridge and Cannon Street stations to Blackfriars and Waterloo East stations, close to the river Thames and next to Southwark Cathedral in South East London. It sprawls around an atmospheric series of streets and walkways and as well as the labyrinthine central area under the viaducts.

Borough Market is the only fully independent market in London and is owned by the charitable trust – Borough Market (Southwark) Trust, run by a board of volunteer trustees. Part of the market is currently closed during the works to build a new railway viaduct as part of the Thameslink expansion works.

The stalls are a mixture of food to buy and ready to eat. There were many ingredients to take home, including a wide range of cheeses, bakery goods, meats (including cured and smoked), vegetables and fruit. One stall was selling Kangaroo Burgers. We had filled baguettes for lunch (Roast Turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce; and roast beef with horseradish sauce).

Little Dorrit through Park Road railway bridge

Little Dorrit through Park Road railway bridge

Leaving the market we heading out of the Stoney Street exit at Park Street with cups of hot spiced apple juice and hot mulled wine. Along to the railway bridge, Park Street is a narrow street with character. Heading west just before turning right under the railway bridge is a little cafe on the left – Little Dorrit. Once through the railway bridge, we found a little oasis, where we sat to eat the pieces of cake we had bought and consume our drinks.

Heading to Southwark Street along Redcross Way the wall was covered with red leaved ivy.


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Bramley Apple Day – Sunday 25 October 2009

As I intimated in a previous posting, today – 25 October 2009 – was being celebrated as Bramley Apple Day at Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market. The drama troupe The Lion’s Part performed in The Green Market and fun and games to be had by all in the South West Churchyard with The Ministry of Fun. The Cathedral Refectory served a Bramley Apple echo-ing menu.

William Shakespeare with a bowl of apples in Southwark Cathedral

William Shakespeare with a bowl of apples in Southwark Cathedral


Our day started at Southwark Cathedral with the 11:00am Sung Eucharist. The Sub Dean (Canon Andrew Nunn) presided, with Canon Missioner (Michael Hart) preaching and the Succentor (Anna Macham) taking the role of Deacon. The music had a apple and harvest theme – hymms included For the beauty of the earth and the visiting choir – The Oriana Singers – sang Jesus Christ, the apple tree (by Poston). The cathedral was decorated with apples, including apples in the flower arrangements, bowls of apples in the side aisles and the memorial to William Shakespeare which had a bowl of apples in Shakespeare’s arms.

After the service it was to the Cathedral Refectory for lunch which was Gammon Steak with apple souce. We decided not to have the Apple Crumble.

Berry Man - the Autumn incarnation of the original Green Man - in Borough Market

Berry Man - the Autumn incarnation of the original Green Man - in Borough Market

It was off to Borough Market. The Lion’s Part were perfoming complete with a huge Corn Queene effigy heavy with ‘Plenty’ – wheat, barley and other grains, and apples, root vegetables and foliage from the Borough Market. Berry Man – the Autumn incarnation of the original Green Man – decked with wild fruits and foliage, was in attendance. Many of the stalls had apple themes, including apple tarts, pies and cakes. There were numberous variants on apple drinks – juices, ciders, mulled cider, etc.

Our day concluded with a return to Southwark Cathedral for Choral Evensong sung by The Oriana Singers, presided over by the Sub Dean and the sermon given by Reverend Anna Macham.

Finally, if you read my previous blog on this event, I did order the Apple Crumbles from Donald Russell, and enjoyed the Apple and Raspberry Crumble with ice cream yesterday (Saturday) evening.

Selected links about Bramley Apple Sunday:

  • Borough Market
  • The Lion’s Part
  • Southwark Cathedral
  • Pictures of Bramley Apple Day on my fotopic site
  • Pictures of Bramley Apple Day on my Smugmug site
  • Wikipedia on the Bramley Apple

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    Bramley Apple Sunday

    As some of you may have noticed I have been occaisionally visiting Southwark Cathedral recently. Last week blethers wrote about her visit. Although I was at that service I missed seeing her.

    Next Sunday (25 October) Southwark Cathedral will be decorated with a cornucopia of apples and an especially devised Apple Day Cathedral Choral Eucharist at 11.00 am and Borough Market, right next to the Cathedral, will be open promising an array of apple-y activities including an apple-pealing competition and apple-pressing. The drama troupe The Lion’s Part will perform in The Green Market and fun and games to be had by all in the South West Churchyard with The Ministry of Fun. The Refectory will be serving a Bramley Apple echo-ing menu.

    The Lion’s Part will come complete with a huge Corn Queene effigy heavy with ‘Plenty’ – wheat, barley and other grains, and apples, root vegetables and foliage from the Borough Market – appears in a procession around the front of the Globe, Bankside, with the Company of actors and the time-honoured Hobby Horse in attendance, strung with cakes and loaves and led by the Berry Man – the Autumn incarnation of the original Green Man – decked with wild fruits and foliage, leads the company. He carries an Apple Tree to where it will be placed within the Bankside area, with general songs and music on the surrounding streets of the Market for everyone.

    It is probably no coincidence, Donald Russell, an online Scottish Butcher, have just released their new range of desserts which all feature Bramley Apples.

    If you are in the London area next weekend come and join the fun. I do not intend to miss it.

    Selected links about Bramley Apples and Bramley Apple Sunday:

  • Borough Market
  • Christine’s Blog
  • Donald Russell Desserts
  • The Lion’s Part
  • Southwark Cathedral
  • Wikipedia on the Bramley Apple