Saturday, 3 April 2010

Tenebrae - the service of shadows...


And a good morning to you from across the Pond after a GREAT Friday in the Mother Country. As I type this, I'm regrettably a bit sick and feel as though I'm swallowing razor blades. However, that's about 11 steps up from where I was yesterday, so I'm happy about that.

I had actually meant to post last night but just felt crummy, as I wanted to say a formal HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOMMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry we didn't get to chat much yesterday, mom - we'll make it up with Skype today.

So recapping yesterday's events: lunch was a pizza from Sainsbury's that should have fed about 13 people. I couldn't actually get all of it down, but the 80% I did take care of was guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud. Plus I threw on some chorizo to "spice things up," so that didn't hurt.

Due to some connectivity issues (insert Hitman shaking his head here and saying, "Well, of course that's what happened...")I logged off around 4:40 and made a DEAD SPRINT to St. Paul's cathedral. As you all know, yesterday was good Friday, and that means it's Sammy's favorite church service all year - Tenebrae: the Service of Shadows.

A little background on this (I feel like Robert Langdon right now): Also known as the "Solemn Liturgy and Veneration of the Cross," this service is 100% music, save the occasional reading interspersed. It is done completely a capella, with different soloists intoning the notes - VERY haunting. The music tells the story of Jesus' arrest, sentence, and crucifixion, typically ending with the point at which he gives up his spirit. As the service progresses, the church grows darker and darker, until eventually all candles are extinguished and only the ambient lighting from the windows guides you out of the church (which you must leave in silence). In smaller churches, all artifcacts and holy relics are removed from the sanctuary in preparation for Jesus' resurrection on Sunday. Like I said - it's powerful stuff, and I did NOT want to miss it.

And it is with that backdrop that I present to you the image of a guy in jeans, flannel plaid, and the bomber jacket sprinting out of the tube and bowling over tourists to get a seat right at 5 PM for the start of the service. I'm pretty sure the German cats beside me did NOT know what to make of the sweaty, coughing, poorly dressed American dude sitting beside them, but in the spirit of fellowship, they let it ride.

The service was GREAT. It was the first time in a long time that I've taken an hour to really think about life, to pray, to reset myself, and to ponder all the mysteries that surround us. It was a really, really cool experience, and witnessing it at St. Paul's was truly special (Dad - you'll remember that we visited St. Paul's for the Good Friday Service in '07 as well - just not the Tenebrae service).

After the ceremony, I spent another 20 or so minutes there before rolling out and getting back onto High Holborn to meet some of the gang for drinks and dinner. On the walk, I was treated to blue skies, but MAN WAS IT FREEZING!!!! Between the HORRIBLE wind, 30 degree weather, and the fact that I had run part of the way to church (and my lungs actually gave out before my feet - whilst humbling, it's a good sign!), it's really no wonder why I think my throat has a crescent wrench stuck in it this morning. But on the walk I at least saw the new branding outside MLFC (or should I say BAMLFC). I am SUCH a dork...

The first spot on the Friday tour was a Sam Smith's house called the Princess Louise, where I managed a Taddy Porter before rolling over to this placed called Lingotto's - SOOOOOO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD (peppy cheekies). Seriously - this place was MONEY BALL 5000. I had the lamb shank, and it was fall-off-the-bone good. Good find, Hitman! But next time you'll actually have to join us. And yes, in case anyone is curious, those are FLAMING Sambuka shots - nothin' healthier than coffee beans, an open flame, a cracked glass, and something that tastes like kerosene. Also - apologies in advance of the images are a bit crooked. I have the old camera, which means I don't have a functioning viewfinder...

After that, we went to the very sophisticated chain (insert Brits with rolling eyes and American college students saying "YAY!!!!" here) called Wetherspoon's. Now this place gets the bad wrap as something of a meat market, but when you've got 18 taps, I refuse to believe it's all that bad. I ended the night with a Greene King and a Carlsberg before walking home in the frozen tundra.

I was definitely feeling rough, but a few cough drops, some Chloraseptic (taken from home), and some Night Nurse (please no jokes, fellas) have helped keep me vertical. That being said, I fear as though the planned pub crawl might not have my name on it today. I am TBD at best.

And in case anyone's scoring, we've had a few Jenny sightings - she's doing VERY well, having good weather (knock on wood), and living it up in Slovenia - I can't WAIT to see these photos and hear these stories...

Last thing - finished Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" this morning - solid 5th novel for Brother Dan. If you enjoyed the others, this one is definitely worth the plunge.

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and (most likely in caves in a wine region 1 hour north of Croatia) Jenny

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