Shirley's UK Trip 2012 travel blog

Tower Bridge opening

Not all London is old

Yummy pies in a Southwark market

Remains of Winchester Palace

Thank you all for your e-mails & comments. I love doing this but being able to share my trip with you every day adds another dimension.

Some of you might think this is a strange visit to London when I haven't mentioned places like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's, the British Museum & other major attractions. I saw all of them last year & this is very much a 'fill in the gaps' trip.

Another warm day, forecast to get to 19C & the same through the weekend. How about that?

I was a bit slow this morning after my late night but got into London in time to see the Tower Bridge open. Again, I got off the train at London Bridge & walked along the Thames Path which runs through a newly developed area along the south bank of the river.

The bridge opened quite slowly, exactly on time & I was interested to see that it only opened as far as it needed to. I've seen photos of it open all the way when a big cruise ship came through. I didn't time it but I'd guess the traffic was stopped for about 10 minutes.

I then walked back towards London Bridge & had a look at Southwark cathedral which I thought was a beautiful but basically unremarkable gothic church although it has an interesting story. It's only been a cathedral since 1908 but the church is much older. It was originally St Mary Overies church which was later renamed St Saviour's.

I can't find a date but before the original London Bridge was built, there was a ferry crossing in this area run by John Overs who had a daughter named Mary. He became very rich but was a notorious miser & decided to fake his own death, thinking his employees would fast until after his funeral & he would save having to feed them for a day.

However, when they heard he was dead, the empolyees broke into his larder & feasted instead. He was so incensed that he rose up from his coffin & one of the ferrymen, thinking it was the Devil, bashed his brains out with a broken oar.

Hearing about all this, Mary's lover raced to her side but his horse stumbled & he broke his neck. Mary Overs, utterly distressed at these events, and wanting to be free from the numerous offers for her hand and fortune, became a nun, having first provided for the building of the church of Saint Mary Overies, which commemorates her name.

I then found a wonderful market full of all kinds of interesting food. I resisted the pies, the duck sandwiches & the paella & settled on a Lancashire pork sausage in a roll. Yummy!

More wandering through some of these lanes which don't seem to have changed since Shakespeare's time & I came across the remains of Winchester Palace which was the London home of the very powerful bishops of Winchester. It was built in the 12th century & was one of the largest & most important buildings in medieval London. The remarkable thing to me was that these ruins were only uncovered in the 1980's during redevelopment of the area.

I'd had enough by then so made my way back home & spent some time getting organised to pick up the car & move on to the south coast early Saturday morning.

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