Ray, as a member of FOGAG, has invited me to join him on a visit to the Mansion House, residence of Nick Astee, the Lord Mayor of London. Bill, Diane’s 86year-old father, joins us and our party of 12 or so. We start with coffee and biscuits where Ray and I talk to the Lady Mayor and we finish in the vaults ogling millions of pounds worth of gold and silver table ware.
Afterwards, Ray and I went, via the DLR and Overground, to Rotherhithe to lunch at The Mayflower pub. This where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from, first to Southampton, then to Plymouth and eventually to America, in 1620 with Captain Christopher Jones, who returned in 1621, died a year later and was buried in St. Mary’s churchyard nearby. We both have liver and bacon.
Later we wander around the quiet cobbled streets past women sitting outside shop fronts, chatting, and eating their lunch. It is very serene. The Brunel museum is nearby. It is part of the entrance to the world’s first under river tunnel – the Thames between wapping and Rotherhithe. Ray and I, with Thom, Julian, Matthew and Pete studied this at Birkbeck last year. We get talking to the two volunteer curators about the difficulties of getting to see this famous tunnel. I buy a signed copy of Antony Clayton’s ‘Subterranean City”. Later, whilst sitting on the Thames embankment and gazing at the high tide we get chatting to an 83 year-old who tells us he is Tom Ash and has written a book of his memories of the Thames and the Docks and we go back to the Brunel museum and buy that as well. Tom signs our copies for us.