We haven’t published any blogposts in the last couple of weeks due in part to finishing our basement renovations, the disgusting rainy weather and the fact that David was away for 10 days or so for the christening of his godson in England.
David flew into London Gatwick, hired a car and initially drove up to Peterborough to spend a couple of days with his mum and sister and her family before driving down to St. Albans in Hertfordshire to stay with his family friend Craig, his wife Mia and their six-month old baby son Oscar.
The last time we saw Craig & Mia they were still living on the top floor of a five-storey (walk-up no elevator !) townhome-flat conversion in London so we hadn’t seen their new family-friendly digs (ground floor with garden) in St. Albans.
Their new home is close to the centre of the city, so the first afternoon they went for a walk around the neighbourhood.
The little guy snoozes while they wander the narrow windy streets of St Albans.
Gill lives in Clerkenwell in the borough of Islington, very much part of Londons inner city. Her home is part of an old converted building overlooking the streets of Clerkenwell with the steeple of St. James Church visible in the background.
Views here from Gills rooftop garden, again over the rooftops towards the church steeple. This particular church was built in 1792, the previous ancient one situated on this site collapsed in 1788
Craig in the rooftop garden before heading to the chapel.
Oscar seems pretty content, infact he’s a very laid back little fella happy with lots of strange people, noises and places.
They take a cab to the Savoy Chapel, situated just off the Strand, about 0.5kms East of Charing Cross.
Built by Henry VII during the 1490’s the Savoy Chapel originally formed a side chapel off of the Savoy Hospital built around the same time. The hospital closed in 1702 and was demolished in the 1800’s but the chapel survived.
The five godparents with Oscar.
Oscar checks out the font with Gill.
Inside the Savoy Chapel. Only one of the stained glass windows is original, the others having all been blown out during the Blitz of World War II.
Oscar with mum Mia, and grandparent Chris,
Craig, Mia and Oscar.
After the service everyone returned to Gills for food, drinks and most importantly, cuddles !
Oscar also had a cake, although I’m not sure he actually saw any of it !
That evening they spend the night in London.
The following morning they return to St. Albans and Oscar shows off a new outfit we had bought for him.
They decide to head out and explore more of the town and parkland. Oscar is wrapped up ready for a winters walk.
The City of St. Albans has an incredible amount of documented history having been continuously settled for over 2000 years it was originally named Verlamion and was the main city of the Catuvellauni a Celtic tribe resident here until Roman occupation in AD43. At that time the city was renamed Verulamium and the city was encircled with gated walls in AD275.
After the Romans departed the city in AD410 the city was renamed St. Albans in memoriam of Saint Alban, believed to be the first British Christian martyr who was executed in the city around AD250.
Over the next several hundred years the town continued to grow and in 1089 the new cathedral was completed. The materials used for the building of the cathedral were recycled from the buildings of Roman Verulamium so while the cathedral was officially built in Norman times the actual materials used to build it are significantly older. It played an important part in political history, at one time being the principal abbey in the country and it was here that the original draft of the Magna Carta was drawn.
The cathedral seen here from Verulamium Park.
The walk also takes them past Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub, believed to be the oldest pub in England, dating back to 1539 and sitting on foundations dated 793. St. Albans has traditionally had a large number of inns due to its history and proximity to London, being one days travel by horse & coach, making it the perfect overnight stop.
Views over the meadows and lake in Verulamium Park.
Feeding the ducks.
They stop for lunch at The Waffle House, an established restaurant situated in a working 16th Century watermill situated on the River Ver.
Outside the Waffle House on the banks of the river. Not sure the uneven surfaces-please take care sign is a genuine 16th Century installation.
Parts of the original Roman wall are still visible in Verulamium Park.
The final day in St. Albans they walk into the shops so David can pick up a few essentials to bring home.
Finally a little video clip of Oscar honing his driving skills as he practises for the narrow winding roads of St. Albans.
David then returned to Peterborough for one more night before heading home. An extremely brief but lovely visit, great to meet Oscar and David looks forward to being the best godparent to him that he can.
He was greeted by a very excited Adrian and Mojo and a nice wintery scene with our first sprinkle of snow for the season.