…and after Midnight Mass at a much-loved church I walked back along the Thames with a lantern, singing Christmas hymns and carols, from London Bridge to Tower Bridge, the river glittering alongside, and HMS Belfast looming sturdily up in the dark. Very few people about and all the places familiar to me in the daytime …the Borough Market and the streets around there – Clink Street and the Borough High Street and Tooley Street – were almost deserted although there were some small groups of revellers, one or two lone folk hurrying, a watchman in a lit-up office, with whom a “Merry Christmas” was exchanged. The accoustics under railway bridges are magnificent: it felt strange to be singing alone beneath arches where I have often sung with parish processions.
And so finally along Tower Bridge Road and to our room in our Christmas hideaway.. .
I had begun Christmas Eve that afternoon, with a lantern-lit History Walk for a delightful American family. We finished at the Tower of London where we joined a good-sized congregation for a Carol Service at the church of St Peter-ad-vincula. . I had arranged to meet friend there and by chance – Providence – she had arrived early and we suddenly came across her along the Embankment where she was enjoying a wander too. And so to the Service in the ancient church, and then to supper together, and thence, with a lantern, in due course to Midnight Mass at my own familiar church across the river….and then that rather glorious walk back.