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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

St. Paul's, Veeraswamy Restaurant, Millennium Bridge

Before we left on vacation, I told Michael I did not want two things to happen: any type of attack or the queen to die.

Well, there was no attack in London but one happened in Paris while William and Kate were there. This morning when I read the Daily Mail, the top story was entitled:

"London Bridge Is Down":The simple code which will one day alert the world to the Queen's death and trigger a chain of events that have been secretly rehearsed for decades.

It is a fascinating article!! I have included the link.

We decided our first stop of the day was going to be St. Paul's Cathedral. No pictures are allowed to be taken inside the cathedral. Before you enter, you have to go through security. It isn't sophisticated, though. They just make you open any bag or purse and they check what is inside. They also make sure your camera is turned off. They also remind you there is no photography at all and that includes phones and IPads. As we entered the cathedral, The Martin's Mass was just finishing and people were exiting. We toured the back section and decided to wait the 30 minutes and attend the Sung Eucharist Mass.

I had time to write individual prayer intentions for everyone and light candles.

The choir singing was so beautiful!!!! The choir also sat across the aisle from where we were sitting. Three fourths of the choir consisted of young boys with sweet angelic voices. The remaining fourth was comprised of one woman and the rest men. The choir wore black robes with a white lace coverall. The young boys had stiff ruffled Elizabethan collars. I'm not sure if you can actually picture what they looked like as I really am having trouble being descriptive enough.

The service was beautiful. In the sermon, the reverend talked about how we have become a narcissistic society focused on instant gratification through social media. In fact, he made a joke that many of you probably wish you could pull out your phone and twitter or Facebook right now. Looking around the cathedral, I did not see one single young person attend the mass.

It was cloudy when we entered the cathedral but the sun shone through when the reverend got to the section where we were asked to pray for people. It was a special moment.

St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London. Its dedication to the Apostle Paul dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. The present church, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Barogue style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren's lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding program in the City after the Great Fire of London.

The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognisable sights of London. Its dome, framed by the spires of Wren's City churches, dominated the skyline for 300 years. At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1967. The dome is among the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second largest church building in area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral.

St Paul's Cathedral occupies a significant place in the national identity. It is the central subject of much promotional material, as well as of images of the dome surrounded by the smoke and fire of the Blitz. Services held at St Paul's have included the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher; jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer; the launch of the Festival of Britain; and the thanksgiving services for the Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees and the 80th and 90th birthdays of Elizabeth II.

The Blitz

The cathedral survived the Blitz although struck by bombs on October 10, 1940 and April 17, 1941. The first strike destroyed the high altar, while the second strike on the north transept left a hole in the floor above the crypt. The latter bomb is believed to have detonated in the upper interior above the north transept and the force was sufficient to shift the entire dome laterally by a small amount.

On September 12, 1940, a time-delayed bomb that had struck the cathedral was successfully defused and removed by a bomb disposal detachment of Royal Engineers under the command of Temporary Lieutenant Robert Davies. Had this bomb detonated, it would have totally destroyed the cathedral; it left a 100-foot (30 m) crater when later remotely detonated in a secure location. As a result of this action, Davies and Sapper George Cameron Wylie were each awarded the George Cross. Davies' George Cross and other medals are on display at the Imperial War Museum.

One of the best known images of London during the war was a photograph of St Paul's taken on December 29, 1940 during the "Second Great Fire of London" by photographer Herbert Mason, from the roof of a building in Tudor Street showing the cathedral shrouded in smoke.

Occupy London

In October 2011 an anti-capitalism Occupy London encampment was established in front of the cathedral, after failing to gain access to the London Stock Exchange at Paternoster Square nearby. The cathedral's finances were affected by the ensuing closure. It was claimed that the cathedral was losing revenue of £20,000 per day. Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser resigned, asserting his view that to evict the anti-capitalist activists would constitute "violence in the name of the Church". The Dean of St Paul's, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, then resigned too. The encampment was evicted at the end of February 2012, by court order and without violence, as a result of legal action by the City Corporation.

St Paul's Cathedral is a busy church with four or five services every day, including Matins, Eucharist and Evening Prayer or Evensong. In addition, the cathedral has many special services associated with the City of London, its corporation, guilds and institutions. The cathedral, as the largest church in London, also has a role in many state functions such as the service celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The cathedral is generally open daily to tourists and has a regular program of organ recitals and other performances.

St. Paul's holds a special place for Walt Disney.

"Feed the Birds" is a song written by Richard and Robert Sherman and it is featured in the 1964 motion picture Mary Poppins. The song speaks of an old beggar woman (the "Bird Woman") who sits on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, selling bags of breadcrumbs to passers-by for tuppence a bag so that they can feed the many pigeons which surround the old woman. The scene is reminiscent of the real-life seed sellers in Trafalgar Square. Even today we saw pigeons on the statue of Queen Anne. Many birds were also flying overhead.

Feed the Birds is reputed to have been Walt Disney's favorite song.

In the book, Mary Poppins accompanies the children, on the way to tea with their father, to give money to the bird woman to feed the birds. In the movie, on the way to the bank, their father discourages the children from feeding the birds, while Mary Poppins, who had sung the song to the children the previous night, was on her day off. Academy Award winner Jane Darrell played the Bird Woman, her last screen appearance.

In contrast to the energetic nature of most of the film's songs, "Feed the Birds" is played in a reverent tempo. This most serious of songs is used to frame the truly important moments in a film that is mostly humorous and lighthearted. It is used in four places:

The first appearance is in the orchestral segment at the beginning of the film's overture medley, thus starting the overture slowly. The overture then segues into some of the faster pieces in the film's score.

The second appearance comes when Mary Poppins sings the song to the children as a sweet lullaby on the night before their trip to the bank. It begins with Mary showing them a water-filled globe of St. Paul's, whose "snowflakes" are in the shape of the many birds flying around the cathedral. While the children sit and listen with rapt attention, scenes cut away to dreamlike imagery of the cathedral and of the bird woman, with parts of the song accompanied by an off-screen choir and orchestra.

The third appearance is the evening of the trip to the bank, a very short segment about half a minute before the other sweeps appear in the chimney sweep sequence.

The fourth appearance is also during the same evening, a dramatic orchestral and choral rendition, as a sombre and thoughtful Mr. Banks walks to his place of employment, literally and figuratively alone in the streets of London, stopping by the place where the bird woman was earlier that day, only to find it vacant before continuing on to the bank to face its board of directors to be fired. It segues into a short dirge-like segment as Mr. Banks reaches the door.

The song is also alluded to in the Disney film Enchanted, a tribute and parody to classic Disney movies, in the form of an old woman named Clara who sells bird feed for "two dollars a bag", and in Chris Columbus's 1992 movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York by the character known as the Pigeon Lady (interpreted by Academy-Award Winner Brenda Fricker) and John Williams's soundtrack theme.

Feed The Birds lyrics

Bird Woman:

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag

Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag

Feed the birds," tuppence a bag

Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag

Mary Poppins:

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul's

The little old bird woman comes

In her own special way to the people she calls,

Bird Woman:

Come, buy my bags full of crumbs

Come feed the little birds,

Show them you care

And you'll be glad if you do

Their young ones are hungry

Their nests are so bare

All it takes is tuppence from you

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag

Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag

Mary Poppins:

"Feed the birds," that's what she cries

While overhead, her birds fill the skies

(Chorus sings sections of melody on an "ah")


All around the cathedral the saints and apostles

Look down as she sells her wares

Although you can't see it,

You know they are smiling

Each time someone shows that he cares

Though her words are simple and few

Listen, listen, she's calling to you

Bird Woman:

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag


Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag

Bird Woman:





tuppence a bag

After church we took The Tube to Piccadilly Circus. We had made reservations at Veeraswamy, our favorite Indian restaurant.

Since we were early, we stopped and watched the St. Patrick's Day Parade. In reality, we watched people. They expected 150,000 to 200,000 people along the route and I think that number was standing in front of us blocking the view. People were packed in 4 to 5 deep. We stood on the steps of some statue. Couldn't get close enough to even see the name. We could see the people if they were on the floats but we could not see anyone whom were actually marching in the parade. I do know this year's theme was dance. I could hear the music blaring and heads bobbing up and down every so often as they danced by.

History of the Veeraswamy Restaurant

Established in 1926 by the grandson of an English General and an Indian princess, it soon became a fashionable rendezvous hotspot amongst the rich and famous, who were drawn not only to its remarkable cuisine style but also to its Raj inspired opulent interiors. It shares a birthday with H.M the Queen.

Today it still exudes the same extraordinary glamour and rich essence of its legendary past. However, since acquiring Veeraswamy in 1997 we have made considerable makeovers to maintain such an ambience, with a fabulously sophisticated menu to match.

We have restored Veeraswamy to its position as one the leading restaurants serving fine Indian food. We have created opulent and sumptuous interiors, offering a timeless aura of sophistication in which to enjoy fine Indian food in London’s first restaurant of its kind.

Ambience of the restaurant:

Veeraswamy opened in 1926 in an era when many of the Maharaja Palaces in Northern India were celebrating an Indian art-nouveau idiom. Today, the restaurant continues to reflect the interiors of these palaces by housing grand statements suchas silver-clad ceilings and handmade Venetian style chandeliers as well as resplendent furnishings such as glorious teak dining tables, and the hand-woven carpets; all of which have been expertly crafted in India. Evocative black and white photographs of the ruling elite of India from this era dress the walls along with fantastic humorous paintings from the Kalighat School of painters in Bengal.

The palatial and resplendent interiors are well suited to the restaurant’s excellent location in the West End, off Regent’s Street , one of London’s most iconic streets. Tables on the street side of the restaurant have remarkable raised views onto the quintessentially provocative London landmark, while romantic tables for two enjoy the quiet and quaint Swallow Street. All tables have a sprinkle of fresh scarlet rose petals along with very fine tableware and finery.

During the day, the room is flooded by natural light from the surround of windows. By night, the mood takes on a glamorous allure, with the profusion of multi-cultured glass ceiling lanterns from Jaipur emitting a soft light alongside the brilliance from the chandeliers.

This is their view on children

Lunch: Monday to Friday: Children under the age of 10 are not allowed;

Saturday & Sunday: Children of all ages allowed but no prams or pushchairs.

Dinner: Children aged 4-10 are welcome between 5.30 pm& 6:30 pm and must vacate by 8 pm.

In case the children are noisy, in the interests of fellow diners, we will have to request the family to leave at the earliest.

To drink, Michael had a Korev Lager and I had the Shimla Sunrise (orange juice, strawberries and blackberries blended together) with a "Johnny jump up" flower garnish.

Appetizers: Michael had a spicy tikka chicken Marsala. I had the Indian version of spicy dumplings. Forgot the exact name of the dish.

For a main, Michael had the spicy chicken and rice and I had the Karala prawn curry.


Next, we took The Tube back to St. Paul's and the Millennium Bridge.

The Millennium Bridge springs from a creative collaboration between architecture, art and engineering. Developed with sculptor Anthony Caro and engineers Arup, the commission resulted from an international competition. London's only pedestrian bridge and the first new crossing on this part of the Thames in more than a century, it links the City and St Paul's Cathedral to the north with the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern on Bankside. A key element in London's pedestrian infrastructure, it has created new routes into Southwark and encouraged new life on the embankment alongside St Paul's.

Structurally, the bridge pushes the boundaries of technology. Spanning 320 metres, it is a very shallow suspension bridge. Two Y-shaped armatures support eight cables that run along the sides of the 4-metre-wide deck, while steel transverse arms clamp on to the cables at 8-metre intervals to support the deck itself. This groundbreaking structure means that the cables never rise more than 2.3 metres above the deck, allowing those crossing the bridge to enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views and preserving sight lines from the surrounding buildings. As a result, the bridge has a uniquely thin profile, forming a slender arc across the water. A slender ribbon of steel by day, it is illuminated to form a glowing blade of light at night.

The bridge opened in June 2000 and an astonishing 100,000 people crossed it during the first weekend. However, under this heavy traffic the bridge exhibited greater than expected lateral movement, and as a result it was temporarily closed. Extensive research revealed that this movement was caused by synchronised pedestrian footfall − a phenomenon of which little was previously known in the engineering world. The solution was to fit dampers discreetly beneath the deck to mitigate movement. This proved highly successful and the research undertaken by the engineers has resulted in changes to the codes for bridge building worldwide.

The Millennium Bridge was featured in the sixth installment of the Harry Potter film franchise, where the bridge collapsed following an attack by Death Eaters. Interestingly, the scene is set over the summer of 1996, two years before construction of the bridge even began.

The Bridge also appeared in the 2014 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Guardians of the Galaxy during the climactic battle on Xandar.

We walked along the Thames back to our hotel from St. Paul's. It is very scenic but the cobblestones make it hard on the feet.

We walked just shy of six miles. I'm just glad I didn't count the number of steep stairs we climbed up and down to get to The Tube trains and in the restaurant. Only if my knees and feet could talk.

Another day comes to a close. Thought about all of you while I wrote the prayer intentions. Good night.

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