The Eaton Diary of London    2002  

Good Friday

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Friday, March 29, 2002

Good Friday. "He was despised and rejected"


 a day of solemn remembrance of the depths of man's hatred and degradation in contrast to the immeasurable heights of God's grace and love.

The contrast was all the more real for yet another day interacting with the spectrum of human nature which abounds in this city. London so vividly displays both the negative and the positive, the bad and the good, death and life, and the never-ending struggle between them. Added to that, it was a day to experience the joy of spring and sunshine, and to walk quietly through parks and gardens where Spring is emerging from Winter, and where nature clearly shows life's resilience in stark contrast to the decay of the man-made.

On my way to a Good Friday Service at St Margaret's, next to Westminster Abbey, I was confronted again with contrasts of human nature. On the infamous Tube again, I was enjoying the quiet journey on a bank holiday journey. Everyone seems more relaxed, and often smile and chat to partners as we proceed. Quite different from the daily reluctant commuter travellers, where we are sitting and standing in stern, businesslike silence. (Apart from those solving business or personal issues on their mobiles, of course!). Well, today I enjoyed lovely, happy people around me. I especially appreciated the sweet and subtle perfume worn by someone nearby, which was a welcome contrast to the usual assault on the olfactory nerves that one receives during rush hour travel. These delights only lasted until St James Park station however, where things took a turn for the worse. I was just one stop short of my Westminster destination, and the driver was making an announcement over the PA about Westminster being closed for maintenance, so I was thinking about my options but decided to stay on the train and walk back to the Abbey from Embankment. I consequently didn't notice a woman embarking at St James Park, and sitting down opposite me. That was until a few moments later as the train started to move out of the station, when the woman suddenly made herself very noticeable. For some unknown reason, she took a strong dislike to me, and launched into a tirade of verbal abuse for the whole carriage to hear. I don't know if it was because I was wearing a tie, and everyone else in sight was in casual gear, or what, but her language and anger suggested she has a deep hatred of all British men at least. I could have interrupted her voluminous oration to put her right about both my nationality and my parentage, not the mention the other adjectives she used, but I thought it best to ignore her.

She changed seats, moving down the carriage, to reinforce her argument that she could not tolerate another moment facing the likes of me, but she continued yelling back at me about having 'seen it all before' and ' you're just like all the others', and making sure we all knew where she thought I should go. Fortunately it was only a few minutes to Embankment station, and I was able to beat a swift retreat with those around all sitting quietly with discrete but bemused smiles on their faces.

bulletAfter a brief walk back to Westminster, I was shortly sitting in a solemn Good Friday service listening to choir singing:

"Oh my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? …

I bore you up with manna in the desert,

But you struck me down and scourged me…

I gave you saving water from the rock,

But you gave me gall and vinegar to drink…" (John Sanders b. 1933)

bulletBeing called unspeakable things by some poor woman, whose outburst probably reflected her own wounds and struggles, then seemed quite trifling by comparison.

After the service, I walked back along Whitehall to take a photo of the Horse Guard, and through to St James Park to enjoy the beautiful Spring day.

I then headed to Putney for the World Sculling challenge - a lead up race for Easter Saturday's Boat Race.

Such a beautiful spring day was far too enjoyable to waste, so I met Margie after work, and went for coffee in Green Park. 


St Margaret's Spring in St James Rowing After Work

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© Copyright 2002 H Grant Eaton  Contact: