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Dr John Hawkins

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St. Blaise's Day

Posted on 2005/02/04 13:21:29 (February 2005).

[Thursday 3rd February]
On a bizarre whim, I took the afternoon off work to go to a church. Yes, you read that right. Following on from my recent Burns Night, I'd been rather keen on finding an obscure day of the year to have an excuse for a celebration. I thought perhaps a Saint's day might be a good place to look. So obviously there's St. Patrick's Day, but that's already widely celebrated, and a bit of a cliche. St. George's and St. Andrew's days don't seem to have much happening, so these seemed both like potential candidates... but I wanted to go even more obscure than this. So after a bit of searching on the web, I happened upon February 3rd - St. Blaise's Day. St. Blaise (or Blase) was "famous" for removing a fishbone from a child's throat apparently, so has become a sort of patron saint of people with sore throats. Having had a sore throat for a while, this had already caught my eye... but better still, it seemed the only place that celebrated this was St. Etheldreda's Church in London where they hold a "Blessing of the Throats" ceremony. This just happens to be next door to one of my absolute favourite pubs (Ye Olde Mitre), and just round the corner from the Whisky Society. In fact the Whisky Society use the crypt at St. Etheldreda's for some of their functions. So the overall level of appropriateness (if that is a word) was just too hard to resist.
I arrived at the church around 2ish, and found I'd already missed the ceremonies - there was one held at 8am and one at 1pm. Still, I did have a look around the interior, which I hadn't seen before, and is very nice indeed. Somehow just being there on the correct day seemed sufficient to satisfy my interest in this bizarre event. Naturally after this entirely wholesome action, I had to bring about some kind of balance by going for a few drinks. I started off in Ye Olde Mitre, which was as downright other-worldly (and yet lovely) as ever. From there I went for a bit of a wander, and happened across a modern but still very nice little pub/restaurant called the Gunmakers. A further wander and I found another interesting little pub called The Jerusalem Tavern. To round off the afternoon I headed over to my club and had a selection of very interesting malts - a Hakushu, followed by a Bowmore, and then an unusually Ardbeg.
I headed back at 5 something to meet up with Chie. In the evening we went out for a curry with Nozaki and a couple of his students, as a sort of congratulations meal for them handing in their dissertations, or something like that. I didn't totally understand, but the curry was very good indeed.
Took a few pictures during the day...

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