Although London boasts not one but two magnificent and very lickable Anglican cathedrals,neither of them received my mark in the months following the start of the bet. For someone who lives in London, this was very poor form indeed, and news of it heartened Adam greatly.
The euphoria gained from licking Norwich Cathedral in May had diminished, probably due to the fact that the bet’s 5-year time limit had made me cocky. I could afford to lick at a leisurely pace. Licking St. Paul’s and Southwark now seemed too easy.
All this changed when my girlfriend, Lisa, came to stay. On our way to the Globe Theatre one evening we passed Southwark Cathedral and I bashfully mentioned the bet, telling her of my future licking intentions there.
“So how many others have you licked so far?” she asked, and was horrified to learn of my laziness. Whipping out her camera phone she ordered me to lick the place immediately.
Her enthusiasm was heart-warming and the following day we made a detour past St. Paul’s aswell to complete the London leg of the challenge.
As fine a cathedral as it is, St. Paul’s scores very poorly on the taste front. It is rank. This is hardly surprising given the amount of pigeon crap, dirty tourist breath and car fumes that must have soiled its stone over the centuries. It is worlds away from the morish Norwich and tender Southwark.
Following news of these two licks many people asked me why I had forgotten Westminster Abbey, and the simple answer is that the Abbey is not technically an Anglican cathedral but a “Royal Peculiar” church. This means that it is under direct juristiction of the British monarch rather than a bishop. So there. Still, I did lick the place just for the hell of it, just to be safe.
I actually work right next to Westminster Abbey and once heard a splendid story from its history that always makes me piss myself when retelling it –
One of the many to have the honour of being buried in the Abbey is England’s oldest man, one Thomas Parr, a Shropshire farmer who supposedly lived from 1485 until 1635. At the age of 120 he travelled to London to visit King Charles I, but died of excitement upon arrival. What a guy!