Scott Cawelti

About Scott Cawelti -

Scott Cawelti was born and raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He taught writing, film, and literature at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) from 1968-2008, and has written regular opinion columns and reviews for the Waterloo / Cedar Falls Courier since the late 1970s.  He played for years in a folk duo with Robert James Waller and still regularly performs as a singer/guitarist/songwriter. Scott continues to teach as an adjunct instructor at UNI.



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  • FINAL: DAYS 25 AND 26

    • Posted on Oct 31, 2013 by Scott Cawelti

    I.O.W.A. in London
    Sun/Mon Oct. 28/29 

     All good things must end, as do all bad things, and our good thing ended a  day late on Tuesday the 29th.  We were scheduled to fly on Monday afternoon—American Airline Flight 47 from London to Chicago, to be exact. 

    Weather for Monday in London turned mean, however, as we began to discover Sunday afternoon.  By Sunday evening, AA was suggesting that passengers consider rescheduling. Hurricane-force winds were scheduled to roar across all of Southern England most of the day Monday.  Many morning flights at Heathrow were already canceled by late afternoon Sunday.   

    Angeleita called AA, and immediately talked with a live representative who asserted our flight was “grounded,” so we should reschedule our flight for  Tuesday.   Which we did. 

    Nothing wrong with another day in London, especially since AA was not charging for the change.  And we were on the same flight, same time all the way to Waterloo—just a day later.  

    So as a FB user asked:  What does one do in London during a terrible storm? 

    Answer:  the storm wasn’t really all that terrible.  The powerful winds (70-90 mph)hit further south (four casualties, in fact) but London was just seriously windy for the morning.  By afternoon, the sun peeked out and the winds had died down.  

    So we tubed over to Trafalgar square, home of the newly installed blue rooster: 

    The striking sculpture will sit for a few months on a platform (“plinth”) then will be replaced by another avant-garde work. 

    This large rooster supposedly symbolizes the male domination (rooster!) of British power and influence.   Not sure many visitors get that, but being the most colorful object in the Square, it certainly grabs the eye.

    Of course the Square is most famous for the Lord Nelson Column, all of 169 feet high, and commemorates Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805—killed by a sniper’s bullet.   Still, he was a naval hero who presided over major British victories and they honor him with this column, which was completed in 1843. 

    Also on Trafalgar Square sits the National Gallery, where we spent two hours wandering the galleries of masterpieces ranging from the 13th to the 20th centuries.  Unlike the Tate, they allow no photographs, so I can’t do much more than relay the shivers one gets when encountering real Rembrandts, Michaelangelos, Carravaggios, Leonardos, and on and on.  Always an exhausting high.   And it’s all free—as are all the state-run Galleries in London.  

    About fifty feet from the National Gallery sits the Church of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.  On Monday this venerable old building hosted the BBC2 live broadcast of the “Best Young Chorister in England” competition.   Only in England. 

    Eight young singers—four female and four male, ages 11 to 14, sang two short pieces apiece for a live BBC2 radio audience and a full house in the church.  It was a shock to hear these kids sing high-end vocal repertoire ranging from venerable hymns to Mozart, Bach, and Handel, with spot-on pitch, tone, and timing, to the accompaniment of this large organ and piano. 

    Now get this:  the male winner was Luke McWatters, son of Vanora Bennett (McWatters), daughter of William Bennett (Wibb) the great British Flautist that Angeleita interviewed on Tuesday, and one of her best flute friends.  See previous posts here for photos of Wibb and Michie. 

     What a proud afternoon for them all.  Luke McWatters is a wonderful boy singer—and I can’t help but wonder how he will sound as an adult. He could become a force in the vocal world. 

    We went out for dinner with Wibb and Michie afterward to a fine Indian Restaurant near Oxford Circus—and that ended our for-sure final day in England. 

    Then home Tuesday afternoon on AA Flight 47 to Chicago—uneventful but cramped.  Felt stove up on arrival, and unable to sleep, being six hours ahead.  
    Iowa's midnight is London's 6:00 a.m.   

    Thanks to our Beaver Ridge Circle neighbors Tim and Peggy Gannon, our mail and house were safe.  Being Irish, they needed a couple of souvenirs of Belfast. 

    And so ended our 25—oops, 26—days in London.   I did write a column for las Sunday’s Courier—see the next blog post—that captures what it meant to mingle with all these high-end virtuoso musicians.  

    That was the best part of the trip.  And seeing London as an I.O.W.A. comes in a close second.  

    Idiot?  No, an Innocent Out Wandering Around. Thanks, readers, for taking the trip with us.  

    I do read and appreciate all comments, and will reply if appropriate.  


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  • Day 24: I.O.W.A. Tourist in London

    • Posted on Oct 27, 2013 by Scott Cawelti
    Day 24:  Saturday, 10-26
    I.O.W.A in London--Packing Up  

    Packing Sunday, flying to Iowa on Monday, so this will be my last blog from London.   Will offer a final reflection on Tuesday for Day 25.  Terrible storm 
    coming to England tomorrow--90mph winds, heavy rains.  So we may be delayed, but hoping for the best.  

    Yesterday we spent a good part of the afternoon and evening with Wibb and Michie Bennett, starting at the Borough Market to eat and off to various sights of London we hadn't seen.  

    Here's the Borough Market--a Saturday food fare that harks back to medieval England.

    Food venders from everywhere descend to offer an unbelievable array of eating options.  Here's Angeleita ordering a bucket of tandoori chicken which she loved:  

    Just outside sits "The Shard," an aptly named glass high-rise just completed last year. It's the tallest building in Western Europe, rising 1,016 feet above street level. It's a shocking departure from everything around it and provides a viewing platform 72 stories high.   Wish we had had  time to get up there.  

    A little old and much lower to the ground, Shakespeare's Globe, and there's Angeleita directing people inside: 

    And nearby sits a pretty convincing replca of Sir Francis Drake's "The Golden Hinde,"  the legendary galleon that circumnavigated the globe in 1577-1580.  
    This particular replica was used in several movies, and now sits docked as a tourist attraction.  It has a propeller, by the way.  

    We drove by "Cross Bones" known hereabouts as "The Prostitute's Graveyard," where woman (and all manner of paupers) which closed in 1853 because it was presenting a public health hazard.   Some 15,000 bodies are buried there in unmarked graves, and since the 1990s a few Londoners have honored the poor buried there with ribbons, beads, notes, and a monthy ceremony.  A sad, haunted space. 

    If you enlarge this photo, you can see the "Cross Bones" sign.  

    On the opposite end of tne class spectrum,here's the "Royal Albert Hall," site of major performances since Queen Victoria opened it in 1871, and where the 1956 Jimmy Steward/Doris Day Hitchcock film "The Man Who Knew Too Much" was partallly shot, 

    Finally, we Wibb Bennet drove us to the flat where Geoffrey Gilbert lived and worked when he taught at the Guildhall from 1946-1969.  166 Glouster Terrace: 

    Finally, we had to return my beliked blue guitar to Wunjo's to retrieve half of what I paid for it--25 pounds, to be exact. Here's a memorial picture, and I did play it enough to justify the cost. 

    Day 25 from Iowa.   

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