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More fun in London

June 23, 2011

Today we journeyed with a tour group of 28 or so to Leeds Castle, Dover, and Canterbury. Leeds Castle is in Kent County, and is called the “prettiest castle in England”. It was a let down in my opinion. It does have a moat around it, where almost all other castles in England no longer have water in their moats. It had been bought by a wealthy American in the 1920s and refurbished.
From there we drove to Dover where we had lunch beside the English Channel. It was too hazy to see the shore of France, but the white cliffs of Dover were impressive. Dover Castle looms over head, but our tour did not go up there.
Then on to the main reason we booked this tour, Canterbury. The heart of the Anglican Communion and the place where St. Augustine began missionary work in Brittania, the cathedral is massive, ancient, and beautiful. Quite inspiring to be in there, to sit and pray, to wander the vast nave, to see where Becket was murdered and to visit the various tombs. It’s a special place for sure. I knocked on Rowan’s door, but he was out. I am sure he is sad he missed me.
While in Canterbury, Jennifer and I filled out prayer requests, which are read at morning mass each day at Canterbury, for our family and for Dot Fowler and her family. Dot passed away after a brief illness, at the age of 89. We got word of her passing when we returned to the hotel, although we knew it was imminent. Fortunately we had gone to see Dot when we were in Jackson for Clelie’s ordination and Jennifer’s surprise party. It was a great visit. She was her old self, funny and loving and spiritual, although she was ailing considerably. Dot, as well as her late husband Bubba, was a joy to be with and a very close friend of ours. If you’ve ever sat in church and heard Dot offer a “joyful noise” with her singing, you know a little of what heaven will be like – she sang loud and proud and the quality did not matter! How I wish we could all do the same. How I wish we could all be more like Dot – we will miss you, sugar!
Dot’s death and the passing of Catherine Biggs while we were in Israel will mark my memories of this sabbatical time for sure. I visited Catherine two days before the sabbatical began, and when I left her that day I sat in my car and cried, knowing it was the last time I would ever see her on this side of the Kingdom. She died when we were in Israel, and I was able to offer prayer for her and her children in a note at the wailing wall of the old temple, and to do that as well as offer prayer for Dot at Canterbury Cathedral, those were special moments for me. We traveled on to Greenwich, followed by river boat up the Thames to mid London.

Today we are laying low. The toll of all the walking, climbing, rushing, etc. of touring all the sites we’ve been to for weeks now, has had an impact on our ailing limbs. Jennifer’s knees are quite swollen and my left achilles is really barking at me. We are going to do a picnic in the park near our hotel and rest up, for tomorrow we are going to Wimbledon! We will ride the subway out there then get in the massive “queue”, hoping against hope to get a ticket late in the day but looking forward to the experience either way. We are told the queue is a lot of fun, and hanging out on Hinman Hill / Mount Murray will be a blast.
Here are some pics from Canterbury – enjoy!

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Categories: sabbatical
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