Category Archives: UK

Radlett and St. Albans ~ the heart of Herts!

Spending the weekend down south in Radlett, Herts visiting old family friends, Fred and Sheila, it’s quite a place – and they’re quite some friends, known ’em all m’life!

Got here yesterday Saturday, early afternoon just as the synagogue worship was finishing and everyone was streaming out onto the main street. Seems that in the 2011 census, 28.3% of the town identified themselves as Jewish…..  I even had time to check out Christ Church, Radlett which was having a fun day for Brownies…. well they all looked happy enough!

And this morning a few miles up the road to St. Albans for Sunday worship at St. Albans Cathedral (Abbey) which according to their website is “the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain. It stands over the place where Alban, the first martyr, was buried after giving his life for his faith over 1700 years ago – more than 200 years before St Augustine arrived in Canterbury.” – that’s some history eh?!

We had Choral Eucharist, and well y’know, it was really quite something!

And y’know most English people are really quite camera-shy, but thankfully not Fred and Sheila, and here they are with family ‘n friends…. aren’t they just lovely?!

Thanks for a great weekend you guys ~ not just wonderful meals and great entertainment, but also a Choral Eucharist, Rotary Club Quiz and a rehearsal for the local operatic society…..

Amazing people – amazing place :0!

The Devil’s Punchbowl ~ yep it’s a real place!

What a place! Down in deepest Surrey, far from the madding crowd…. found myself there yesterday for all of 5 minutes ~ and the sun was out ‘n it was stunning!

It’s rather disturbing name turns out to be the stuff of lots of legends, and the one promoted at the site is that the Devil, in his spare time, hurled lumps of earth at the god Thor to annoy him. The hollow he scooped the earth out of became the Punch Bowl. The local village of Thursley means Thor’s place….

A must-see kind of place – what a view!

Ah London ~ so much to see, so little time!

My first day back in the UK with a long list of things to do, including the major excitement of laminating the group photo of last month’s House of Bishops in Taiwan – so with that excuse and clutching my large rolled-up photo, off I go to the big city!

Underground train to London Bridge and a walk along Tooley Street to Tower Bridge, and London City Mission – when I lived there many years ago, it was well, like not exactly the highest class area of London – now though the area is all done up, and the old derelict wharves by the river all turned into high-class apartments…

Laminating fortunately takes 30 minutes, so there’s plenty of time to explore…..

Then over Tower Bridge to the Tower of London, currently hosting the most amazing art installation of ceramic poppies called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War I – just my sort of art, plenty of colour, not too abstract – lots of obvious meaning and enthusiastic community participation!

And along the river towards London Bridge via what turned out to be St. Magnus the Martyr Church, and then up to the Monument, built to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666 – hey y’all, this tower has just got to be the bargain of all London, all of £4 to get in, climb up 311 steps and the views from the top are magnificent! Forget the Shard @ over £30 per ticket – this is THE building to go up!

And up and over London Bridge, quick call in at Southwark Cathedral and home!

Home currently these 2 days is with my good friends Tim and Sarah and their family. Tim was in Tanzania while I was there, and last night we went to Westminster Central Hall for a very special evening, hosted by the Britain-Tanzania Society and the Tanzania Development Trust, in aid of a really worthwhile project (in conjunction with the Anglican Diocese of Mara) to build a Safe House for women and girls escaping from FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) in Mugumu, Tanzania – a town I know well, ah such memories!

The Safe House project leader, Mama Rhobi Samwelly was there last night from Tanzania, plus Ann-Marie Wilson from CMS and 28 Too Many Organization, and Fahma Mohammed from Integrate Bristol ~ they all spoke very movingly about the need to work to end this terrible practice of FGM, mostly happening in Africa and in diaspora communities around the world….

But actually the only photos I took at the event were of the yummy Tanzania foods – more memories!

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And so the Westminster after dark…. what a great place!

Ah London, so much to see, so little time…

But thanks Tim and Sarah for your wonderful hospitality, and to you all for your support!