A year ago, we were in the United Kingdom with our dear friends, Margo and Jeff. We simply had a lovely time!
I recall our excitement, leading up to the adventure, and the initial planning of the journey…which transpired over Dragon’s Milk Beer…in a Pub in Carbondale.
It was the Holiday Season and Aaron, Jonathon, and I were fellowshipping over a few pints…in the true spirit of the UK!
When we arrived at Gatwick Airport it was but a short ride to our friends flat. After a few hours of necessary rest…we were ready to explore Redhill, which is a quaint picturesque English village.
I recall, fondly, the Chocolate Shop and the delicious confections that made it back to the flat.
For the first few days…I did not drink any coffee…and I was amazed at how easily and readily I fell asleep.
On our first foray into London we happened upon a Hat Shop, one of only two in the grand city that sell handmade hats, and Mary Jane and Jonathon and I came away with our prized chapeaus!
One of the first items that caught my attention, at the Hat Shop, was the prominently displayed bottle of fine scotch. After looking at it longingly, for some minutes, I inquired as to its’ availability? As we each purchased a hat…I enjoyed another shot.
We had the most interesting diner in London at a Turkish Restaurant. This was after enjoying a grand performance of the Play, Showboat, and meeting some lovely friends of Jeff’s, who were from Israel and ministers.
Our next stop was the renown University City of Oxford. This town, captivated my attention, as I was sitting listening to our tour Guide speaking of the grandeur of the ancient University…I experienced deja vu…and felt that I had been there before.
The Pubs in Oxford are famous in their own right. The Eagle and Child was the famous Watering Hold for C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien. We dined in the back room where they met on a regular basis as members of the Inklings, ‘The Inklings was an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, for nearly two decades between the early 1930s and late 1949. The Inklings were literary enthusiasts who praised the value of narrative in fiction and encouraged the writing of fantasy.’ Wikipedia
Stratford upon Avon was our next stop. There we saw the most engaging and somewhat frightening performance of Dr. Faustus. Jonathon and I sat so close to the stage, in the Theatre in the Round, that we at one point became part of the performance when a piece of chalk, that Dr. Faustus was using to mark on the stage, flew out of his hands and landed on Jonathon’s lap!
The Theatre was constructed to represent the Globe Theatre in London. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company’s performance…was like nothing that I have witnessed in it’s chilling and realistic portrayal.
From Stratford upon Avon it was on to Edinburgh. This city was a delight! The Arts Festival called, The Fringe, was a gathering of thousands of Arts Enthusiast and hundreds of extremely diverse performances.
Upon our arrival, we dined at a Mexican Restaurant…yes I said a Mexican Restaurant…where I assisted a gentleman in a wheel chair to his feet, to facilitate his ordering at the Restaurants counter. He was such a warm and inviting person…I felt immediately at home in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh became one of my favorite United Kingdom cities as it’s charm and allure got hold of me…much as a dream…that you can not forget…and want to return to.
On our way back to Redhill, we stopped at York. This town was special in its’ history and beautiful spirit!
On our last night in York…I was privileged to join my friend of over 45 years, Jeff, at a business meeting that he was conducting nearby. I was honored to be able to say a few words regarding our lifelong friendship and to witness the friendly and lovely people that had come out to hear his story of ‘Rags to Riches’…or as I like to say…A True Horatio Alger Story!