Monday, January 26, 2004

January 25

I met a very interesting chap today, a man by the name of Alan. (that's A-lan, not ALL-an or a-LAN, but A-lan) We went to Leckham this morning for church at the little Baptist church there, and there met the most delightful group of people that I have encountered thus far. The pastor there, a fellow from Romania, introduced us as the students from "USA", but Doug Horseman (our "parent" while here) quickly corrected him on that note. There are about forty members of this church, and every one that we met was truly welcoming and friendly. As a church, they had invited us to stay for lunch, so we sat down, expecting the normal meal of soup and buns that churches provide for groups. Lunch started with soup and buns, and continued on to include sausage rolls, mini pizzas, jacket potatoes (baked potatoes), salad, veggies, and a couple other things. And the desserts... brownies, chocolate cake, puddings, fruit salad, cheese cake, some sort of yogurt/sour cream cake, etc etc. It was one of the best meals that I've eaten upon arriving. Cara and I sat across the table from this gentleman, Alan, who is one of the most inviting and funniest souls that I've come across, I"d have to say that he's my favorite thus far. He regaled us with stories from his childhood, tales of his camping across Europe, anecdotes of his grandchildren and descriptions of his wife, whom he married four years ago. A fantastic story teller, to be sure. I'm quite sad that their church is a forty minute drive away, I should like to go there again.
Twekesbury Abbey was next on the list this aft, and we behaved like such a group of tourists! I have to laugh at our group all the time, we try to act all nonchelaunt and pretend that we're not tourists, but there is really no hiding the fact when we get out of the van at places like this and immidiately twenty cameras come flying out. It is a very grand place, it's the largest parish church in England, I would believe (it's classified as Parish church and not cathedral, though). The only thing I could think of when I walked down the nave was, "where's the rest of the redeemer choir when I need them?" I would have given anything to sing Crucifixus or O Vos Omnes or the like in there, to hear the acoustics. I figured that just singing the Alto part really wouldn't do the Abbey justice at all. The organ that is there was built in the 16th C, I think? At any rate, it's an organ that John Milton used to play, I thought that was pretty interesting.
I saw a kneeling bench to the side bearing an inscription that I very much like: "More is wrought by prayer than the world will ever dream."
On our way home, we stopped in Burford so that some could get some supper, and while Sam, Tina and I went off to find a Loo, two nameless people in our group decided that they would like to stay in the van while people got their suppers. The van started to get chilly, so one of them turned the key in the ignition to turn on the engine and get some heat, but --it's a standard, and the e-brake wasn't on-and s/he didn't have his/her foot on the clutch or brake or whatever one is supposed to do--and there was a little red car in front of the van. Suffice it to say that when the three of us got back to the van, we were a little confused at seeing a red car parked on the road almost horizontal to the van, and the van not where we had left it at all. No harm was done to the car, but we all had to sit tight while insurance forms were being filled out and all...the policeman came, the witnesses fillout out their info, and we went home, breathing a little less easy than before.
All in all, a fairly decent day. The sun came out from hiding yesterday and for most of today, so that did a lot to brighten the general mood of the group. We are now entering what is to be the coldest month of the year, we sat at around 0 degrees C today, which is quite chilly because it's so damp. Snow is forcasted for tomorrow. !!!!! :) How exciting!

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