Punting on the River Cam ala NaPoWriMo

04April is NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, so I thought I’d try my hand at imitating that paramount educational scholar, Dr. Seuss. Of course, it’s also “Travel Tuesday,” and I really want to tell you about a few other special sites in the British Isles before finishing my series affectionately named “R’n’R’s in B’n’B’s.”..or Rambles and Reflections in Broadways and Byways of Britain.  Today I’d planned to recommend punting if you get a chance, relating all the fun Alan and I had when we toured the British Isles with our oldest sons, Aaron and Michael, back in 1999 while Michael was studying at Oxford. Cambridge grew up along the Cam River (“bridge over the River Cam”), and if you go punting there, you will enjoy the beautiful countryside as well as the magnificent buildings of Cambridge University (Oxford’s chief rival!).

03“Punting on the River Cam01Is better than green eggs and ham.02Try! You’ll like it, Sam I am!”   🙂

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1).

The Victoria and Albert: “Greatest Decorative-Arts Museum in the World”

01Every time we go to London we find some amazing new treasure that we’d never 02seen before. This time it was the Victoria and Albert Museum. It has the largest 03collection of Renaissance sculpture outside of Italy and the greatest collection of Indian ArtIndian art outside India. There are fascinating Chinese and Japanese galleries, Dresssuites of furniture, a superb dress collection and an outstanding display of IMG_2777musical instruments. ArchitectureThe V&A has also opened 15 modern galleries that explain Glove the development of British design from the 16th to the 20th centuries using over Great Bed of Ware 3,000 exhibits. “The Great Bed of Ware” from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night 05resides here, as well as the wedding suite of James II. One of the most incredible Henry VIII galleries (at least to me) holds “Fakes and Forgeries,” some of which seem to 04exceed the quality of the old masters that the forgers imitated! There are a trio of IMG_2986galleries dedicated to British landscapes featuring such fabulous painters as IMG_2917Turner and Constable. And on, and on! Really, for anyone interested in any form 08of art, not only painting and sculpture, but metallurgy, Pulpitcarpentry and furniture,Tapestry weaving and tapestries, Tiles ceramic tiles,  Embroideryembroideries,07 glassware, stained glass stained glass,  Plateexquisite dishware, jewelryjewelry… 06if you enjoy beauty imagined by the human brain & fashioned by human hands, 09 please take the time to visit the “V&A” if you get to London!

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.”    (Revelation 4:11)

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).

Lost in London: Guard Yourselves at the Changing of the Guard!

01Alan says that before we go touring next spring, he’s going to buy us a baby buddy toddler tether so we never get separated again! Know why?  Well, do you 25remember my pointing out at various places on our tour of the British Isles how Alan would meander off, lost in the beauty of some magnificent garden or05museum? Uh huh! 🙂 Well, on this lovely spring day, we all decided to take the London bus tour, and we timed it so that we would hit the stop in front of 06Buckingham Palace just in time to see the changing the guard.08At 10:30 am, we joined the crowds gathering to admire the spectacle, and before 09long people were everywhere vying for elevated spots or places along the fence12 with a good view of the courtyard where the solemnities of the guard changing would transpire. By 10:45 am the entire area was packed with a sea of people,14 and it was a bit of “every man for himself” trying to find somewhere to stand 13where  you could see more than just a patch of red behind the bars! 15Being a mother at heart, I  kept one eye on the soldiers and one eye on my sons lest they get lost,17 but once I had a bead on where they were standing, I stopped worrying & stood 18transfixed, enjoying the marvelous pageantry! It only took a matter of minutes 03before the entire event was over. The 100,000 spectators dispersed into thin air,07while Stephen, Joel, and I looked for Alan…and looked…and looked! 04The entire plaza in front of Buckingham Palace seemed pretty empty, but there 19was no trace of pater noster! “Well,” we said, “he knows we’re going to the Victoria and Albert Museum next, so let’s meet him at our London bus stop!” 20Alas, no Papa! We missed our bus, and then missed a second bus. Where had he gone? By this time, I was more than ready to find a restroom and very disappointed to discover that there are NO public restrooms near the palace! 02It was also a very brisk 60° out, and Joel and I were both freezing in the cold. What to do? Joel offered to stay and wait longer, but I didn’t want to leave him 21 alone, and I was too needy to wait any longer, so we decided to go together to the the Victoria and Albert Museum and hope to find Alan there. It was a good 23choice for us: warm, beautiful, a great place for lunch, and a wonderful way to invest some time. (In fact, I’ll show you some pictures next week.) However, we 22never saw Alan again until late that night back at our hotel. He’d needed to use the restroom too, and after he got back, he couldn’t find us anywhere. He forgot 24

to think about meeting us at the London bus, and by the time it occurred to him, we were gone. (We didn’t have international cell phones.) 😦 Alan had a relatively good day touring on his own, but when it came time to go home, two of the tube stations were closed, so he had to walk a long way to find a station, and then he forgot which stop was ours and ended up out in the country before he realized it and got turned around. Poor honey! I was quite alarmed to find that he hadn’t returned when we got there, and I was even more anxious by the time he finally made it back to our hotel, since I assumed he’d have no trouble finding his way!

27Moral of the story? Keep a firm hand (or a baby buddy toddler tether) on your  honey, and don’t let her get away!

“A man that has friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

The Flowers in London’s Royal Parks

IMG_2489With nearly 5,000 acres of parkland within the greater metro area, London is IMG_2492considered one of the world’s greenest capitals. Although Regent’s Park 08(highlighted last Tuesday) is the largest of Central London’s five “Royal Parks,” IMG_2496 Kensington Gardens and adjacent Hyde Park, St. James’ Park, and Green Park 06are all within easy walking distance of Buckingham Palace, and they’re the IMG_2483perfect place for a refreshing stroll! Instead of telling you more “facts” about IMG_2497London’s gardens, I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite London 24flower photos coupled with a few words of wisdom passed on the me from my IMG_2493daughter-in-law’s Irish mother, Sarah, via Linda’s Australian aunt, Dorthea. 🙂25 Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they’ll love you back!

Don’t expect love in return;
Just wait for it to grow in their heart,
But if it doesn’t, be content it grew in yours.20May you have

Enough happiness to make you sweet,
Enough trials to make you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
And enough hope to make you happy.19Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If what you feel hurts you, it probably hurts the other person too. Bless others, don’t hurt them.22

The happiest of people
Don’t necessarily have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything that comes along their way.28

When you were born, you were crying
And everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die,
You’re the one who is smiling
And everyone around you is crying.26It’s true that we often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone,
but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

16

Don’t go for looks; they can deceive.
Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away.
Go for someone whose life radiates love and joy,
Because their smile will make
Even dark days seem bright.
Find the one who makes your heart smile! 21Please share this message with
Those people who bring love and joy to you,
Those who have touched your life in a special way,
Those who make you smile when you really need it,
Those who help you see the brighter side of things when you are really down,
Those whose friendship is especially precious to you.30

And if you don’t, don’t worry,
Nothing bad will happen to you,
You will just miss out on the opportunity
to brighten someone’s life with this message.18“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (Galatians 5:22)

London’s Famed Regent’s Park

01If you’re a fan of British lit, when in London be sure to visit Regent’s Park,   03backdrop for 101  Dalmations, Harry Potter’s visit to the London Zoo, 11James Bond’s MI6 headquarters,13 many Agatha Christie novels, 23 Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and 27on and on. 10 Regent’s Park is so famous that it has its own tube stop, although it’s also a stop 04 on the  Red Route of the Original London Bus Tour. Regent’s Park encompasses 02410 acres of land, the London Zoo, Regent’s College, a lake with waterfowl, 09playgrounds, and boating, formal Italian Gardens, 07 and informal English Gardens, 15 although as one who is especially fond of roses, 05my very favorite retreat is the beautifully manicured Queen Mary’s Gardens 17 in the Inner Circle, which is free and open year around. There really is good  14reason for Regent’s Park being mentioned in so many stories: it’s just that lovely!12I will never be  as famous and beautiful—or have such a sterling reputation—as that of Regent’s Park, but I’m glad to worship the famous  and beautiful One whose reputation is blameless and who lives up to the God’s perfect standard of holiness: my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 29

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

The British Museum: My Vote for Best of Kind

IMG_2203The British Museum was established in 1753 and to my mind has the most IMG_2430comprehensive collection of artifacts and art works (about 8 million) any where IMG_2248on the planet because it depicts the development of human history and culture IMG_2218not simply of the western world, but throughout every continent on earth. IMG_2161Among the museum’s most revered treasures are highly contested pieces, like  IMG_2173the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon, and then there are amazing storesOxus Treasure of golden objects such as this chariot from the Oxus Treasures of Persia. IMG_2169However, for those of us who love history, and in particular those of us who  IMG_2159believe in the biblical accounts as being accurate narratives of historical truth, IMG_2236the British Museum is a gold mine, not only of gold, but of historical affirmation.IMG_2189Perhaps the most famous artifact is the Rosetta Stone, on which is written an  Rosetta Stone ancient Egyptian edict inscribed in 3 languages. This stone became the key to IMG_2170unlocking ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. There are also hundreds of finds IMG_2154 that depict or describe events recorded in the Bible, verifying the accuracy of  IMG_2145biblical accounts. The Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III is one of the most  IMG_2146famous artifacts, but it is just one of a multitude in a vast collection of evidence  IMG_2171supporting the existence of the people who became the Israelites and settled in IMG_2200the Land of Canaan after being freed from bondage in Egypt.IMG_2303If anybody is skeptical of the historical accuracy of biblical records, I think a trip IMG_2304to the British Museum might give them reason to reconsider! Cyrus really DIDIMG_2281 exist! Someone back there thought a ram really did get caught in a bush! IMG_2336Ancient women really did have mirrors made out of bronze! IMG_2373Want to see what a Roman nail looked like at the time of Christ? IMG_2258 Ancient texts?  IMG_2276Ancient musical instruments? IMG_2313How about a golden cape that brings to mind the story of Gideon making a IMG_2314golden ephod for himself to wear back about  1249 BC.? I mean, this one was found in Wales, but it proves such articles were made. I was totally fascinated!IMG_2419There are treasures from every period of history and from around the globe.IMG_2431It would take about 8 million pictures to attempt to share everything, IMG_2434and Alan wisely reminds me I need to refrain from trying to share too much infoIMG_2433since nobody has that much time, so I’ll just say: If you get a chance—GO! IMG_2144If you can spend the whole day, they have a great cafeteria for lunch or tea time. Jade BoulderI am sure you’ll be delighted with all the treasures you find hidden there, IMG_2421and I hope it strengthens your faith in the credibility of the Bible, as it did mine!

“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160).

Introducing London’s Top Sites and the British Museum

01No matter how you cut it, the British Museum is the most educational and fascinating single site in London, and it’s also one of the greatest museums in the entire world. We have a running family joke that it’s the best museum the kids have ever seen in 50 minutes (which is also, sadly, an honor that’s occurred at Florence’s Uffizi more than once, although at least you can get in free at the Uffizi if you get there that late). However, the British Museum is always free (along with the National Portrait Gallery, another fantastic resource for art and history buffs that is  very close by and well worth several hours. 🙂 ) 03The trick with the British Museum is that if you catch the tube (subway) into the heart of the city at Leicester Square (which is where we like to start in order to buy half-price tickets for an evening West End musical performance that night…look for the TKTS booth in the Clocktower building), and if you start withLondon Bus an Original London Bus Tour (my favorite is the Red tour, but the Yellow tour is also great, and of course, you can buy a two-day pass if you have the time and money and go on a half a dozen tours 🙂 )…at any rate if you start at Leister Changing of the GuardSquare and want to take an entire trip around the city, stopping at Buckingham Palace at 11:00AM in time for the changing of the guard (which doesn’t always happen, so check ahead if you hope to see it), Big Ben                                              and then if you want to hop on  and

London Eye off 04all Kids on Lion's Pawday London Bridgeto 05enjoy Marble Archall 08the fascinating markets,10exotic gardens, 09and historic galleries…Museums

well, that brings you back around to the British Museum after 4PM and gives you less than an hour to zoom through it’s seemingly endless labyrinth of great halls and passageways before it closes at 5:30 PM and you need to look for a yummy supper along Charing Cross before you jaunt over to the theatre in time for your12 evening performance (if you’re not utterly worn out by then). Ah, but I’ve done it again! It’s already late and I’ve not even begun to show you pictures of the treasures in the British Museum, but I will try to next Tuesday, the good Lord willing!13I wonder, are you ever like me…so busy trying to see and do everything that you never really have enough time to do “the very best” right? I want you to know that we started at the British Museum this time and made it our first stop when we visited London so that we finally had enough time, and I’m so glad that we did! I am now trying to keep first things first in my life! 🙂

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; beside me there is no god” (Isaiah 44:6).