Thursday, November 4, 2010

the pilgrim way

From Canterbury still, but leaving tomorrow morning. Mark for London, me for Lincoln. The EEE goes with Mark, so I won't be posting for a few days.

Canterbury is a walled city, though the wall is down for about 2/3ds of the way. A good part of it is still walkable, and that's how we came from the train station to our friends' place. Opposite here is the view from their front door.
It's a school, no public admission. Used to be St. Augustine's Abbey. That's the gatehouse in the photo.
Presently, nearly half the population of Canterbury is students (about 30,000), with the University of Canterbury and the University of Kent, and various schools.

Perhaps relatedly, there are a lot of pubs.
We've eaten twice at the Parrot, where I had pork-belly with mashed potatoes and candied black pudding and crackling and broccoli and green beans and carrots. So good. Transcendent. The second time I split mine, and was able to try out puddings (desserts)--the four of us split Eton Mess (meringue, whipped cream, strawberries, raspberries & sauce), Banoffee (digestive biscuit crust, sliced bananas, toffee & choc drizzle), and chocolate mousse.
I had my required English cream tea, so that's taken care of, at Tiny Tim's Tearoom, 'the quintessential English experience' they say. The name is because there's a haunted room, where a volume of Dickens is supposedly always pulled out and left open to the same passage with Tiny Tim. I was a bit disappointed to visit the Ghost Room and see that the book on the table was a book about hauntings and not Dickens at all. And I couldn't hear the mysterious laughter and whispers of children because they have a student film continually running, which has a soundtrack of children whispering. Harrumph.

Less corporally, yesterday I went to a service at Greyfriars Chapel, a lovely Norman stone building straddling the river. About 20 people attended, at least 5 being Franciscans (wearing brown habits--the information board on the ground floor explains about Grey Friars wearing brown or black). I was one of the youngest there, except for a young woman with her 4 yr old daughter, who was remarkably patient during the service.
The homily was for Richard Hooker, whose anniversary it was, and prayers were made for President Obama and the newly-elected representatives, thence down to the local council in Canterbury, and names provided by the congregation members.
I didn't take pics of the interior - it seemed a bit rude right after the service (followed by tea and biscuits), but it's a fine small open space, whitewashed walls and wooden beams. It sheltered Huguenot refugees once, who used the beams for their weaving, which is pretty cool.

There is much else I could say, but Mark wants to check his email, and I need to get some sleep.

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