Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prisoner of Circumstance - Giveaway

My fellow blogging buddy Nadine has just published her novel Prisoner of Circumstance and is having a giveaway at her website.

Please stop by her site and support the artistic endeavors of our fellow sister blogger.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Other Parts of the UK

I have not been real fond of posting a ton of pictures...they take forever, so I have just chosen a few of my favorites from the rest of my journey.

I went to a bunker here which was so incredibly creepy. They kept it the same as it was when they were planning on using it. It was hidden in a bunch of trees and was underground of course, so it was musty. Beds hung on the wall on one side, and battery operated radiation packs hung on the other side of the hallway. The place was huge, it had a hospital, offices, men's sleeping quarters, women's sleeping quarters, officers quarters...everything.


I went to Colchester Castle. It was built on temple Claudius. This is where I learned some interesting stuff. I took so many pictures of churches during my trip to the UK, and one thing I noticed was this:
Not too many churches (at least the traditional and older churches) have any Christian symbolism in them. I also was told, and I can believe it from my experience with people I met, only 3% of GB's population are actually true Christians. Many people worship as "the king" would worship, and worship the king, therefore making them Christians by default (I guess). Anyway, king worship is a way of promoting loyalty to the "imperial family."

Anyway, back to Colchester. At the castle I learned that Emperor Claudius kicked the bucket and temple Claudius was built to worship him as a god, but others saw the temple as a tyrannical and the natives got restless...and kicked Roman booty (led by one irate woman, Boudica. I nicknamed her Bootykick). There is actually a movie about Boudica...they had the chariot from the movie in the castle...it was awesome.

This was the most fascinating part of the castle. It was the dungeon where people accused of operating in witchcraft were taken to be tortured until they gave up names of people with whom they associated who were witches. They had recordings of people praying in the night and they cast shadows on the wall of it...it broke my heart.

After the castle we went to an artsy little cafe next to a GORGEOUS clock museum.

This is a scone with clotted cream and strawberry preserves. We would call it a biscuit, but never in my life have I ever had clotted cream...it was divine.
Tymperleys Clock Museum...it closed just as I walked up to check it out.


Chelmsford is a huge shopping town. It has an outdoor mall like I've never seen before. The shopping there was fantastic. It's not the same old stuff at every different place you go...everything is unique. Now there were a few chains...but not many. I actually found a store that I had never heard of before (because I haven't visited Bolder Colorado in ages) called Lush. It has beauty supplies that are all natural...I loved it...and they were cheap...even in Euros...lol.

Of course I was wandering down some alleyways there and spotted this lovely church:


There were a couple things I loved about my visit to Stock; I could walk through the entire town in about 30 min, and it was beautiful.
I went to a lady's home there and was invited to drink tea in her chapel. Yes, she had her own chapel in her yard. Chapels there are not what one would think of here. Chapels there are places where boy scouts would meet...not a place to have church. She had OLD diary's and photo's of boy scout meetings...it was great to go through them. I saw a picture on the wall which reminded me of what boy Scout's used to be about...I took a picture of it...it's not that great, but it is a picture of Jesus with his hand on the shoulder of a boy scout.

This is an old church in Stock that I absolutely adored...it was made with so many different materials...it was fabulous!

This was the best. I was sooooo very homesick from week 2. Then I met up with some people from an organization I belong to and they made me feel so at home and maybe even a little more homesick in a good way. It was hands down the best time I had in my visit to Europe. I saw a different side to pastoral work...one I haven't seen since I was a teen in a Baptist church in a very small town. My first trip, after service Pastor Patrick Zimba invited me over to his house for tea...which meant...full on dinner. After dinner we talked, then went out to some homes of people in his congregation to pray for them. I will never forget...Pastor Zimba said "we visit my people when they cannot come to church. They like to visit for a long time, and we have people to see, so we will have to go in and bless them (pray over their family) and leave. I'll let you do that." GULP...did he just tell me that I have to pray over these people. Once I calmed down from the shock of having to pray over people I don't know, I readily accepted my duties. Then I got into the house. IT WAS LIKE CHURCH ALL OVER AGAIN. There were like 3 different families in one house...can someone turn on the air 'cause I'm about to pass out! I survived and actually enjoyed it. Then we went to the next house, then we went bowling...lol. It was great...I lost. lol

I was invited back the next week to speak. I was a bit nervous...I talk fast when I'm nervous, but I made it through. Then we went to lunch and as we were waiting Pastor Zimba pulled me and another couple out and said "we have to go." It was the oddest thing, so I replied "is this a mandatory fast." hee hee We left and went to another family's house to pray for a young lady there, then went to eat. I watched Pastor Zimba take another couple under his wings and begin to teach them different things...it was so odd, but so beautiful, and so real.

Pastor Patrick Zimba, Me, Apostle Shinkolo (from Zambia)

I gave up my vegetarian ways for a chicken dinner. I was informed that in Africa, a chicken dinner is a way to show a special occasion or an honorable gesture. I felt honored, and was honored, in so many ways.

More of London

Entering London, the first thing one notices is the writing on the road. I think it is very kind of them to do this, after all, they don't have to...we don't...lol. In spite of the giant directions printed on the road, I can't tell you how many times I looked the opposite way.

I went to London for the weekend. I initially was invited to a retreat in the country, but I then received an invitation to speak at a church in Harlow the same weekend, so I opted to stay in London rather than retreat...I am sooo glad I did too.
I stayed at the Cumberland near the Marble Arch on Oxford St. I actually went to Hotels Direct and booked through them...it was a bit scary because they tell you that they are offering you a four-star hotel at this awesome rate, but they also say they can't tell you what hotel it is until you actually confirm and pay for your stay. I took a deep breath and did it. Now, I am a more traditional person...I was really hoping for antique furniture and such, but that's not exactly what I got. It was a pretty cool hotel room, but I am glad I was not with anyone. The bathroom was frosted glass...not too frosted though...you could see right through the door...lol...the shower of course was glass...I'm surprised the toilet wasn't glass...lol...I just remember being soooo nervous that I was going to wake up late and the hotel staff was going to come in while I was in the shower...or something...lol. It was small...I think they call it a twin room which is smaller than a single room, but they made great use of the space, and even though I am not fond of contemporary decor, I did enjoy my room. The main level had a hopping night club which woke me up around 12am, so I got up, got dressed, and went for an evening stroll around the streets of London...yeaaah...it was beautiful, and alive still. People shop at all hours there. I didn't stay out long; I got back around 1:30 and went to bed.

This used to be at the entrance of Buckingham Palace, but now it is the entrance to Hyde Park.

I am a pretty curious person. When I travel, I just like to go wherever and see whatever happens before my eyes; but, I have to say, this was one of the creepiest streets I walked down.
On the left is a picture of some kind of bird bath looking thing. It was in a little bank nook where they housed their ATM machine...so, I'm still a bit creeped out 'cause this street had so much Gothic architecture mixed with strange religious-yet-non religious symbolism, a ton of Masonic stuff, then as I left that nook, just up the street I happened to look at sign on the side of a building...that is the picture on the right. I was ready to find another street at that time...lol.

Another thing I love to do is walk down alleys and through open doorways...you can find the neatest stuff in the nooks and crannies of London. This picture is in an alleyway off Oxford Street...there was a sign just beyond the archway that looked like it was saying "hi" and welcoming me in...lol. The cutest restaurants were down that alleyway and a couple shops.

TEMPLE BAR - The gateway to the city of London


Sorry about the blurred tube sign. St Paul's was such an incredible church. I sat through one of their services...didn't do communion though...I haven't sipped from a community chalice in a VERY long time and all I could think of was a flashing memory of seeing floaters in the wine when I was a little girl...traumatic I tell ya, but I can respect those that went forward.
Now, I half expected to see a little old lady sitting on the steps of St Paul's and singing feeeeed the birds...toppins a bag, BUT, all I got was the site of some peeps kicking back and enjoying the day. I did go inside, but couldn't take pictures, so I purchased postcards...even the postcards did not do the place justice. I have one post card of a black and white picture of London burning all around St Paul's, but St Paul's remained untouched. From what I understand, the reason is because Hitler gave orders not to bomb it...he was saving the Church for himself...along with Buckingham Palace. I had coffee in the Crypt...mmmm.

Something huge was going on here this day...there were tons of people there...camera's and such. I so wanted to know, but never found out.


As I wondered somewhere around the vicinity of the hotel, I found the cutest little school building.

More Old Buildings

That's about it for my journey to London. My next post will finish up with pics of the other parts of my UK trip.