Monday, I made a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral. Chaucer’s classic Canterbury Tales describes it quite accurately,
“…Some other of the more disorderly pilgrims clearly had not learnt to conduct t
hemselves in a church. They loitered along like stray goats, staring at the rich gifts stored in the cathedral and peering up at the stained glass windows with loud exclamations…pretending to read the coats of arms emblazoned upon them, after the fashion of the gentlefolk, whose duty it was to have a good knowledge of such things.” Evidently tourists haven’t changed much in 700 years!
The day also included a trip to the white cliffs of Dover, where the weather was clear enough to see all the way across the channel to France. The cliffs really are WHITE, and the lush green vegetation is supported by 6 inches or less of soil. It shouldn’t surprise me. In the medieval town of Canterbury, “Keys of Heaven” flowers were growing right out of the medival stone wall that surrounds the old town.
Well, I finally made it to England. The weather has been damp and rather cool, but it hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for exploring. On Friday, we went for a long stroll from Mom and Dad’s place through fields and hedgerows, down narrow country roads and over the rolling hills. Around every corner, there was some artifact or building with a history that stretched back for centuries. The highlight was this church, complete with ancient gravestones and towering oak trees. I expected Friar Tuck to step out any minute.
Today (Saturday) we went into London and briefly saw some sights before splitting up. Mom and sister went to a play, while Dad and I took an extended journey to city’s outer suburbs. We were searching for the “Monument to the Unknown Scout,” erected to commemorate the good deed that brought the Boy Scout movement to America. It is at Gilwell Park, a sort of “Philmont” equivalent that was Baden-Powell’s headquarters and today is a scout camp/national office for the organization. Dad took this photo of me next to a bust of B.P., inscribed with the words “Chief Scout of the World.”