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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fun with Friends

Our last scheduled company of the autumn left yesterday. It's been a whirlwind of people stopping by, both from Stockholm and the U.S. and it's been a great time enjoying these treasured friendships. It's also given us an awesome chance to be intentional about seeing this and that in London!
While my cousins were here we took a day and drove out to Stonehenge.
The real deal...not the one from Spinal Tap
It was pouring rain and the traffic was awful but it was good to see this age old place.
Druid cousins
It really is quite remarkable and the presentation surrounding it was very informative. From there we hopped down the road to the charming town of Salisbury with its grand cathedral. I have seen a lot of cathedrals in my day, but this one still took my breath away. Gothic architecture is so sublime in my mind. And we got to see the Magna Carta. Very cool.
Made me want to read Pillars of the Earth and the Susan Howatch Glittering Images series again. (Google it...based in fictional Starbridge, the real life setting is Salisbury). Both places were on my British Bucket list so well done us.
This past week a young couple who I first knew as university students at North Park came for a visit. I was privileged to marry these 2 just weeks before moving to Stockholm, Sweden back in 1998. It was my last pastoral act as chaplain of NPU and I'm so thankful for the ways we've been able to keep up with one another in spite of living oceans apart.
We shared a memorable final day in London with these two. We took the boat ride on the Thames that I had enjoyed with my cousins. The day was sunny and bright and perfect for cruising. We landed in Greenwich and all enjoyed the charm of this cute town down river from bustling London. We ventured into a cute sweets shop and I was dismayed to find these horrible US varietals on the shelf. Why oh why do these things get exported and imported across the pond?
That evening we made our way to a beautiful pub near where we live that some friends had introduced us to; The Freemasons Arms. We were all quite dazzled by the beautiful surroundings and I must admit, their fish and chips ranked at the top of favorites thus far. It was roasting hot inside so that was the only downside to the cozy fire and candlelit tables. But a short walk home in the night air rejuvenated us!
And finally, TANNER is doing so much better. Almost cone-free all the time, his eye is finally starting to heal a bit and not breaking open every other minute. He is handling the oral steroids so far and can be out in our garden now on his own. Soon he will be able to enjoy a run through Hampstead Heath or Primrose Hill. I'm so glad!
The weather here has been unseasonably warm and mild. It is a big contrast to where were landing in Stockholm at this time of year. Europe "fell back" (switched to winter time) last Saturday and while the day is shorter, it is significantly longer than what we were experiencing in Stockholm. I looked up the stats and while there is only a 10 minute difference in the morning sunrise times, already the sun is setting much later. Stockholm sunset is at 4.06 pm while London's is at 4.41 pm. I will take all of the minutes I can. November was always the worst month in Sweden so it will be interesting to see how it feels here, just a wee bit further south.