Monday, 21 July 2008

Chris Getting To Lambeth, part 1

Today is Monday, and I’ve been in Canterbury since Saturday – I’d better get caught up or the beginning never WILL get posted.

First of all, let me thank everyone who supported all of us to actually come here- this blog will form a partial report back to you, as things are happening. The generosity of our supporters is really very helpful to us, and humbling – that you’re prepared to put your money where our mouths are.

The trains are the best ways to get around the UK, but summer weekends are times to maintain the tracks, so the journeys are not as direct. I got to Victoria station Saturday morning, muttering darkly that the Tube is NOT friendly for people lugging 25kg of steamer trunk around (even with wheels). Well they were built over a century ago… Where was I? oh yes, Victoria Station. Taking care NOT to leave anything in a handbag at the left-luggage office, I went in search of the ticket office. En route I saw a gentleman in clerics, and he saw my Anglican Church of Canada sweatshirt, and introduced himself. Gerry Loweth, from Toronto. [cue “It’s a small world after all”].

Ticket in hand, I found Platform 2 (get in the rear 4 cars, Peter at the information desk said, so I did), and there found myself in brief conversation with a grandmother + grandchild. When I said I was going to Canterbury, she asked if I was going to Lambeth (turns out she works for the University of Kent), and then she asked me if I was a bishop. Smiling quietly (laughing out loud seemed a little rude), I assured her no, I was just a hanger-on, staff person for one of the displays in the marketplace.

Train to Haversham, and then we had to take a bus (track maintenance) to Canterbury East. While I was actually in the train, I managed to get in touch with Ron by mobile phone (feeling ever-so-technologically advanced), who reported that the hotel wouldn’t let us in yet, so come to ‘3C’. Thank heavens for taxis.

3C is the Canterbury Communications Centre, our staff room which in its everyday life is St Stephen’s parish hall. There’s a great U of tables, 20 net connections, printers, photocopiers (and a kitchen well supplied with tea – I have my priorities). Most of the afternoon (230-6) was taken up with staff meetings: the UK press and how to talk to them, and differences between England / UK / US; and then a volunteer orientation session. There are about 30 of us altogether, and by the end of the afternoon, I was more than ready to go to where my bed is.

Bob and I are roomies in a self-catering cottage for 4, our housemates are from the UK.

(more later – it’s 4pm and time for an Alongside Lambeth session at St Stephens)


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