England 40 Years Ago — March 21, 1982

A dozen eggs and one small boy is a potent combination. I wondered why he was content to play with a shoe box all the way home, then found it was the EGG box! It could have been worse, I guess, for he only cracked two and broke one over an old quilt. The quilt needed washing, anyway.

Seeing a baby asleep on an aeroplane isn’t an uncommon sight, but I wonder how many parents see their little ones using a plane as a pillow? $ couldn’t “hatch” his big Fisher-Price aeroplane as he does all his matchbox toys, so he chose it for a pillow, and thereby slept on an aeroplane in his cot.

Much to $’s and John’s pleasure, we took a local train from Reigate to Reading sitting in the last seat on the train, watching the world go by backwards. It was fun to see towns we know by car from a different angle. There were eight tracks going through the Reading station – the center for all trains going West. To speed things up, we took the express back to Redhill, this time in the front seat where we could see the tracks.

Our friends, Barbara and John C, came to spend the day with us Saturday. Their two red-headed boys love trains and thoroughly enjoyed the new layout John had completed at 3:00 a.m. that morning. For that matter, $ was intrigued with it as soon as he saw it and the girls as soon as others began playing with it. After our noon dinner, we went for a long rambling walk past the golf club and looping back around through the town. It seems to be the thing to do after a heavy meal, except at night when it’s dark. We found out that John C grew up across the main highway from here and knows Walton quite well. He remembers a windmill that was one of the few things demolished by a flying bomb in the war. He was also aware of some of the nobility who had put the golf club on the map.

After our ramble, we had a hearty tea – more like a Sunday supper. The children certainly put away the food, probably because of the exercise and having more familiar foods to choose from.

I’ll bet Vivien would be surprised to find he was a direct answer to prayer. We and Philippa were all ready to hop in the car Sunday morning, but the car wouldn’t start. Both John and I tried it repeatedly. John walked in the house in disgust while I gave it one more try. When it still balked, I said, “Lord, if you want us to go to church in Chichester Cathedral, then you’ll have to get this buggy going.” With that, Vivien tapped on the window, suggested we push the car to the front door, and use a hair dryer on the spark plugs. I took a photo of the proceedings. The car sprang to life, and off we went. A one-second prayer resulted in a five-minute miracle.

Despite our late start, we parked a few yards from the church and walked straight into an elderly man who guided us to the steps of the choir. He instructed a younger man to seat us where the GIRLS could see the BOYS singing. There were six men and eleven boys, five of the eleven wearing glasses. The choir was perfectly balanced, and their diction was so good that I understood every word. The slideshow below shows the steeple, the separate bell tower, and an area inside where repairs were being made.

We felt this cathedral, though one of the oldest in England, is the most progressive. They have preserved the ancient parts while constantly adding new things. There is a small side window by Marc Chagall, a flag that Sir Francis Chichester had flown on his boat, and a brilliantly coloured tapestry woven in 1966 hanging behind the altar.

The shopping area of Chichester is still enclosed by Roman walls, and much of it is for pedestrians only. We saw the market cross – a Gothic structure with clocks – at the cross roads in the center. In a long row of shops was an ancient church that took our fancy; it had been turned into a delightful little religious book shop. We ate a delicious dinner in a restaurant called the Vicar’s Hall, housed in a former church building.

We then drove a short distance to the ruins of Fishbourne Roman Villa – a huge place that is now partly covered by a town. It’s amazing what the experts can deduce from rubble. The introductory film put forth the educated guesses as to when the various parts of the buildings were erected, how rooms were changed, the name of the owner, the fact that children of high-born parents lived there, and that the decaying building was destroyed by fire. They had carefully uncovered the oldest mosaics in England made when St. Paul was preaching around the Roman Empire!!!!

Mosaic at Fishbourne

Below are photos showing a mosaic at the Roman villa and a mug decorated with an image from the floor. We bought the mug 40 years ago and still have it in our collection.

13 thoughts on “England 40 Years Ago — March 21, 1982

  1. I always love to read about your adventures! What beautiful cathedrals with such rich history. … and My favorite part of the story was your one second prayer and brought about the five minute miracle! I just love how God works! 💞

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  2. Getting to this post late, but loving it. I can just see the mischief with the eggs. Like me, I bet you began to instinctively worry when things were too quiet with him!

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    1. Oh, yes! John’s mother said she was ashamed of herself for jumping to conclusions, but she told the story anyway. When the house was too quiet, she told her daughter Barbara, “Go see what Johnny is doing and tell him to stop.”

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  3. I loved Chichester when I spent time there as companion to an elderly lady. I have a painting of St Richards Walk a side way into the cathedral by local artist. After Florence, this is my favourite place in the world.

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