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Friday, July 04, 2008

First from English parts

"Mum, when are we going to get 'examined'?" L asked AFTER we got through the passport section in Korea. She has travelled so well in all the time changes and hours sitting on planes and in queues. On a twelve hour flightyesterday I had to work hard to get her to get out of her chair even 3 times. When we arrived at Heathrow I was grilled by the immigration official about being a minister and why my partner was in Japan. I wasn't sure if it was laid back chatting while the scanner chugged away (everything moves slow at Heathrow) or that I genuinely looked suspicious. I admit I felt dreadful. Whatever the case I was just relieved to have been pulled out of a 2.5 hour queue (because I had a child) just 30 minutes into the wait. It has been sooo lovely to see M&A and their 3. B has completely lost her Aussie accent and the children all look at me queerly when I talk about patting the rabbit (should be 'stroking') etc. They are so cute going off to school. M took a day off today and we talked lots of family and emerging church stuff in the car as we travelled the country roads from Daventry to Coughton Court. The tiny 700 year old church in the country village near Daventry (where the gunpowder plot was hatched) was more memorable than the tourist driven Stratsford-upon-Avon we finished the drive at. It is too cold to meet in during winter so they meet in the town hall. The village homes are complete with thatched roofs and window boxes. Tomorrow we are off to Legoland for a completely different experience with all the children very excited. G, J is into star wars - we'll have fun there and with the roboticworkshop, I think! I'm hoping we sleep past 4 am tomorrow morning. L and I had watched "The other Bolelyn girl" on the plane so we have theHenry VIII/Elizabeth I story fresh in our minds... At Coughton Court (hometo a loyal Catholic family) we saw the gown (and death mask) Mary Queen of Scots was executed in (macabre, truly) and a beautiful cloak embroidered byCatherine of Avalon after she had been discarded by Henry VIII. The cloak was a very Catholic statement of faith. I found the indoor 'heritage' interesting but oppressive. I think I know why the family handed the property over - how could you possibly live in such a place with all those forbears hanging over your shoulders with every meal, walk, conversation??Such a huge focus on preserving the 'relics' of the past seems to me a frustrating and tiring task for the descendents of a family. I love the stories, but when the past clutters every corner there is NO space to enjoy the present or dream of the future. A highlight today was the walled garden at this National Trust property. We walked lots and basked in the joy of all the summer flowers in both rain and sunshine. Yes, it does shine in the UK!

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