Dear Jack Column November 2022 UK Trip

The recent death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth of the UK and the Commonwealth of Nations brought back memories of our visit to the UK.  So many landmarks, building, and streets still looked familiar to me.

This adventure all started when our pastor asked my wife and I if we were interested in a Parish Holiday in England.  He gave us a brochure to read explaining what is a Parish Holiday.

After reading the brochures our interest increased in a trip to a village in southeast England.

The people offering a parish holiday were planning to use the money we paid to stay in their homes and travel each day to special historical places would be used to refurbish their 1,000-year-old church.

Seven members of our church decided to participate.  So, in June in the late 1990’s we flew to Heathrow Airport outside of London.  Then by rail we traveled to Cobham in the Province of Kent southeast of London.

To determine which household we would stay at, we previously had sent a letter to the Cobham church members describing ourselves.  They met, read our letters, and choose which residence would house us.  The choice they made worked well.

Each day we would travel as caravan to a place in the historic Province of Kent.  These were full day excursions.  On returning, we were hosted at one of the members’ home for a formal dinner.  Our knowledge of the table etiquette was graciously reviewed, that is how to use the silverware on three sides of the plate.

What an enjoyable time anticipating each day’s field trip.  Some of the notable places were Westminster Abby, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Rochester on the Thames River, early wooden shipbuilding factory, rope making factory, and a theater production.  Off the top of my head these are some the tours we took.

We decided to stay an additional five days in London and were able to visit and take self-guided tours of the following: Stonehenge, more churches, central London and Piccadilly Circus.

We attended church services in Cobham Church, which dated back to the year 1000 A.D.

Notable people of the medieval and renaissance period were buried in the church floor.  A brass, full sized image of each person was inlaid in the floor.  People interested in these burials would bring sheets of thin paper to lay over these images and proceed using a piece of graphite “rubbing the brass.”

Our host and hostess were formally dressed in a suite and dress each day.  We appreciated their gracious presence.

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