I gotta tell you — there’s really nothing quite like waking up to a 60° morning, window wide open, blue skies emerging at 5 a.m., and seeing red tile roofs and church towers spreading off in the distance.
I’ve awakened to some pretty wonderful sights. That mule-cart outside my room in Brazil in 1994 comes to mind, as does the sun rising over the mountain in Greece last September, and the early-morning views in Alaska in 2005.
But for sheer bring-a-smile-to-my-face vistas, this green and pleasant land is the place:The photo doesn’t look like much, since it cannot take in the depth of color and dimension. Suffice to say that I’m just beaming this morning.
Pigeons and songbirds are noisy this morning. I’ve heard bells (at 8 a.m. now) from at least three churches. The smell of breakfast, rising from a kitchen exhaust fan, is heavy in the air (especially that of croissants). And a morning off beckons.
Her Majesty the Queen, when she is residence at Sandringham, worships at the little parish church of St. Mary Magdalene. It’s a short walk from the Sandringham house.
Since Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) acquired the house in the 19th century, the parish church as been recipient of some significant royal largesse, plus gifts to the royal family.
The silver on the altar alone could, if sold, finance my house and car!
Outside the church, in the churchyard cemetery, are graves of two young princes. Prince John, youngest child of the future George V and Queen Mary, died of epilepsy at age 13, and is buried at the east end of the church. So also is his uncle, the infant Prince John, son of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, who died at one day old.
Norwich Castle is an old Norman stronghold, and mighty impressive.
After Mother Julian and the Norwich Castle, I took some time at the Royal Arcade and the open-air market. I finally had my first fish & chips for this trip! The Colman’s Mustard shop was a fun sidebar too.
Some of the market signs made me laugh.
Dinner was lasagna:
Mother Julian of Norwich. One of the famed women of the Church.
I spent nearly an hour in her cell on Thursday morning. Tears. Prayers. Peace.
From Wikipedia: “Julian of Norwich was an English anchoress and an important Christian mystic and theologian. Her Revelations of Divine Love, written around 1395, is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman.”
The church where she shut herself away was badly damaged in World War II, but rebuilt. Her ancient shrine is gone, but the earth remains, and one feels the calm and peace when entering the rebuilt church.