Saturday, June 13, 2015

England: Holmsbury St. Mary

Dearest Readers,

I have been trying to get you up to speed on my movements with my school group around England. The last stop I related was Penshurst Place. After Penshurst we were driven to a village called Holsmbury St. Mary in the middle of the English countryside. In order to give you a sense for the 48 hours we spent there I will share an excerpt from an email I wrote to Sheldon about it. It has been slightly redacted so as not expose any exchanges too personal in nature.

Dear Sheldon, 

I have finally gotten a hold of internet again! I am in Canterbury. I am so sorry I left you in the dark for these two days. Our hostel didn't have internet. I did write you a big fat letter though. You just have to give me your address. 

Today we traipsed around the castle at Dover. But the past two days have been by far my favourite. First we went to Penshurst Place and toured the beautiful medieval grounds and gardens. Then we arrived at our hostel in the middle of nowhere with no internet. It was glorious. We sat around reading our books for class, taking classes and in between we got lost on the moorish forest paths. 
In the evening no one had anywhere to go or any internet to distract, so we stayed in and read quitely in the main room. I went for long rambling runs in the mornings with a friend and had some solo sketching times in the evening light.

Yesterday I was feeling upset in my spirit and I needed to leave the company of everyone else. I took my sketchbook and prayer book out onto a path and did some talking with the Lord. It was very helpful. I also got to sit and sketch some of the remarkable exposed tree roots on the road. 

Went running again this morning. Saw a view of the entire countryside. It was gorgeous. I am actually reminded often of my home in the Czech Republic while here. Its not unsimilar. 

Please respond soon and let me know how we can consider a Skype talk soon. This Costa Coffee shop seems like it could be a good spot. I know that you are available in the later evenings. 

Dear One, I am always yours. 



Here are the sketches I made while there:

1. This was form the first day. I snuck off to explore the woods as soon as our bus stopped at the hostel. I plopped myself down on a stump and sketched. 

2. This is from my devotional escape. I haven't finished it yet, which is why it is quite lightly shaded. The notes in blue are from a class. 

3. A group of us decided to read one of our assigned reading plays out loud. We sat around in a cluster of benches and stumps in the afternoon sun and read T. S. Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral. It is a strange play. I kept having to ask the others to pause and explain what was happening. Drawing this sketch of the bushes across from me helped me to focus and not get fidgety during the times when I was not required to read the part of Knight #1. 

 4. More tree roots from my solo pilgrimage. These always make me think of two things: 1) The first time I was in England my mother took hundreds of photos of the tree roots. When we returned she spent hours making a beautiful pencil drawing of one of the photos. It still hangs in our living room, 2) It reminds me of Alan Lee who did the drawings for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. He was the visionary artist behind the design of many elements of the films. He designed Arwen's necklace and the swords and some costumes and even set pieces. He is amazing.

Well, as my favourite British female comedian Miranda Hart likes to say at the end of her show, "So long and thanks for joining!" 


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