Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2012

Canterbury and the South

Sorry to keep you waiting for this last installment covering my trip to England. I spent the last full day in Canterbury and the South. It happened to be Remembrance Sunday and so I got in on an unexpected celebration in the town square, band, uniforms, and a crowd.... Through the crowd I made my way to the cathedral which was looking rather splendid in the bright sunlight with a perfect blue sky backdrop.... Inside, the congregation was beginning to gather, but I had a few moments just to soak in the beauty and wonder of it all.... The photo above was actually taken after the Remembrance Day Service, followed by Sung Eucharist in the Quire. I found the following hymn sung that day most meaningful. Both words and music strike a deep chord. Here is a video of the hymn from a Remembrance Day Service in Royal Albert Hall some time ago.... After the service I said good-bye to Canterbury and made my way to the White Cliffs of Dover, which were spectacular to say t

On the Canterbury Trail

It was my sad duty to say goodbye to C. S. Lewis' former home this morning and to the effervescent warden of the Kilns, Debbie Higgens. From the Kilns I made the trek to Whipsnade Zoo just as C. S. Lewis did in September 1931. He said in Surprised by Joy  that when he started for the zoo he did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but when he arrived he did. I know of no one else who has become a Christian on the way to a zoo. From Whipsnade it was on to Watford to visit with my friend Steve Jenkins. He gave me the tour of his narrow boat, Gentle Breeze and treated me to a very fine pub lunch. Steve's wife Anne received a very important letter from C. S. Lewis many years ago, a letter which figures largely in two of my books, The Professor of Narnia  and The Hidden Story of Narnia . I cannot think of anyone more appropriate to have a very Narnian lamppost in their garden. After lunch, Steve took me to my book signing at The Storehouse Christian

Last Day in Oxford

My last day in Oxford began with a visit to the Lewis brothers' grave in the churchyard of Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry. Upon arrival in central Oxford, I spent the morning in the Ashmolean museum. While inside the Ashmolean I discovered that one can spy the location of "The Studio" where Sheldon and Jean Vanauken lived during part of their time in Oxford. The white building in the photo above stands on the spot where The Studio once stood, or as some called it "St. Udio's". Following the aesthetic nourishment at the Ashmolean I stopped in at St. Mary Magdalen Church for some spiritual nourishment in the form of mid-day Eucharist. A trip to Oxford is never complete without a visit to Blackwell's Bookshop where I picked up a little something. From Blackwell's I strolled up Holywell, which to my mind has a "Rainbow Row" that rivals that of Charleston, South Carolina. The highlight of my day was an ho

Oxford Day 4

The day began with the sunlight streaming through my window. That is ... the window of C. S. Lewis' bedroom. I spent the morning reading Alister McGrath's new biography of C. S. Lewis. About mid-day I went out for a walk by the pond in which Lewis liked to swim. It was a bit cold for that today. The colors of the leaves on Shotover Hill were quite stunning today, but my camera hardly did them justice. The tree behind the Kilns was particularly pretty today with the sunlight glowing through the leaves. Evensong in Magdalen College Chapel was quite moving. I think the piercing sweetness of the choir boys in song will stay with me for a long time. Afterwards, I enjoyed dinner and a late night coffee with Austin from Southern California and Christine from New Zealand. That's Oxford for you: an embarrassment of riches.

Oxford Day 3

I began the day by walking past the Headington Shark on my way into Oxford. Once in town I made my way up the tower of The University Church of St. Mary the Virgin and enjoyed this lovely view of the High Street. I have tried to do some things on this trip that I have never done before, like using my Bodleian Reader's Card to see the inside of the Radcliffe Camera. Sorry I don't have any photos for you of the inside. That is rather frowned upon I think. However, I did make my way through the underground Gladstone Link (seeing the Bodleian copy of my book "Mere Theology" along the way). Traversing the underground link I "arose from the grave" into the Old Bodleian and saw parts of that I had not seen before. Beautiful! Here's a photo of the outside of the Old Bodleian.... Continuing my photographic journey across central Oxford we come to a place quite familiar to viewers of Inspector Morse and Lewis.... Not far from the Thames Valle

Oxford: Day 2

My day began with breakfast in the dining room of The Kilns with the sunlight streaming through the windows. I then walked into Central Oxford as C. S. Lewis did many times. As I saw a bus going up Headington Hill, I could not help but think of these lines from Surprised by Joy about a double-decker bus.... "I was going up Headington Hill on the top of a bus. Without words and (I think) almost without images, a fact about myself was somehow presented to me. I became aware that I was holding something at bay, or shutting something out. Or, if you like, that I was wearing some stiff clothing, like corsets, or even a suit of armour, as if I were a lobster. I felt myself being, there and then, given a free choice. I could open the door or keep it shut; I could unbuckle the armour or keep it on. Neither choice was presented as a duty; no threat or promise was attached to either, though I knew that to open the door or take off the corslet meant the incalculable. The choice appe