London Journal – Tuesday, June 17

“For he (Apollos) vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” Acts 18:28

This is the same work we do in London, except that the interaction here is not with the Jews but with people of another religious persuasion. We have many quiet converstions in homes and at book tables on the streets, but where appropriate, we also debate vigorously and refute arguments, proving, as Apollos did, from the Bible that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, the Savior of the whole world.

Today JoLene and I had the day off, so we took a bus tour of the Cotswolds, west and northwest of London, an area of rolling hills, farmland, and old villages, with all buildings and stone fences made of tan limestone rock taken from these hills.

“Swan” seems to be a favorite theme in England. We had a fresh trout lunch at the White Swan Hotel in the small village of Bibury, and afternoon tea, with scones, clotted cream and jam at the Swan Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. (Tell Marlene Barley about the scones and clotted cream; she would have been right at home.) Stratford-upon-Avon (that is, the Avon River) is so called to distinguish it from three other Stratfords in England. It is, as you know, the birthplace and retirement home of William Shakespaere. I reflected on the many plays of his that I have seen over the years. But despite my admiration for his genius and his writings, I decided not to spend the money to tour the house that is his birthplace, but contented myself with looking at the outside and having my photo taken in front of it, the behavior typical of tourists all over the world! I think some tourists must go home with 800 photos of themselves.

In a woolen shop in Stratford I fingered a beautiful pullover sweater, made of cashmere, priced at 130 pounds, or $260, and once again I kept my money in my pocket.

Stratford-upon-Avon is not in the Cotswolds proper, but in the area just north of it.

I saw several birds in the villages of the tour. The Yellow wagtail (looks a bit like a tiny mockingbird, but with yellow on the breast and under the tail) may actually be a new species for my life list. I will have to check the list when I get home.

On the ride back to London I finished reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame by the French writer Victor Hugo – which I had never read before. It is a story both of the cathedral and of people. It deals with religion, social customs, superstition, love, loyalty and jealousy. I found it compelling; some of the images still haunt me. It has far more substance, depth and enduring value than the Disney movie.

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