London Journal – Saturday, October 18, 2008

Today was a day off, so we took a bus tour to Stonehenge and Bath.

Stonehenge…in a way it is underwhelming – just a circle of really big stones in the middle of a grassy area. You have to stay in a walking area and cannot touch the stones. And it was cloudy, windy and cold.

But the narration on the individual speakerphones told the larger story – that the first work on this site was done before the great pyramids of Egypt were built, that the erecting of the huge blocks must have taken 600 workers, and that we are still uncertain about the precise use of the site. For me it was a deeply moving experience, a meaningful connection with other humans far removed in time and culture.

Imagining the original structure was not easy for me until I saw this mural.

Then on to the city of Bath, to see the hot spring and Roman ruins and modern excavations there. Here is a view of the natural spring, where the water comes from underground at a temperature of 114 degrees Fahrenheit.

And here is the Great Bath. The water level is on the same level as the city was in Roman days. The stone steps and the bases of the pillars are actual stones from those days, i.e. from 100 to 400 A.D.

Actual spring water comes out of these imaginative spigots.

I tried a glassful. It was warm and had a mineral flavor hard to describe and not all that palatable. JoLene, not feeling venturesome, declined to try it. I found that half the glass was enough for me.

The return trip from Bath to London took nearly three hours.

By bedtime I had finished reading C. S. Lewis’ space fiction book Perelandra. Have you read it? If so, what did you think? It presented me with profound challenges to think about the nature of good and evil, the essential nature of temptation, the distortion by the tempter of God’s good intentions, the beauty of God’s goodness, and the surpassing greatness of his wisdom.

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