Things Long Ago

Before things long ago, this word about our stay at Jay and Judy’s house, They have a large flowering vine covering much of their garden fence.

I was not able to identify it, but the owners said:
“No problem, it’s a clematis.”

Who knew? Maybe you did.

Also, near their front door I spotted this remarkable animal.

Now, on to things older.

On Saturday, April 24, we took the train to the town of St. Albans, 22 miles north of London in Hertfordshire. En route I finished reading The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. This was the first I had read a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and as the saying goes, I couldn’t put it down.

In St. Albans we had cream tea at The Merchant, Tea and Coffee Company. A few blocks from there we passed by the old town tower.

This town was called Verulamium by the Romans. It was one of the first cities the Romans established after their invasion of Britain in AD 43.

Here a pagan man Alban sheltered a Christian priest and was converted through the priest’s life and witness. Later, Alban was beheaded by the Romans for his Christian faith, about 250, although the date is uncertain. Alban was the first Christian martyr in Britain.

An abbey and church were built here, then later this cathedral.

The church was rebuilt about AD 1100, using bricks and flint from the deserted Roman town. Some of the old material is seen here.

Beside the cathedral is a cemetery with a marker stone that caught my eye and my sense of the arts.

In the bookstore was a little book with this title: Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt. I laughed out loud, not the wisest thing to do in a cathedral bookstore.

From the cathedral you walk down to a creek and lake, the lake having many waterbirds.

Across the creek and up another slope you see remains of the city wall of ancient Verulamium.

Perhaps you have already noticed that the top of the cathedral is visible just above the distant tree line.

Back down at the above-mentioned creek is a pub believed to be the oldest in England. The foundation was laid in AD 795; the visible structure is from the 11th century. The octagonal shape is unusual.

Jay and Judy met us here for dinner and then drove us back to their home.

I did office work from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM, while the others watched a movie.

The visit to St Albans Cathedral left me with much to think about. I am grateful for the heritage of Christians like Alban who stood boldly for Christ and was willing to die for Christ. How clear and uncompromising is my witness for Christ today?

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