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The end of July, we embarked on a three-week European vacation that began with a few days in London. Since both of Jim’s grandmothers came to America from England, and half of my ancestry is English, we are not only English by birth, but Anglophiles by choice.
For this trip, we scheduled a half-day tour of London that included the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, as well as a cruise on the river Thames. We arrived in the middle of a heat wave, and apparently the day before we arrived, guards were passing out while on duty! Thankfully, it cooled down considerably the day after we arrived. The next day in London, we spent a lovely day shopping, an afternoon having High Tea at the Dorchester Hotel, and in the evening, we went to the revival of My Fair Lady.
The highlight of our time in London was attending the Service of Communion at Westminster Abbey. As we were ushered in to our second-row seats, the magnificence of the cathedral almost made it hard to concentrate on the service, it was so beautiful. As the prayers of communion were recited and the sacraments given, both Jim and I felt extremely emotional.
We have taken communion hundreds of times, but on that day, the setting made it feel a surreal and different. After the service, I lit two candles for friends of mine who are sick and said a prayer on their behalf. The entire service lasted about 40 minutes, but the memory will last forever.
Whenever we travel, we like to purchase Christmas ornaments as souvenirs. Then each year when we decorate our tree, it is like a trip down memory lane of the places we have been to over the past 25 years. For our souvenir this trip, we stopped at the Tower of London gift shop and found a beautiful ceramic ornament commemorating the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth, which has been held two weeks before our arrival. On the front, it has the purple crown and the years of her reign, and on the sides, it has the British flag, horses and the guards.
As news of the passing of the Queen came out this week, I was so grateful for our time at the sites that are playing out daily in the news. Buckingham Palace, which was relatively quiet during our visit, was awaiting the arrival of her casket, and the wrought iron fences were turned into a memorial covered with flowers, notes, and people standing vigil. Westminster Abbey, where her services are scheduled next week, is full of those paying tribute to the end of an English era. It is amazing how things can change in the six weeks since we were there. In light of recent events, we will cherish our memories even tighter.
We always try and find Christmas items as we travel too. I thought of
We always try to find Christmas items as we travel too. Your photos brought back memories and watching the service this morning,I too am glad we were able to visit London and see all the sites.
Your photos are priceless. Thank you Diane and Jim
Beautiful photos! I love the ornament! Rick and I can’t wait to travel there someday and get our picture taken in front of the Thames. 🙂
I am glad that you had such a beautiful experience.