Source: An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

Happy to endorse and republish!

Thank you, WordPress, for many years of hosting, but I’m gradually moving all of my blog archive over to The Domain at It will still be WordPress, but it’s time for a fresh look!

This was a trip long planned, intended for Easter, and implemented at entirely the wrong time of the year, because we arrived in London with hordes of All Black supporters and a sprinkling of gold on our QF1 journey. Ironies of ironies, in that I would have cheerfully train-hopped anywhere in Britain for a game, but Dom and I both know that taking him would be a waste and I’m actually enjoying showing him around my favourite city.

Bringing Dom to London was an easy decision. He is unusually well-informed, although I would describe his reading as eclectic rather than extensive, but he keeps surprising me by making connections between the historical and geographical clues that I love to drop and stuff he knows. This is such a great city for history, probably only rivaled by Paris, because so much has been preserved in a small area; and London is extraordinarily dynamic. Once might have thought that the GFC and years of European worries would have clipped the capital’s wings, but not so. Infrastructure investment is amazing by Australian standards, business is clearly booming, and residential property is a Sydney-sized headache on a much bigger population.

Two stories that illustrate something about this city in the 21st Century; first, that I could purchase a £20 SIM for the mobile which has unlimited data. Last year, this was not possible when we were starting on the Coast to Coast, and the coverage in the north was spotty; but here, technology marches on, with fibre everywhere and satellite dishes ubiquitous. The second story comes from the observation at Canary Wharf tube station, that London has perhaps become even more dgeographically divided than ever. We hopped off the DLR, which has a democratic path from north to south in addition to its role connecting London to the Olympic development. Walking over to the rather more monumental Jubilee line station, it became clear that all of the financial minions that are the reason for the whole development are travelling west to home and hearth. Heading east, as we were, was a much smaller and less expensively dressed group. I suppose the oinhabitants of the East End and beyond should be happy they have transport at all. Let’s face it, those in power left them without much for 140 years. Such is the remnants of London’s social and economic divide, and it is still potent even as housing prices force all except the middle class of much of London.

I can and will write volumes about Canning Town, but I can tell you that its motley collection of Victorian slum housing, council flats and semis won’t survivethe March of new developments down the river. In ten years, this area will be shiny new apartment blocks with distant view of the River. I don’t know where the vibrant communities that fill the Barking Road high street with life will go, and no one would want to go back to the old docklands, but there is always something lost.

Anyway, we’re here, with sore feet after a big plod through Regent Street and Picadilly on Sunday after our arrival, and a day at the Museum of London. Monday afternoon was a wash out, but Dom’s verdict is that he is pleasantly knackered after a really good day. 

Me too.

I’m at my desk surrounded by staffing issues, wondering how to do loaves and fishes with the timetable as usual, and I’m leaving with Dom for London on Saturday. I don’t think I am at all coping: my brain hurts and my bag is not packed. For the record, and so we can keep a record (!), here is the list of things that we/he has planned. I think there are few people who could anticipate such an information intake without Museum Fatigue, and I wonder how long Dom will really last. I’m looking forward more to some exploring in parts of London I’ve never seen. I wonder if I can find a craft  beer-tasting? It may be a useful alloy to the museums, lol).

*Leicester Square

*London Eye







*British Museum

*Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard

*Jack the Ripper Tour

Any night we want to get out (see the sunset times below to see why), there are night tours

Free London Walking Tours
Free Tours of London
London Night Tours


*Imperial War Museum

19:30 Globe Theatre: Measure for Measure (confirmed)

IWM London site Free


*Tate Britain

*Tate Modern

*Fire, Plague and Pestilence Tour

Visiting TB

Visiting Tate Modern

Free Walking Tours




*National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory

*Night out in Covent Garden (pick a show)

*British Library

*Museum of London

*Westminster Abbey

British Museum Web Site Free
*Harry Potter Museum

*Pick a walk! Pub walks, Literary Walks, Canals!

St Paul’s Cathedral

*London Literary Walk (Dickens and Shakespeare)

London Walks


Hampton Court? Combined with a River Cruise (if the weather’s good) Turks Tours £7
*Natural History Museum
*Day in Oxford
*Day in Kent or Dover (could do Chartwell or Penshurst

Just had to reblog this: because it is absolutely true.

The Greenery

56 Ways to Identify an American Post-Camino Peregrino in Withdrawal

colorful peregrinos

*note to visitors: This post is about the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain and assumes a certain amount of knowledge in readers. If you’re curious, this article gives a brief overview: “Walking the Camino de Santiago: A Beginner’s Guide

1. Goodwill will not accept your used hiking boots.

2. You carry toilet paper, extra-powered Ibuprofen, and Compeed with you at all times.

3. You wash your socks with shampoo.

4. You have a fantastic tan…but only on your left side.

5. You have seen Pablito‘s special rock.

Pablito Pablito with his special rock

6. You fear cyclists.

7. You routinely approach reception desks and ask if the hotel is “complete.”

8. You hear that Alanis Morissette song in your head when you take long walks.

9. You can say “hello” in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, English, Dutch…

View original post 700 more words

There are two roads to Reeth. One goes along the river Swale, sweeping down to celebrate the rural and domestic history of the dale; the other trudges and scrambles up the valleys to where the miners for two millenia extracted lead from the narrow seems in sides of the becks and rills. The Romans exploited it and the pioneers of industrial Britain worked it until nothing was left but eroded valleys and an extraordinary architecture deep and inaccessible in the moors.



How they go up to these high places to mine and smelt I will never know. The whole economy tramped up stony paths and along pony tracks that are barely wide enough for two people; and the remains of the path we took out of Keld — ignoring the incoming Pennine Way — was a difficult and challenging scramble up one side of the valley, down into a deep vale with the ruins of a mine and a smelter, then up the other side, to the moor some 200 metres above us.

The technology used was ingenious, even if primitive. The ore was mined by damming and releasing water into the streams to wash away the soil and expose the seams, although later, adit and drives were used. Smelting was done using flues that were a combination of tubes, tunnels and chimneys running up the hillside, to cheat a draft to drive the smelters. Kids are sent into the flues when cold to collect condensates of lead and other minerals that were valuable to the companies — more valuable than the kids and the miners, because life expectancy in the area in the early nineteenth century was only 41 years, twenty less than in the rest of Britain at the time.


We walked up to the crest of the moor, where lead mining followed by gravel crushing had left the area looking like a cold climate Lightning Ridge. It will take years if not centuries for the area to recover, so we kept going downhill, glad the scrambling was behind us. We picnicked beside the road once the grass started to thicken— our packed lunches have been great — and the sun started to break through at just the right time.

We walked past more of those incredible ruins and beautiful stone bridges and started to see the country change. No wonder, for we were leaving industrial Britain and entering James Herriot country, the land that Alf White made famous in his books (All Creatures Great and Small. First, however, we had to cross the grouse moors, and one had the feeling of being watched all the time — little heads with beady eyes sticking out of the heather and sedge, watching carefully until you got a bit close, and then exploding up with that amazing cry and scaring the bejesus out of us. Taking a slash was like and invasion of privacy. As for the ones that sat on the drystone walls and inspected us as we walked past, one wondered what would happen the next time the silly bird popped over to the area near the butts.

So down into Reeth, a long but lovely ramble along the river, past the four pubs around the village green, and down to our B and B. Becca’s family have lived in it for three generations and, like all our lovely hosts, offered us a cup of tea or a cold drink when we got in. England must be growing back on me, because I now say yes to tea — in fact, I enjoy it in the morning before walking, in preference to coffee, but I’m sure that I will get a hit of espresso in Richmond!

Last night I was just too bushed to string a sentence together, such was the exhaustion we both felt at the end of the thirty kilometres we had climbed, scrambled, slipped, plodded and crawled over during the nine hours we were walking.

If you look at the map, you will understand the challenge. The walk out of the Lakes District takes you over Kidsty Pike, at 780 metres the highest point in the walk. If it were not still misty this morning, we would be able to see it behind us for the next couple of days. To get past the Pike, requires a steep climb out of glorious Patterdale, followed by some interesting navigating across the fells.



The nice couple in the picture are taking their dog for three days on the route, and we have kept meeting them along the way. The dog loves it.

We walked past tarns and lakes, and enjoyed the view all the way out to the dales, until the mist came rolling in. This made life interesting, as navigation became critical. As we walked at high level across the narrow pass of the Straits of Rigdale, following the Roman road, we were on a track ten metres across that plunged on each side.

The steep climbs, two hours into the walk were a bit much, but we were ok until the downhill started. It’s hard to explain how much energy it requires to go downhill, especially if you don’t want to injure yourself. With all our care, Paula and I both came away with sore joints from slips on the fifty degree slope.

The it was lunch, the five kilometres along Hawkeswater, and the long walk to Shap.





Those last kilometres nearly finished us. We briefly glanced at the ruins of the Abbey, but it was only the enterprise of the local farm kids, leaving an esky of soft drink with an honesty box to raise money for African children, that really got us over the line.


Thirty five kms and then a two km walk down the main drag of Shap to find our lovely BnB was the last house in the town. Very tired and weary, we were asleep by nine! What a walk, and tomorrow is longer— but perhaps on gradients that were less insane.

I should have mentioned that when the marvellous Margaret at Brookefields House saw Paula, her first reaction was to ask her if she wanted a good cup of tea (poor dear); and then didn’t recognise her when she had brushed up and had had a shower!

Next Page »