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July 10, 2002

Subject: England Trip - letter #3

Dear Friends,
Thursday (7/10/2002)has been a very full day. I continue to make observations about those living here and comparing to those from "America" as they say here. The extensive use of cell phones in London by persons walking down the street, riding the escalators, the tube and in restaurants is exactly the same as in the USA. However, I have learnd that life, indeed, can go along very well without an activated cell phone in my pocket 24/7 as long as I have web and email access at least twice daily.
I have managed well with the little power transformers that you must use to charge video camera and computer batteries and operate electric shavers. My CPAP machine was a bit of a challenge for one of the two transformers that I brought over, but the other one works just fine.
I am becomming accustomed to small toilets that are about 20 inches wide by 4 feet long and have sinks that must have been designed for Barbie and Ken's home. Traffic traveling down the left lane remains somewhat of a stress, but I really appreicate all the paint on the streets which counsels me to "look left" or "look right". These valuable advisories have repeatedly brought me an additional margin of safety. I have to think very carefully each time I cross a street - cars seem to come out of nowhere! I finished reading the biography of Charles Wesley at 2:30am. He and his brother had quite a life and somewhat stormy relationship. The more I read about them, the more real they become to me and not just figures out of history.
So far I have avoided some of the more widespread American cuisine, Starbucks, KCD, McDonalds, Pizza Hut but did secummed to Safeway. It is a great source of fresh produce and fresh squeezed orange juice.
This morning I wanted an early start to the Wesley Chapel. I accomplished that just fine, but I made an egregious error. I took what I thought was a Circle train at the tube and was happily counting my 11 stops until Moorhead. All of a sudden it reversed directions and I learned that I was heading back to my origin and was actually on a different train that shared the tracks with the Circle train at my point of origination. I an now much more careful about which train I board. The dealy cost me about 30 minutes, but it remained an adventure.
I was pleased to compose the complete melody line for Psalm 25:3-9. This is the Psalm reading for the first Sunday of Lent, Year B (next year). I still need to arrange it for choral and organ. Today at the chapel, I played for several tour groups who came through. Normally the Charles Wesley organ in not touched except on Sundays, I have learned. One group was from Boise ID and the other was a large group from Indiana being lead by the Methodist Bishop who came up and had a nice conversation with me.
Dinner tonight was Leak and potato soup, lamb steak, new potatos, carrost, peas, green beans and brockley. Desert was watermellon, fresh strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream and two shot glasses of iced tea. Roger C., they have the same mentality here as in Calgary to charge for each individual glass of tea.
For tomorrow I have selected Psalm 16:5-11 to pen a musical setting. This is Lent 2, year B.
On the local news front, our Hillory has her counterpart here in the UK. Cherie (Tony Blair's spousal unit) has been speaking a lot in public, saying that they are sending too many people to prison here. It is too crowded and therefore they should not be doing this any longer. She is quite a pistol, I guess, from discussing with some of the locals. Today the Church of England announced that they will no longer prohibit divorced persons from remarriage. However, there are conditions that the priest must apply as to its propriety for performing the ceremony. At first glance all thought that Prince Charles would finally be able to marry his beloved, but it seems that the nature of their relationship will not permit compliance with the conditions - for either of them.
I had a nice conversation about politics with a local gentleman at the cemetary. He is not much of a President Bush fan. He even referred to "President Blair". This is not a compliment. He sees the Prime Minister as a puppet of our government. I told him that we generally liked Mr. Blair and that I personally was very impressed with Margaret Thatcher. He did not approve of her very much either.
I ended the evening with a short 10 minute interlude on BBC2 with a gentleman playing a Bach prelude and fugue on the piano. How refresing!
I am off for the night and look forward to a great day tomorrow.
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