A LOVELY DAY IN SOUTHAMPTON AND BEYOND!
People all over town are commenting on the long string of beautiful weather (it's been clear for 3 days). Karen got a desire fulfilled and then some, and we heard the angels sing!
We wanted to be able to toast one another with wine on our upcoming cruise, but we both feared that they wouldn't have the one kind of wine we both enjoyed: Moscato. We've been looking for a bottle or two when we went out, but haven't had any luck in finding it. It won't make our trip a disappointment if we don't find a bottle, but it's just one of those dreams yet to be fulfilled.
While visiting with our Hostess Julia and her sister, Margaret, Karen asked if they knew of a wine shop we could walk to that might have Moscato. Much to Karen's surprise Margaret volunteered to take Karen around in her car to find the wine. So, off they went. It was an hour later that Karen and Margaret returned with two bottles of wine. They'd gone to the big supermarket but they didn't have it, but did have cola for Jim to have on the ship. So, off they went to the wine shop & sure enough they had it & in our price bracket! Margaret then asked Karen if it was okay if she gave her a tour of the city. Karen says they drove all over Southampton. Margaret even took Karen near the ship terminal we'll be using and IKEA! When finally arriving home she wouldn't accept anything more than a "thank you". Jules also informed us that we wouldn't be taking a cab to the boat. She was driving us, and there was no discussion about it! As in every city and town we've visited God seems to have gone ahead of us, warming the hearts of those we'd meet and helping us to be courteous as well.
There was one more thing we both wanted to see and hear as we are close to the borough of Winchester, and that was the Cathedral. So we boarded a bus to that little town and arrived about 15 minutes before Festival Evensong. We entered this incredible landmark and, like so many before us, found ourselves whispering in reverence, even though the Evensong hadn't begun. We were shocked to find that this incredible time of worship was attended by less than 2 dozen people! After the service we found a sign at another entrance to the Cathedral that invited people to witness the service close up in the Nave. We guessed that small area might have held 2-3 dozen more, still a minute number when there were easily 1,000 seats in the main Sanctuary. Oh, Church of God, we must find a way to bring people back to the worship of YOU!
The service began, and soon the pure voices of the boy-choir carried us up to and within the Holy-of-Holys as we could almost taste the purity and devotion of this beautiful offering of song. The service consisted of scripture, choral responses, and anthem and beautiful prayers. The prayers built on the Altar of song to create an absolutely wonderful worship experience. Words alone just won't be able to describe this holy place. Just let it be known that you can imagine all you want about Winchester Cathedral, and you won't be disappointed. It is that awesome. At the end of the worship we introduced ourselves to the Dean of Winchester (the senior Pastor), Catherine Ogle. She was most warm and welcoming.
After worship we wandered into the little town square of Winchester. This tiny hamlet boasts both one of the most magnificent Cathedrals in all of England AND the oldest pub in England (we didn't eat there, though) Hey, who could ask for anything more? How about this: we shared a wonderful pizza and Karen had an Oreo and Jim a Salted Caramel milkshake for dessert in a top rated pizza spot, Three Joes Pizza, accompanied by a talented guitarist outside in the hamlet square! What a great way to top off a meal, and the day!
We both took the evening's wonderful happenings with us on the bus ride home. After doing most of the packing (Karen did most of it) we were ready for bed. Tomorrow will be a big day, but it's going to be tough to beat the wonderful day that is now in our dreams. Again, we were blessed by another gorgeous day. As we were waiting on our return bus we could see the clouds rolling in. Heavy rain is predicted for tomorrow.