I know we are supposed to be cruising the Baltic, and we are, but I wanted to reflect a little more onI know we are supposed to be cruising the Baltic, and we are, but I wanted to reflect a little more on Cambridge. Originally, we planned to make Cambridge a day trip from London, but since our experience in the London flat was less than desirable we decided to leave a day early and spend it in Cambridge. We are very glad we did. We stayed in a great hotel right on the River Cam. We did some laundry in the bathtub, enjoyed a lovely walkabout in this University city, and had a laugh at breakfast watching cows sauntering by our window on the other side of the River Cam.
Cambridge University has a few famous alumni: Wordsworth, Isaac Newton, Tennyson, Darwin, and Prince Charles. Famous achievements, such as being the first to model DNA, splitting the atom, and discovering electrons all took place in the city of 31 colleges. The image of King’s College, shown below, was taken from across the River Cam.
The River Cam has been relished by students and visitors for many years. The featured image shows how punting on the river is still enjoyed today.
Once again, we experienced a beautiful choral Evensong at Great St. Mary’s Church. The old church’s acoustics amplified the organ and voices. It is always a great sensation to just close your eyes and let the praise sweep over you. This will probably become a practice for us throughout our Great Adventure.
C.S. Lewis has been a significant influence in my life. In 1974 I read his book, “Mere Christianity” and decided to give this Christianity thing a try. There have been ups and downs along the way, but I find truth in this journey.
At the age of 10, Lewis announced to his family that he would now be known as Jack. I guess Clive Staples just did not have the impact he wanted. Jack was a professor at Oxford University at Magdelen College. Later Cambridge created a position with him in mind at Magdelene College. Interesting that the names of the two colleges at two different Universities differentiated by only the addition of the letter ‘e.’
The first image below shows the windows of his college rooms. Since I am a romantic and storyteller, I can easily be swept away with what amazing conversations could have taken place behind these windows. The fantastic movie, “Shadowlands” with Anthony Hopkins playing Jack, gives some hints at what might have taken place.
The second image is the Madgelene Chapel where Jack would take his turn speaking to the students. The very kind porter (college gatekeeper) led us into the chapel and pointed out various plaques about Jack on the ageless walls. He said, “I wish he was still here. We could use him today.” Wouldn’t it be nice to have Jack’s voice cutting through the craziness of today?
I feel blessed to have had the opportunities to visit several ‘Jack Sites.’ Years ago, when we were in Oxford, I visited his house, the Kilns. This is where he and brother Warnie lived as bachelors for many years. They wrote books, responded to many, many letters, and did the usual bachelor thing. One of Jack’s letter correspondents was Joy Davidson, who eventually became his wife and lived out her life at the Kilns with him and Warnie.
Marsha and I had a pint at the ‘Bird and Baby’ pub where the Inklings met on a regular basis. Can you image sitting amongst Jack, Warnie, Tolkien, and other brilliant people as they energetically ‘critiqued’ each other’s work?
We also visited their small, empty church in the neighborhood. We sat in their pew for a while. I climbed behind the pulpit and grabbed the sides of the wooden top to be touched by some more history. Jack and Warnie didn’t enjoy ‘church music’ and would leave early and head to the pub. Gotta love the boys.
And then, when we were in Belfast, Marsha found the newly dedicated square to Jack with bronze statues of several Narnia characters. At the entrance to the square is the large bronze statue of Jack opening a wardrobe door.
I guess I wanted to write more about Cambridge so I could once again reflect on my spiritual Uncle, Jack.
Next post will be stories from our Baltic Cruise … I think.
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Preston & Marsha
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