Snippets from a Literary Tour

I went on a tour out of London yesterday to Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick Castle. It was a 16 hour day that was worth every pound!

 My tour guide was the best I’ve ever had. She reminded me of what accent and personality I  put on at a friend’s baby shower when I threw on the purple wig, stuffed my dress and  pretended to be a British nanny! She was passionate, demonstrative and exciting to listen  to. She had some amazing one-liners and insights that stuck with me throughout the day…

* If you want to give someone ambition, give them a sense of what they’re leaving and what they’re going to. (When talking about King Edward 1st)

* Without peace there is no art! (When talking about how Queen Elizabeth 1st created the greatest era of peace Britain had seen in hundreds of years)

* The English don’t do iced tea. If you ask for it, you’re liable to get tea with ice cubes in it. (noted!)

* This marks the 400th year of the King James Version of the Bible being translated. She told of William Tyndale’s laborious work of translating from Hebrew and Greek and how up until that point, everything in England had been Latin or French in England. This work of translation, essentially gave the country the gift of language and being able to read the Bible! “Imagine, God spoke English!” she said. From Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare: “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” (Quote Act II, Scene V). In Shakespeare’s time, 12,000 new words were added to the English language. Imagine!

* There are these flats in London just north of Hyde Park that we passed on our way out called Bickenhall Mansions. There was a time in England when the thought of having a one-level home with no garden was absurd. Picture what we in North America call condo apartments. This one building was at one time called Bickenhall House and none of the flats were selling for the longest time. When they decided to change it to Bickenhall Mansions they all sold within a week. Interesting I thought how one word can completely change our perception of something.

To see the very lantern that inspired C.S. Lewis to create the world of Narnia….To see the pub where he and J.R. Tolkien communed and shared ideas…To see the church where John Wesley began his preaching passion…To see the college where 13 British Prime Ministers have graduated from…To see the home where William Shakespeare grew up…To see the fortress that a young woman passionately built when commissioned by her father… Was amazing. It made me want to study there myself or get home and write!

I am finding that you can find inspiration anywhere, if you look for it. Be it other people’s lives. A chandelier in a shop window. Or the conversation you had over lunch. There is some nugget there that could spark, well, destiny.

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