There are events, deeply personal, that stay with you. These may be rather insignificant to others, but to you they are pivotal. A tiny prompt such as a snippet of a song or a chance fragrance on the breeze may call to mind a first kiss, an award, or a million other things may fill your nostalgic heart with joy. The darker emotions too can be raised as well, and anniversaries of the death of a loved one, or other personal tragedy may come unwanted at intervals into your life. These each are our individual but shared lot
The shared impact of mutual experience also stays with us collectively. There are those “where were you when?” moments that seem to unite us. In my life there have been several. I was alive when JFK was assassinated, though I was too young to actually recall it. I do however remember the death of ML King and the unrest that followed; the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the shock of it on the faces of those around me; the death of Diana and the rush of several of my friends and family to London to be part of the collective loss. I can recall vividly my headteacher coming into my classroom to tell me of the 9-11 attacks and the television images of a world in horror. Now, today tens if not hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom have queued for nearly a full day will gather for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Her death is one of those defining moments as well, an event that stays with you.
The Titanic museum in Belfast is an excellent experience. The exhibit is highly detailed and takes you through the history and building of the famous ship.
The “Experience” is £21.50 per adult and there is an additional fee for an audio guide. The headset commentary, however, is wonderful and well worth the extra. Note the headsets help keep you on track through the exhibit, some visitors without this resource tracked back on themselves despite the “rope” on the floor showing the way.
The upper floor gives a view of the construction area and gives a context to the vessel’s size.
This is a huge museum with lots of walking, though mobility scooters and benches, and lifts are available. Highly recommended!
I have recently been looking into the theology of the 14th Century anchoress Julian of Norwich. At the age of thirty Julian was suffering a life threatening illness. The local priest was summoned in order to administer last rites. He brought a crucifix with him and bid Julian to reflect on it as she did she had a revelation or “showing” in which she was, according to her writings, given insights into spiritual mysteries including the Trinity and the relationship between God and His creation.
In this vision, Julian was shown all creation as a small nut which was barely perceptible in her hand. The vastness around it was God, and the tininess of the creation was clear. Yet despite this, it was the focus of God’s love. Julian went on to understand the Trinity not as merely three persons, but three relationships with which God relates to the world, and in particular His people. God is the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Lover of creation. It is this relationship and love that assured Julian of a key quote of her work: “All shall be well, and all shall be well,” because God is in control, not us.
My wife and I made a pit-stop on our return journey home from Bournemouth in order to visit Stonehenge. It was a cloudy but dry day and had just enough springtime warmth to make the outdoor stop enjoyable.
It had been twenty years since my last visit to Stonehenge. Previously we had parked in a grassy field and bought tickets from a kiosk only a short walk from the stones. When we visited yesterday, we found a paved car park (£5 to park but refunded with ticket – free with our blue badge) and a modern visitor centre with cafe, toilets, and a reconstructed village as imagined from the time period of the construction of the circle. The queue was a bit long for tickets (£20 ticket for seniors), though the annual membership and pre-order lines went faster. As the “new” centre is further from the stones there is more of a walk, though a shuttle bus also is available. The place remains iconic, scenic, and educational.
Wheelchairs are available on site, and the paths are level enough to make decent progress with a walker or said wheel chairs. The shuttle is recommended for those with mobility needs.
There are also a number of benches and picnic tables near the visitor centre.