Chapter 10 Written / Published 18.11./25.11.15 Pics by author, unless indicated
This chapter concludes the 2015 Europe trip. Before we do, we sing from a special place on our song sheet, which leads us to an encounter with an ambulance.
Justice is still begging, having let down the innocent, both in AUS and in the USA. But God's Word stands forever. Nobody, who trusts in HIM will be disappointed.
"But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets". (Daniel 2, 28.)
10. Two Ten - barn born!
Before I create a new chapter I carefully read through the previous one. In the process I correct any typing errors or bad grammar, which I may have overlooked on editing. (Sorry, if any remain). While doing this at the start of this chapter, Wednesday 18th Nov. 2015 I played a CD in the background.
This was not merely for entertainment. It was rather to learn the songs of our 2015 Christmas Choir, which I again joined this year. The leader had given each singer this CD and encouraged us to play it often. As in previous years, this gave choir members more confidence and made her job easier.
It so happened, as I was reading and correcting Chapter 9, I arrived at the Ride-On song, sung at the church service in Bath, UK. In amazing timing, that very nanosecond, I thought I heard the words ride on sung on the CD.
Did I hear really hear the words Ride on? I wondered. I fetched the song folder and looked through each of the lyrics, if any song included these words. (We only had had two practice sessions, and it was the first time I listened to the CD.)
So it was. It took little time to find the place I had heard on the CD. But not merely the words ride on, but another phrase also came as a total surprise. I felt so excited, I took a scan: Take a look:
Lyrics from Hail to the King!
But there was more, another surprise, only a few hours after the above. It came right at the beginning of the Christmas choir practice that evening. The very first song we practiced was Hail to the King; but not from the start. Our leader commenced not only with above song, but chose to begin at Bar 20, which happens to be exactly on the lyrics Bright Morning Star...
Some will say, co-incidences happen, so what? But I say: "God knows the beginning from the end". (Isaiah 46, 10). His Holy Spirit leads and guides. How else can any rational mind explain this, or indeed find an explanation for all those quirky links that have become the hallmark of my writing?
The day after uploading the previous chapter came another. On Channel Nine TV a lady was wearing a large necklace. It was in the shape of the letter U. How could I not remember that a picture showing the letter U, and the letters C U, had featured in my writing only the day before?
At first I merely smiled at the 'co-incidence'. Only when a few minutes later another TV presenter, on TV Channel Seven, also wore a U-shaped necklace, did I fetch my camera and take a picture:
TV Channel Seven, Lifeguard and U necklace.
In Book 1, Chapter 9 (how could I ever forget?) I read this Psalm in front of a stunned congregation, at the beginning of a long, lonely walk. Lonely, but never alone!
Bar 20 didn't stop there! The next morning, Nov. 20th, I did my regular volunteer work with the German Seniors group. As I showed some folks selected photos I had taken on my Samsung, casually scrolling through the hundreds and hundreds of snaps in my camera, I suddenly saw the picture of an ambulance. I remembered having taken it about eight months earlier. The number immediately grabbed my attention - No.20.
What amazing timing, after having been spooked by this vehicle the night before, it crossed my path again 15 hours later! There's a story to it:
Ambulance No. 20
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Let me repeat the lyrics of the song Hail to the King (the first scan on this page) and continue onto the next phrase:
The Boundless bible reading for November 20th, the day of writing, links perfectly to these lyrics. The day's chapter is 2nd Peter 3. In Verse 1 the Apostle writes:
Friends, if this chapter in God's Word does not wake up the sleepy, nothing will. Peter in this chapter could well have written about today's unbelievers and their attitude toward Almighty God. Scoffers, who are mocking God and HIS Holy Word, existed 2000 years ago and nothing has changed.
Young people are no longer taught that there is a God, who created the earth and loves it and has it ALL in HIS hand. No - it all happened with a great big bang, pure co-incident, no designer, no controller, no destination. All evolved by itself. Why then could not another bang occur, ending all in a moment?
This is just what Peter in this chapter predicted. "... the heavens will pass away with great noise, and the elements will burn with great heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up" (Verse 10).
But God wants to rescue each of HIS creation, keeping HIS children safe from the destruction that is going to happen: "... [God] is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (Verse 9).
There is hope for the future. It's found four verses further in this chapter. Without Verse 13 this disturbing chapter would only cause despair and depression. A new and better life is available to all, whose sin is forgiven, whose life is under new management, who trust in God without reservation.
The Apostle gives hope to the innocent, who suffer for their faith, for standing on the truth. The day is coming for God's truth to be revealed. HE promised it:
This is where we all belong! LiFe.
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Time to Travel - let life take us to Cornwall, UK, June 2015.
The little twist at the end of the previous chapter, the close proximity of our house to Somerset Rd and Cornwall Dr, came out of the blue. It was not planned in any way, certainly not a contributing factor in the decision as to what part of the UK I should be visiting. There was a reason. I wanted to visit a little Cornwall seaside village called Port Isaac.
Better known as Port Wenn, Port Isaac is the location, where the popular TV series Doc Martin was filmed (and to the best of my knowledge still is). My wife and I love watching this show. She, like many women on and off the show, is fascinated by the grumpy, very obnoxious, local doctor, played so brilliantly by Martin Clunes.
When I watch the show, I enjoy the scenery as much as the drama, which always includes medical emergencies. How can one not watch the outdoor scenes, without imagining to one day travel there?
My daughter-in-law had visited this coastline in 2014. She had stayed in nearby Tintagel in a youth hostel on a cliff top, which she described enthusiastically as the most scenic hostel she ever stayed in.
On June 30th 2015, after leaving the Royal Dutchy train at Bodmin Parkway, the closest train station to Port Isaac, I rode my Giant on the B3266 through the lovely, green Cornwall countryside and reached the YHA around 6.30pm. There was plenty of daylight to explore Tintagel, about ten minutes away on the bike. Fish and chips never tasted better.
I spent two nights a the Tintagel YHA, which was run by a voluntary caretaker that week. As is often the case with volunteers, Mike went beyond his duty to take care of the place. He arranged for me to have my own room, because of my snoring. When it started raining, as I was away sightseeing, he brought in my washing off the clothesline. Hail to our dedicated volunteers!
My only full day on the Cornwall Coast was going to be spent at Port Isaac. The weather, unfortunately had changed. While London was having a severe heatwave, according to news reports, the first day of July looked rather moist and overcast. I spent all morning trying to arrange the next day's accommodation and train ticket.
Thankfully, the staff at the Tintagel Library was very helpful, allowing me to use their computer. (The public's P/C was out of order). All went well and within budget. Only the rain was getting heavier. Still, I had little choice but to don my yellow wet weather jacket and cycle those 12 kilometres to Port Isaac in the wet.
At Treknow I made the mistake of turning toward Trebarwith, because it looked shorter on the map. Shorter maybe, but a very steep ride down to the Millhouse Inn and just as steep back up to the plateau. In the early afternoon I reached Delabole, the only village before my destination Port Isaac.
Meanwhile, after a thunderstorm had passed over, the low cloud and fog became thicker and thicker. Back on the main road, the B 3314, I felt a little uneasy riding; not so much that a vehicle might hit me, but by avoiding me could get into trouble with oncoming traffic. The Cornwall roads, as were those in Somerset and Devon, were very narrow.
I spotted a shelter, which looked like a bus shelter. It was. Where there is a bus stop there must be a bus? There were only three buses all day. I happened to have arrived about 15 minutes before a bus was due to leave. All worked out perfectly. I left my Giant at the petrol station in Delabole and got to Port Isaac soon after.
Harbour Port Isaac, Doc Martin County, Cornwall
Everything in that famous village is in walking distance. Because houses and shop fronts don't have the wide verandas we have in Australia, there was little space for tourists to shelter from the intermittent rain. Despite this, it felt awesome to be walking on those narrow lanes, where I had watched so many dramas take place - on our TV screen.
It was only natural on my part to be imagining: Any moment I could be bumping into the Doc or his pretty wife Louise; or could it be that the policeman will be roaring by in his 4-wheel drive jeep? I had been told that an episode of the show was being filmed at the time. But considering the weather it was doubtful.
As I casually strolled down to the harbour between the white washed houses, trying to take photos without getting wet, I suddenly spotted a man, sitting in the undercover area outside a restaurant. It was right by the harbour, across from Mrs. Tishell's shop. I recognized the person immediately, an actor who plays a prominent role in the TV show.
This was an opportunity I was not going to let pass. I politely asked, if I was allowed to take a photo. The gentleman readily agreed, when a lady, dining on the same table asked, if I wanted to be in the picture? She did a splendid job. (Much appreciated, Madam).
Back at the youth hostel, there was still plenty of daylight left after dinner. The rain had stopped, the clouds had lifted, a great time for an evening walk along the Great Southwest Coastal Track, which runs right beside the YHA. The views are spectacular. The path runs right by the Tintagel Parish Church, said to be 1400 years old in original condition.
Just beyond are the ruins of the Tintagel castle, near the Camelot Castle, shown in the picture earlier. They are a major tourist attraction. King Arthur, it is believed, was born there. That evening I had this magic, ancient site almost to myself, as I wandered among the old stone walls, climbed down steep stone steps and back up to Tintagel village.
Just below the Camelot Castle Hotel was an old bench seat. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed one word, scratched into the wood:
As I left the coast of Cornwall and the YHA Tintagel the weather on Thursday 2nd July, again was wet. I had little choice but ride on and hope that it would improve as the day went on. Like the day before, it did, thankfully. It was also safer riding, because there was no fog.
At Wadebridge I had considered taking the Camel Trail to Bodmin. But on advice from the bike hire people, my tyres would not be suitable for this recreational track, especially when wet. I took the A 389 instead, which took me back to Bodmin, from where I continued on the A 38 to Liskeard.
At one point this main road runs close to the River Fowey. There was absolutely no space between the roadway and a wall of thick, green vegetation to the left. My speed of approx. 25 km/h must have frustrated traffic, unable to overtake the pedal cyclist. After a tourist bus had followed me for some distance I stopped and squeezed my bike and myself into the bushes, so traffic could pass.
The accommodation I had booked at Liskeard was one of the cheapest, self contained rooms available in the town. At £ 40 it was perfect for me, but very small. (Mr. Large might have ... )
Liskeard, Elnor Guesthouse
By mid-afternoon the sun came out, which left a few hours of daylight to take one of the quaintest little great trains I've been on. The short, half hour ride over 14 km through lovely Cornwall countryside took me from Liskeard to Looe, a quaint fishing and tourist town on the South Coast of Cornwall. (Fare £ 4.20 return).
At Coombe Junction, about half way through the trip, the train goes through a V-shaped switch point, entering on one side and reversing out on the other; a unique feature of this popular tourist train, which first transported passengers in 1879.
From Looe Station, beside the Looe East River, it was a short walk to the town centre and onto the beach. The place was crowded with tourists, enjoying the mild evening in an outdoor cafe, or just sitting by the riverside, watching fishing vessels return from their day's work.
After finishing my short visit with a meal at the Black Swan Hotel, I felt a little sad, having to return so soon from this relaxing place. Next time, who knows when, it will be an overnight stay.
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The train to London the next morning, Friday 3rd July, was crowded. It took 3 1/2 hours to Paddington Station and arrived almost on schedule at 13.38 pm. I felt a little old (and silly) having to ask a railway employee, where to find the exit from this huge, covered train station. It was busy - holiday time and weekend!
London was hot and sunny. Many locals and visitors were out that afternoon enjoying summer. It was my first time riding a bicycle in London - loved it. En route to the Thamesside YHA I had ample time for a little sightseeing. London held many memories, going back to 1968 (more later) to the most recent trip in 2007.
At Buckingham Palace I asked another tourist among the crowd to take a picture. Of course, I took theirs. Just before crossing the River Thames I paused near Big Ben, the Landmark tower at the Houses of Parliament. As I snapped a photo I noticed other people taking photos too, but not of the famous building, but a phone box.
There was a reason. A group of young people was applying their youthful, creative energy trying to cram as many as possible into one of the iconic British red phone booths.
Big Ben, London
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That same evening I attended one of only two ticketed events of the Boundless Congress 2015, the Salvation Army's 150th anniversary celebrations, held from 1-5 July. The milestone event attracted 15 000 delegates from all over the world. (Lots of 15's here!) That Friday I went to the famous O2 Arena ...
That night the Army celebrated its global heritage, with artists from five continents performing. Among them were the Hong Kong & Macau Praise Dancers, the Hawaiian Hula Dancers, the Kenyan Watula Choir, the Indonesian Bamboo Orchestra etc. The Melbourne Staff Band provided the brass music. Another Aussie, Silvie Paladino, sang a lovely rendition of "Jesus paid it all."
The sermon was by a Belgian preacher, David; spoken in French and translated into English. Another highlight was the story a South American teenager, who gave testimony to a miracle healing:
I can only speak for myself, but how could anyone have listened to Ariana's story without a lump in their throat, or a tear welling up in their eyes, as she ended her talk with the words of Jesus, which he spoke to a girl he had just healed:? Talitha cum* - little girl get up."
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Picture in tourist brochure - London's Piccadilly Circus at night.
... love it - light ... rules the world.
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It was already late, for an old bloke anyway, when after the meeting I met up with some folks from our Australian Ingle Farm Corps. It was nice to share travel experiences over a coffee or ice cream in one of the many Cafe's at the Millennia Dome. The huge complex was opened on 31.12.99 to mark the third millennia. The opening of the London Olympics was staged in that arena.
The only other ticketed event I had booked for was the musical Covenant, which was especially written for this Congress. The excellent multi-media performance by a cast from Southern California features the aged William Booth reflecting on his Army and its legacy all over the world.
The 2 1/2 hour presentation at the O2 that Saturday morning was excellent. My lack of sleep at the YHA, however, cause my eyes drop a few times, struggling to take it all in. Afterwards I happened to bump into a fellow parishioner from Ingle Farm. He knew where to buy lunch at a reasonable price - Tesco. We found a cool, shady spot outside the Dome and enjoyed a great time of sandwich fellowship.
Since Greenwich was en route between the O2 Arena and the Thamesside hostel I made a point of finding London's Ground 0, meaning the 0 Meridian Line. It's the point on earth, which divides the East from the West, just as the equator divides the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. World Time and distances are measured from this 0 point in Greenwich.
There were crowds of people and long queues. Looking on I watched visitors stand on a wide, solid line on the ground, while somebody took their photo. I'm not a fan of long queues, unless necessary, and I didn't want to spent the cash for an entry ticket, so I didn't walk the line. Just the superb views right over to Thames into central London made this short visit to the Royal Observatory Hill worthwhile.
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Sunday 5th July - Salvationists preparing to march down The Mall
The culmination of the week-long celebrations was the march down Pall Mall on the afternoon of Sunday July 5th. The 2500 participants had been pre-selected from each of the 126 countries, where the Salvation Army is active.
Six bands took part from various countries, among them Angola, Australia and the USA. I could not help thinking that this multi-national march may have seen the highest number of nations marching in London since the 2012 Olympic Games? How magic will it be, when one day - on that day - all of God's children march together into heaven.
ALL will gather before God's throne, not in colourful costumes any more, but wearing white robes, a symbol of having been cleansed from sin, through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. They will come from the East ... and from every tribe, people and language, and will cry with a loud voice:
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Monday July 6th was not only my final day in the UK, it was the last day of my mega trip 2015 in Europe. There were mixed emotions, as expected, on such a day - sad that the end had come, but looking forward to home.
It was a long track home, from leaving London on Monday morning to arriving in Adelaide Wednesday evening. I had planned it that way.
Before saying goodbye to the Thames that morning I revisited the major tourist sights - Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, No.10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace (minus the crowds) and the Tower Bridge etc. This landmark, especially, I wanted to add to the list of the world's famous bridges I had crossed by bike or on foot.
During this two-hours walk down memory lane, my mind often time-travelled, not only to 2007, but back 47 years to August 1968. Back then I was young and carefree. During the summer holidays I ventured from home with very little funds, aiming to reach the magnetic mega city in Britain, which I had only known from school or television. My mode of transport was 'thumbs up for a ride'.
Money had lasted until London, but ran out while there. And you can't hitch a ride across the English Channel easily. Stranded with O cash I was lucky to meet 2 young men from near my hometown. (This O 2 was fully intentional!) The two chaps from Koengen became my saviours. They lent me 50 Deutschmark, quite a sum in those days.
The author (far left) - London 1968 and one 'saviour'.
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Riding my loaded Giant to Gatwick Airport, about 50 kilometres away, took all afternoon. But it was a relaxed ride; the weather was fine and I had no particular schedule to meet, since my plane didn't leave until the next morning. Looking back, I think, I did not find the shortest route, but I found something else on the way.
Readers may have noticed, when compared to my earlier crazy writing, in recent books I have refrained from picking up trash and making a song about it. However, on my way to Gatwick, somewhere in Surrey, a broken registration plate beside the roadway made me do it. But I only took a picture:
LV 10 - G U
The one thing I needed to find, before my flight to Munich very early on Tuesday July 7th, was a box to transport my bike in. Enquiring on my arrival 9 days earlier, I had been told there was no guarantee of a box at the airport; and if there was one, it would cost £ 25. I need not have worried. A kind man at the bike shop in Horley, a former champion bike rider, sold me a box for £ 5. ( I save £ ...! Many thanks.)
From his shop I actually could walk my bike through the back entrance into Gatwick Airport, juggling the giant box at the same time. All went well, except a few problems, trying to fit the bike into the box. It was too small. But, besides sliced bread, plastic packing tape is the No.1 invention of the 20th century. It saved the day.
Having arrived at the airport early in the evening I found a comfortable recliner chair in the terminal, which was my bed for the night. Later more and more travellers arrived, who soon filled all available resting places. Obviously, like me many were booked on early morning flights. By 4.30 am the airport terminal was already a hive of activity. The six hours lay-over in Munich were much quieter, so was Dubai, from where I caught the final flight back to Australia.
I did not take many photos during that long track, but one Departure board at the Dubai International Airport virtually begged for my attention. While every other passenger's destination was listed on that board, somebody forget to list Adelaide? Take a look:
Numbers and more numbers, enough to drive a man to think!