Hiatus: A change of scene enhances our lives, but we still call Australia home!
To travel and observe the wonders of God’s creation and the accomplishments of our fellow global citizens enrich our minds. Our recent privilege to tour the British Isles and walk in the steps of our forebears was an exhilarating experience, our own history etched in the places we visited. The moment we stepped upon English soil, we were infused with a sense of homecoming. To cross bridges spanning the Thames from where our fathers embarked and view the fine architecture of such buildings as Westminster Palace was to turn the pages of a high-school picture-book. To stroll through Westminster Abbey and see memorials to kings and queens and people such as David Livingstone and to honour his memory was thrilling. To enter the musical world of Andrew Lloyd Webber in a grand theatre at West End was a dream fulfilled. To stroll through St. James Park, designed centuries ago, and like those who went before, delight in the spring blossoms bursting forth, all the while mingling with folk, from every corner of the Commonwealth, feeding the ducks and birds. To relish Cornish pasties and clotted cream on fluffy scones in Devon a treat to rival the tasty Yorkshire pudding and roast beef in ‘Ye Old English Pub’. How surreal to stand upon the steps from which the Plymouth pilgrims departed on the Mayflower, enter villages, meander through the narrow winding streets, and pass timber and daub or stone houses that stand as witnesses of people past and present going about their everyday activities, such as fishing, boot-making, baking, pedalling haberdashery, and books. To sail across Lake Windermere, and Loch Lomond, guarded by a snow-capped Ben Lomond, be dwarfed by stone castles and cathedrals with their ancient stained glass windows generated thankfulness. To gaze over green paddocks, marked off by gorse hedges and dotted with sheep, to gaze at myriads of daffodils dancing in the breeze, spot a great buck in the wild was wonderful and transported us to the times and places where the great English architects, painters, poets and writers were inspired. To be entertained in century-old homes and listen to the music of the bagpipes, thrill to see the grand construction of the rail bridge of the Firth of Fourth engineered by a great-great-grand-father, reside in a hotel, once a hospital for wounded soldiers, including a grandfather injured while at the French Front in 1917 was spine-tingling. No wonder our heartstrings tugged as we retraced the paths of our forefathers during our celebration tour. Indeed, we’re thankful for our heritage, but we’re equally happy to have returned home to Australia to bright sun-filled days and warmth, to be surprised at dawn by the kangaroos and koala in our own backyard.