We had a busy week in London, leaving space for recovery, since our youngest can't keep up otherwise. We stayed at a typical english hotel, located in a row of exactly similar houses with "Upstairs Downstairs" feeling, the tv-series from the 1970's. It was a new experience, even if we are used to hostels and camper cabins. Our room was on third floor, no elevator, very good for your legs and physical condition, and no aircondition, pew. It was immensely hot even with windows open. Our view was a park with tennis courts and a newbuilt block on the other side. This is Camden, we like it here, Euston road is close but our site is quiet. Well, apart from the constant sound of sirens. Poor londoners, things happend all the time!
|The tenniscourts , some players interested our girls more than some....|
|The quiet, lovely neighbourhood in Camden|
That is why it feels smaller and less overwhelming than expected. What strikes you is the constant smell of garbage and exhaust from the non stop moving vehicles. How on earth can anyone dare to ride a bike in the middle of this chaos??? But they do....sometimes with facemask.
Along the pavements and outside tubestations and malls you find the beggers, some are probably illegal immigrants, we saw young boys in a state of heartbreaking decay, we spoke to older woman from Eastern Europe, we passed young, dirty men sleeping on cardboard with a sleepingbag and some plastic bags around them. Some had notes and signs speaking of truth, care and a place to sleep. What kind of social welfare system can allow people to live like this?
We are fighting this in Sweden, churches and social organisations together. But politically.....
Still, we also saw people stopping, taking their time to give a coin, ask some questions.
All of these people are not immigrants or illegal aliens, some are locals that had bad luck, can happend to anyone. But all of them are people, humans, sisters and brothers, someones child, someones parent, our neighbours. Our youngest had us leave every spare coin and the remains of our supper. We bought bread, cheese, juice , fruit and yoghurt with us to the room every night.
Well, this particular post will show you some of the sanctuaries we noticed this time, in a city like this people need the Even Song and the daily Mass. Next post will focus on activities.
Well, St Pancras was a boy in the 5th century, giving his life for Jesus. This is the parish church in St Pancras...they rebuilt it in greek style, the old church was medieval, I believe. Not so inviting but they had a proper bellringer!!
Around the church of St James's there was a market going on and we visited both the market and the church. The sign speaks for itself, here is a heart for the homeless. Many of the other smaller churches had similar projects going.
|You never see these in Sweden, the street sanctuaries. In the middle of everything, for a second of prayer and peace.|
|And next door you'll find the amazing dome of St Pauls. We were told that the swedish congregation in London have been invited to sing Lucia here this year.|
|Normally, this is a rather tall man....|
|As it should be in a swedish church there is a statue of Luther, this one is....blue!|
|Church of Sweden, Harcourt Street. Been here for more than 100 years now, some 100.000 swedes live in the UK, many of them, in London.|
|The final picture is from St Marks at Old Marylebone road.|
We visited more churches but didn't take pictures of them all. Most of them were open, not always the case in Sweden actually, especially not in the countryside.
What am I doing up this late? No idea, not easy to settle down again when you have been away. This evening we spent with our oldest daughter, watching a Japanese film:
"Howls moving castle." It's about love against the odds, wartime, good and evil, sacrifices and lot's of that very special japanese anime drawings and sense of humour.
Good night now, and God bless you!