William Wordsworth, who died in 1850, is buried at St. Oswald's churchyard in Grasmere, England. Also buried in the churchyard are Dorothy Wordsworth (his sister), Mary Wordsworth (his wife), and his children, Catherine, Thomas and Dora Wordsworth. Eight yew trees by the churchyard wall were planted by Wordsworth.
Today we left Cambridge and made our way to the Lake District by coach. We will stay in Keswick the next few nights and enjoy touring there and at nearby Grasmere. The scenery here is breathtaking.
This afternoon we made our way to Grasmere, England, where our first stop was Dove Cottage-- home of poet William Wordsworth from 1799 to 1808. Some of Wordsworth's most notable works were written at this house, which had been a roadside tavern before he and his sister, Dorothy, moved in. Wordsworth married during the time he lived at this house and others also lived there with the family, including Samuel Coleridge. Many personal items belonging to Wordsworth and his family are on display in the house.
Another highlight during our afternoon tour of Grasmere was visiting the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop located next door to St. Oswald's churchyard. The story of Grasser's gingerbread dates back to 1854 when Sarah Nelson made the tasty treats in her cottage home, which now houses the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. I really enjoyed visiting the shop and purchasing some of the best gingerbread I have ever eaten. I also enjoyed the delicious rum butter.
I like to meet people-- no surprise there. In all my travels, England is one of the friendliest places I've been. Perhaps it is my accent or maybe they somehow feel sorry for me, but at almost every meal in Cambridge I get invited to join others. More than a few times portions of my meals (I'm eating way too many desserts!) have been "on the house" or someone has treated me. Today a lovely older woman named Beth who was reading near my table bought coffee for me. We only exchanged small talk about the book she's reading, but she insisted on buying my coffee. The other evening at dinner I was invited to join a birthday celebration meal at the table next to me that included two Spanish women, two Polish women, a Pakistani guy, an Indian guy, a Greek guy, and a British guy. They were some of the kindest individuals I've met here. Yesterday after dinner as I was walking back to the hotel, I passed two of them on the sidewalk. The woman said, "Mississippi!" and the guy said, "No, he's Tennessee. Louis actually." (I don't know why people remember where I'm from more quickly than my name). I told them they both were correct. Ha! As a university city, Cambridge draws students from all over the world. I've really enjoyed meeting people from various cultures and making friends during the times I have free to venture out, which isn't a lot because of our busy schedule and the meals provided for us at the hotel. I know my time here is limited, and I will really miss this place when I have to leave.
This morning we walked as a group to Magdalene College for a private lecture with Dr. Rowan Williams. He is the former Archbishop of Canterbury and current Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University. The lecture was hosted in the Magdalene College Chapel. Dr. Williams was most gracious to take time out of his important schedule to engage with us and answer questions posed by the students. I also enjoyed a few moments of personal conversation with him. This day has been added to the list as one of the highlights of my life. I'm most thankful to have had this opportunity, and it was a terrific experience for the students. For my friends who may be unfamiliar with Dr. Williams, please Google him. He is a brilliant scholar, genuinely kind and compassionate minister, and has served in one of the most important positions in current Christendom within the Anglican Communion.
It is Valentine's Day and our first day back in the classroom. We made our way back to Cambridge last evening from our free weekend travels. I've enjoyed listening to the students talk about their . Today in class I gave them some time to share the highlights of their weekend. For most, it seems it was a learning experience on what not to do in the future when navigating the tube in London. I do think they had an enjoyable time overall, however. I certainly enjoyed my time in Bournemouth. I will not soon forget my visit there and the day trip to the Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. I am happy to be back in Cambridge. It has come to feel like home here.
This evening I sat in the hotel enjoying the candlelight, music, and tea after a nice dinner with students. It was a good time to reflect how guiding/sharing life with students helps bring joy and fulfillment to my life and provides me with a sense of place and purpose.
Tomorrow is a very exciting and special day for us, as we will have a private audience with Dr. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and one of my heroes.
See this chin? I learned this weekend from a woman at a restaurant that I have a very distinguished chin. Who knew? I've always perceived my chin to be one of my least complimentary features. I'm about to catch the train to leave this neat city of Bournemouth. By this evening I'll be reunited with the students (and their sarcastic little memes such as this one that they sent over their GroupMe). Ok, so the memes are actually funny when you know the inside story. I've missed the students with weekend.
Also, just call me "Tennessee." Apparently that is my U.K. go-to name. Less than 48 hours in this city and I've already become known as "Tennessee" to some of the locals. Either this place isn't very big or some of these friendly residents have the same idea as me on good places to eat and find coffee and tea. We keep running into each other. But soon, this part of the journey comes to an end as I return to Cambridge.
Just outside of London and enjoying the scenic view from the train. I made all connections, including switching trains twice on the London underground tube, without any problems. Now I'm Cambridge bound. Since I'm traveling for a few hours today, I opted for an inexpensive upgrade to treat myself to comfort and quiet.