Friday, 23rd June, 2023

A lot can happen in a day! It began well with a breakfast at our accommodation with Caroline and James. They then took us on a whirlwind tour of central Cheltenham before arriving at All Saints' Church.

The Neptune Fountain was built of Portland stone in 1893 to a design provided by the borough surveyor who was said to have been inspired by the sight of the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

The Hare and the Minotaur

Gustav Holst  (1874-1934) wrote the well-known music "The Planets". He was born in Cheltenham. Holst's father was the Organist and Choirmaster of All Saints' Church.

All Saints', Cheltenham

The impressive West Entrance

Christ in glory

St Stephen (holding the stones with which he was martyred; well, not the actual stones)

St Lawrence (with the grid iron on which he was martyred)

This lady does not look very happy!

The Nave

Looking towards the chancel screen

The Sanctuary

Note the name of Holst's father first on this list. It can safely be assumed that Holst played this organ!

I could have tried this organ out but it happened that the organ tuners were there!

This bust was on the organ console above. It's hard to see but it is at the left of the second manual from the bottom.

Jesus visits Mary and Martha

The Lectern, created in 1862, was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of that year.

Sts Ambrose and Gregory

The south transept rose window was designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

The ceiling of the sanctuary

The Pulpit

St Elizabeth of Hungary, and St Hilda

Sts Monica and Agnes

St Jerome, and William Tyndale one of the first people to translate the Bible into English.

Sts Thomas Aquinas, and Anselm of Canterbury

Sts Benedict, and Francis of Assissi

This mural was painted by Sir William Richmond. He practised by painting the murals in St Paul's, London, before creating this one.

Jacob, Benjamin and Rachael are all part of the story of Joseph.

Sts Columba and Patrick

When we first encountered an arrow like this, we feared we might be driving on the wrong side of the road! It is actually warning any driver from the other side, who is using this lane to overtake, that they should return to their own lane. Even now, these arrows give us a bit of a jolt!

It is said that "all good things must come to an end" and this was true about our time with Caroline and James. We have very much enjoyed getting to know them during their time in Australia and it was great to catch up with them on their home ground. Sadly, it may be some years before we see them again.

So began the long drive to London. When we arrived at our accommodation, we had no way of checking in. I had messaged the Airbnb host (as requested) but did not get a reply. I then made a phone call to the host who answered with his name. When I explained that I was wanting to know how to access the house, he said it was the wrong number and hung up! Shortly thereafter, a lady emerged from the house and told us that she was renting it long-term. Oh dear! A call to Airbnb was not very helpful. They promised to call back but didn't. So, we were in the hot sun, in London at 3:30pm without anywhere to stay! At least they came good with a refund (which will take "up to 15 business days" to arrive in the bank)!

After a while, we decided to drive to a McDonald's. At least we could be cool there and have something to eat and drink. We were getting quite concerned as so many places were booked out (or obscenly over-priced). Finally, we found a Premier Inn, located about 20 minutes away. The reception staff member was not helpful and told us we had to book online. Satoshi tried but the debit card wanted to send a code to our Australian phone number (not helpful). The staff member then decided that we could book with him but it would cost more. We had little choice and paid the £108 required (about A$216). The room was air-conditioned which was lovely!

Our first show in London was to be "Alice's Adventures Underground" and we had purchased tickets months ago. This was advertised as an experience in which one moved through a labyrinth, solving puzzles similar to those faced by Alice, on the way. After a very hot trip on a bus and a train, we arrived at Waterloo Station Sidings. Asking a staff member, we learned that this was a shopping centre. A staff member at the shopping centre directed us to a restaurant. When we arrived there, we learned that not only had the show not started yet, the installation of the labyrinth was not even finished. We were cheerily told that it would probably open sometime next year! After some time on the internet, the man on the door found us an email address to contact the ticket office. He also gave us a complimentary drink. So, now another process of trying to get a refund!

After a quick meal at Starbucks, we returned to our accommodation (another hour on a train and then a bus) and went to bed.

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