A Travellerspoint blog


A treasure saved

semi-overcast 62 °F


Back to spending pounds and hearing English! We docked in Southhampton and went right to Winchester. The city is delightful and filled with spring flowers - which is why this blog entry is dotted with them. Even the lawns are sprinkled with tiny daisies. In the middle of town is Winchester Cathedral, the longest medieval cathedral ever built (the nave is 558' long). It is stunningly beautiful and unusual. Here's a very brief synopsis of the building. Constructed from 1079-1532, it went from Norman to Gothic, to partially demolished under Henry VIII. Deterioration continued until the 20th century when a miracle happened. In 1905, the whole cathedral was on the verge of collapse: walls had cracks wide enough to crawl through, the stones were falling and the foundations sinking. The Normans had built it on a 17' thick raft of beech trees laid diagonally, and some had rotted (after 1000 years!). Many engineering solutions, digging, pumping, etc. failed, and the River Itchen rushed in and flooded the cathedral foundations. Billy Walker, a diver, arrived from London, put on a 200 pound diving suit and worked 7 hours a day for 6 years to stabilize the foundation enough so that it could be pumped out. And it was, and the result of his Herculean efforts are magnificent. Inside under soaring ceilings, St. Swithin's tomb lies beneath a lovely embroidered pall, and there is a window (can't be seen clearly in photo) of the visit of the Magi to the manger - and the Wise Men are WISE WOMEN!! All over are cushions and kneelers with stunning needlework by the broderers guild (á la the Tracy Chevalier novel "A Single Thread"), and chapels like that dedicated to the fishermen Peter and Andrew - where Isaac Walton (The Compleat Angler) lies buried). Wow!
Love H&B

Posted by HopeEakins 07:02 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)


Walled city walk-around

semi-overcast 63 °F


St. Malo is in Brittany on the northern coast of France, heavily fortified by the tall granite walls which surround it. Walking around them, we marveled at their construction and saw the harbor, the surrounding islands, and the birds who dwell there. The walls are about 20-25 feet wide!! and extend for a mile and a half circuit. They were built in the 12th century, reinforced/rebuilt in the 17th century and are still standing despite fierce bombing in WWII. The Allied bombs destroyed most of the city and much of the cathedral (except for the pulpit!) but the ramparts stood firm.
The cathedral is dark and the photos don't do it justice, because it is a beautiful and unusual and moving place. The choir is many feet beyond and below the high altar. That altar is starkly modern and anchored by heavy bronze carvings of the Gospellers (angel, lion, ox, eagle). Bill is standing by an early (12th C) baptismal font; the prior photo is of a 17th C double font, the small basin for the water, the larger one for the candidate.
Finally, we went shopping for exquisite treats from Brittany and then stopped for a lunch of crepes.

Posted by HopeEakins 14:07 Archived in France Comments (0)

ECUMENICAL WORSHIP on the Silver Whisper

MAY 1, 2022, The Third Sunday of Easter

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray. O God our King, by the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ on the first day of the week, you gave us the hope of everlasting life: Redeem all our days by this victory; forgive our sins, banish our fears, make us bold to praise you and to do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PSALM 116: 10-15

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall ever be in my mouth.

I will glory in the LORD; let the humble hear and rejoice.

Proclaim with me the greatness of the LORD; let us exalt his Name together.

I sought the LORD and he answered me and delivered me out of all my terror.

Look upon the LORD and be radiant, and let not your faces be ashamed.

I called in my affliction and the LORD heard me and saved me from all my troubles.

The angel of the LORD encompasses those who fear him, and he will deliver them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are they who trust in him!

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (24:13-35)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

A Reflection The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

It was late on Easter Day, the day after the Jewish Sabbath when folks got back to ordinary life, but for at least two people, Jerusalem would never be the same. Their hopes had been nailed to the cross with Jesus, and their hopes had died. They had believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but now he was dead, and it seemed like neither his life nor his death would make any difference. Of course, there were the rumors about the tomb being empty. Just after sunrise some women had come back filled with amazing stories. But rumors are rumors, and women are women, and at least for Cleopas and his companion, there was nothing else to do but to get out of town.

So these two disciples walked away from Jerusalem, away from the empty cross and the empty tomb. They were looking at death, not looking for life. They had hoped that Jesus was the one to redeem Israel. But Jesus was dead, Rome was still in power, and the people were still suffering.
The lament of these two wayfarers on their way to Emmaus is surely our lament as well. Just two weeks ago we celebrated Easter, and not much has changed. The world is still full of crime and poverty and war. Soldiers and civilians are still being killed in Ukraine. So, along with Cleopas and his friend, we ask what difference does Jesus make? If Jesus is the redeemer, why does the world look so UNredeemed?

Like all of us when our hopes are dashed, the disciples looked for a way to escape. They walked to Emmaus, and as they walked, a man joined them. The disciples didn’t recognize the stranger at first, perhaps because when he was alive they had never really seen him as he was but only as they wanted him to be, a hero who would give them easy answers to life’s hardest questions. Perhaps they didn't recognize him because they were overwhelmed by grief and when grief engulfs you, you cannot see Jesus even in front of you.

But something must have stirred their hearts and made them want to keep this stranger with them, and so when they reached Emmaus, they persuaded the man to have supper with them. And it was during the supper, when he took the bread and broke it that they knew him. As soon as the moment came it passed and Jesus vanished from their sight.

Much as they would have given to have Jesus stay, they couldn’t nail him down. And that’s how it always is: we can never nail him down, even if the nails we use are real iron and the thing we nail him to is a cross. Jesus comes unexpectedly out of nowhere, and maybe we recognize him and maybe we don’t, but if we do, our lives are never the same again.

Now the place where the risen Christ comes is Emmaus, which is the place where you and I spend much of our lives, the place where we go to escape what we can’t understand or what we understand only too well. Emmaus is where we go when we discover that the world holds nothing sacred, that even the bravest and holiest die and even the noblest ideals can come to nothing. Emmaus is a bar or the Internet, too much work or too much sleep, wherever the place is that we go to say, “I just can’t take it anymore.” Sometimes we do escape for a while, from the job we lost or the sin we cannot forget or the relationship that is over, but what we cannot escape is the ordinary business of living: being hungry or going down a road or taking a walk. And it is at these times that we are confronted by the questions that we would rather avoid, questions about who we are, about what we hope for and who the stranger is walking behind us.

And it is precisely at these times that Christ is most apt to come to us in the very midst of life at its most real and inescapable. That is how Christ appears in all of the Easter stories. Mary weeps at the empty tomb and finds a gardener who calls her by name and turns out to be Jesus. Thomas hides in a locked house, filled with his doubts, and he looks up at Christ pointing to his wounded hands and side. Peter docks his boat after a night without fish and sees a charcoal grill filled with fish and Jesus inviting him to breakfast. And then there are the two men at Emmaus who invite a stranger to dinner and recognize him in the breaking of the bread. The risen Christ reveals himself in the midst of real life and in the midst of the questions that real life raises.

Sacred moments, the moments of miracles, are usually like that, everyday moments which, if we do not look with more than our eyes or listen with more than our ears, reveal only a gardener, a stranger on the road, an ordinary meal. But if we look and listen with all of our imagination what we may see is Jesus himself. What we may hear is a voice somewhere deep within us saying that there is a purpose in this life, a purpose for our life, whether we can understand it or not.

The Good News of the Emmaus story is of a Christ who seeks out his discouraged disciples. Although they do not recognize him, he knows them. He comes to find them in their sorrow and bewilderment. He steps from the shadows and draws them out, until they recognize him – and when they do, he leaves them with their hearts burning within them, set afire with joy and hope.

He comes to us all yet today. Christ comes when we gather in community, when we gather to share our grief and ask our hard questions as pilgrims on the same road. He reveals himself in the words of Scripture, making them come alive. He comes in friend and stranger, whenever we open our wounded hearts to be healed. He comes in the poor and lonely when we stoop down to help them and discover that the poor are always with us because Jesus is always with us. Faithful to his promise, Christ makes himself known in the breaking of bread. He comes; he comes because he loves us, and he waits for us to invite him to stay.

The Prayers

Let us pray. Open our eyes, O Lord, so that we may proclaim to a world in pain and despair, that we have seen the risen Lord.

Guide the leaders of the nations into the ways of peace, that they may work together for good and for the benefit of all people. Hear us, O Lord,
For your mercy is great.
Guard and strengthen our elected leaders; endue them with prudence and virtue. Hear us, O Lord,
For your mercy is great.
Bless those who administer the law, that they may uphold justice and truth. Hear us, O Lord,
For your mercy is great.
As our eyes are opened to see the racism and prejudice around us, give us clarity, wisdom, and compassion and keep us from hasty judgment. Hear us, O Lord,
For your mercy is great.
Teach us to use the fruits of your earth to your glory and the good of those who come after us. Hear us, O Lord,
For your mercy is great.
Be with prisoners and refugees; give aid to the people of Ukraine who live with violence and destruction within their borders. Be with the public health team on the Whisper who work to keep us safe from Covid. Hear us, O Lord,
For your mercy is great.
Forgive us our sins; revitalize our hope; ease our doubt and fear; strengthen our faith. Hear us, O Lord,
For your mercy is great.
Receive all who have died into your loving arms and comfort those whose hearts ache with grief and loss. Hear us, O Lord,
For your mercy is great.
Lord Jesus Christ, Stay with us, we pray, in every part of our journey, and raise our eyes to see you as our risen Lord.

Summing up all our petitions and all our thanksgivings, we pray in the words Jesus taught us:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit, and may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia. Alleluia
Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Alleluia

Officiant: The Reverend William J. Eakins Preacher: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
Music: Alex Manev Usher: Andrea Ryan

Posted by HopeEakins 18:03 Comments (0)


On the town

sunny 67 °F


Did we tell you that we are in love with Bordeaux? Not only the kind that comes in a glass but the fine city where we are docked for three days. And what a berth! The first photo is taken from our veranda. When the door is open, we hear children playing and dogs barking in the park beside the river, and occasionally a parent bringing a toddler close to the boat - one dad teaching his son the word "bateau." The parks are stunning and the almost silent tram lines glide across the streets with grass between their wheels. We made our way to the Cathedral (what else?) and were astounded by its size and fine condition, but ..... Can you see the faces on the Bishops at the door? They look a little dazed or at least overcome by the altar wine. The pulpit is far back in the nave, close to the organ and BEHIND all those chairs you see. I guess this really IS "preaching to the choir." Next we visited the Decorative Arts Museum, a small collection in an 18th century town house. The collection is billed as 17th-19th century furniture and decorative objects, and it is, but odd modern pieces have been added, confusing at least two visitors.
We loved Bordeaux, and it seems that Bordeaux loved us. The dock was lined with folks waving and calling to us as we departed.

Posted by HopeEakins 10:09 Archived in France Comments (1)


oooh, la, la

sunny 70 °F


Bordeaux is sooooo beautiful and elegant and friendly. The boulevards are grand and the streets are lined with gracious buildings. The public gardens are stunning. There is not a speck of litter on the ground. Tall chestnut trees are covered with pink blossoms that float down on our feet. AND we are docked right in the center of this city. More tomorrow when we will explore. Today we had a delicious lunch at a bistro on the river. Bill ordered salmon; I had French pizza - the French may have gotten the idea of pizza from "next door" but they have certainly enhanced it nicely! Then we were off to Sauternes and a vineyard there. The vines are beginning to sprout; the barrels were beautiful - but the vineyard had been bought by the owner of Lalique crystal and gussied it up. The little shop selling winesmells of Lalique candles; the aging room has a crystal barrel (Lalique, of course) that is front and center and may NOT be touched. Worst was the chapel. That would be the room in the last photo with bottles lined up on the altar. "Is this used as a chapel?" I asked. "For religious services??" Answer: it is a consecrated space used as a wedding venue. I hope they take the bottles off the altar during the ceremonies.

Posted by HopeEakins 16:48 Archived in France Comments (0)

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