David's Monkish Meanderings 2010 travel blog

Shrine to Julian

Remembering Julian

Norwich Cathedral

Sr Pamela serves up Sunday roast

Matty waits his turn

Castle drop loos

Bishop's Bridge & The Red Lion


Arrived safely in Norwich, with no further wildlife incidents, and found my way to the All Hallows Guest House. It's located right next to St Julian's Church, which is where in the 14th C 'Julian of Norwich' (arguably England's most famous mystic, and the first woman to write a substantial work in English) lived an enclosed life for many years in a cell attached to the church. The church was already St Julian's when she came to it, and named after one of the St Julians, so she probably took her name from the church. There has been a church in this site since about 900 AD, but unfortunately much of the old church was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1942. Julian's cell, by then a shrine, had already been destroyed during the rampages of the Reformation (grrr!). When the church was rebuilt in the 1950s the foundations of Julian's cell were uncovered, and a small shrine was built on this site (see photo). Despite the fact that Julian lived in horrendous times (plagues, hundred years war, etc), she had an amazingly positive faith, as reflected in the words made famous in T. S. Eliot's poem: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

I was welcomed to the Guest House by Sister Pamela, an Anglican nun of the All Hallows Community, and her enthusiastic dog Matty. At that stage there was a Bolivian chap here on a volunteer exchange programme (Sandiego), and an American couple Jim and Carole, from Dayton Ohio, part of the huge corn belt in the US. I had an interesting talk with Carole about the movie "Food Inc" which we had just watched and discussed at the last St George's film group. She knew the film - even had her own copy - and shares its deep concerns about the corporatisation and mass production of agriculture.

On Sunday I attended a sung Eucharist at the Cathedral and went back to the Guest House for a huge roast dinner. Sr Pamela doesn't believe in her guests going hungry, and as you can see in the photo the dog was lining up for his share too. The rest of the day involved a good look around St Julian's and the Julian shrine, and a walk down to the Cathedral again for Compline.

Today I had a leisurely wander around Norwich, starting with the castle and its musem. Historians are fascinated by the 16 toilets (4x4) adjacent to the area where guests waited for the king. They figure that either it was often a long wait, or else meeting the king was a pretty scary prospect! Then a longer look at the Cathedral, and the cloister with its labyrinth, and a very pleasant walk along the river, to Bishop's bridge, the only surviving medieval bridge in Norwich. After a pint in The Red Lion across the bridge, it was back to the Guest House for yet more food. Now it's time to think about moving on tomorrow, to Jarrow (near Newcastle), with a brief stop at Peterborough to check out ... yes, another Cathedral.

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