I'm Back In The USS[A]

When reflecting on my time spent in London, I realized that what I have learned about the city and about myself is somewhat difficult to express in writing. During my time in the city, I learned how to operate the tube system, I tried new foods, adapted to the British “lingo,” discovered different clothing trends, and experienced countless concepts of historical and cultural significance through visiting museums and houses, watching plays and just walking around. However, what I have taken from this trip is far greater than things like mastering transportation systems. London is a place that habitually thrives on art. Before this trip, I did not completely believe that such a place existed. It literally seems to be everywhere, even in the tube stations where the city has commissioned artists, musicians and writers to display their talents. It’s like the whole city is one big artistic union. In Ruston, there is not a large public demand for art; therefore, the supply is limited. I believe a large part of that has to do with the people. There is a communal acceptance of art in London that everyone seems so comfortable with. Due to my experience with local theatre, my expectations for the theatrical productions in London were mediocre, but that ended up being my favorite part of the trip. Each play and performance was uniquely innovative and exciting. I will forever be amazed by the level of creativity that exists in the places I visited. The artistic vibe of London is the thing that had the greatest affect on me and I will continue to draw on these experiences for inspiration and encouragement.

Cheerio, y'all.

Sitting In An English Garden Waiting For The Sun

The English might not be famous for their (tasteless) cuisine but their gardens are kick ass. I was looking through my photos from this trip and probably around half of them are of various English gardens, so I thought I would share a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

Cheerio, y'all.

Writing The Words Of A Sermon That No One Will Hear

For our last excursion outside of London, we traveled to Kent to visit Dover Castle. Known as the 'Gateway to England', this giant of a castle displays a solid strength and determination that has obviously carried it through many troubled times. Proudly standing atop the White Cliffs, overlooking this busy port, Dover Castle has withstood the test of time remarkably well throughout its long and eventful history. Dover Castle, as it stands today, dates from the rebuilding work during Henry II's reign, but the site has been of vital importance since the Iron Age. At the highest point in the castle stand two buildings which predate the castle -the remains of a Roman lighthouse and a Saxon church. The surrounding bank dates from the thirteenth century but underlies one dated by archaeologists to the mid-eleventh century, suggesting that this area could be the site of the first small castle built by William the Conqueror. Pretty cool if you ask me. We also got a nice view (from afar) of France.

Our pilgrimage coincidently ended at Canterbury where we had lunch with Grandfather Geoffrey and then toured the Canterbury Cathedral. The Cathedral's history goes back to 597AD when St Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great as a missionary, established his seat (or 'Cathedra') in Canterbury. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral and ever since, the Cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims (now including me), as told famously in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Canterbury Cathedral is also the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion and the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury…apparently making it more legit than St. Paul’s. jk.

Roman Lighthouse(Pharos)1st Century AD and Saxon Church

Me with France in the background

White Cliffs

Tomb of King Henry IV at Canterbury Cathedral

Where Thomas Becket was murdered

Cheerio, y'all.


I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Before the trip, probably the thing I was most worried about was not being able to play my instruments for three weeks. I don’t remember a time where I have gone even a few days without playing the piano or guitar so I did not know how I would handle three weeks without either. But then I heard about London’s street piano project. Presented for “Sing London” and the City of London Festival, 30 street pianos have been installed on streets, in public squares and parks, train stations, and markets. Like a creative blank canvas, the pianos are there for any member of the public to play and engage with. So, a big thank you goes out to Luke Jerram for creating this project. You helped me not go crazy.

To read more about the street pianos, check out

Cheerio, y'all.

Have You Heard The Word Is Love

The next day we took another trip to the English countryside to visit Burghley House located in Stamford, Lincs. We had to walk a few miles from the train station to get there but it the weather was great so it was a nice walk. Burghley is one of the largest and grandest houses of the first Elizabethan Age. It was built and mostly designed by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587; the building period of the house extended over a period of 32 years. The main part of the House has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors. There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas. The lead roof extends to three quarters of an acre, restoration and rebuilding of which began in 1983 and took nearly ten years to complete. Needless to say, this place is HUGE. It is also the set for Lady Catherine De Bourgh’s house in the movie, Pride and Prejudice.

Cheerio, y'all.

One And One And One Is Three

On Tuesday, I had the entire day off so a few of us traveled over to the City of Westminster to see the famous Abbey Road. After taking photos on the crosswalk and signing the wall, we walked around and found Paul McCartney’s house. A few days earlier, I was fortunate to get a ticket to the sold out Kings of Leon concert at the O2 area. The O2 is the place where several of the events for the 2012 Olympics will be held. The week before, Brittany Spears and Beyonce played there and if you didn’t know, it is the place where Michael Jackson is performing his final tour, “This Is It.”

I was a bit worried/excited about going to the show alone but everything turned out great. I got to the venue really early because I had a standing ticket and wanted to get as close to the stage as possible. Luckily I was able to get a nice spot on the front row by the barricades. The band, location, crowd and overall environment of the show definitely made this concert one of the best I have ever seen. They even played my favorite song! The whole day was a spiritual experience.

Here are some shots from the show.

Cheerio, y'all.


Strawberry Fields Forever

I felt as if the title for this post was the most appropriate considering strawberries and crème is the official “treat” of the Wimbledon Championship tournament and on Sunday I got to take a tour of the facilities. The special thing about this day was that it was the last day to take tours before the tournament started so many of the players were already there getting ready. For those of you unfamiliar with Wimbledon, I’ll give you a very brief summary. Wimbledon was the first club dedicated to furthering the sport of tennis. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, which is responsible for staging the world's leading tennis tournament, is a private Club founded in 1868, originally as 'The All England Croquet Club'. Still today, Wimbledon is acknowledge to be the premier tennis tournament in the world and the priority of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which hosts The Championships, is to maintain its leadership into the twenty-first century. When Wimbledon is not hosting the tournament, it serves as a tennis club. One thing that I particularly found interesting is that there are less than 500 members and furthermore, their annual fee is only around 100 pounds (about 165 US dollars). Our tour guide said that wealth did not constitute club membership; club members merely have to be hard-core tennis fanatics who are dedicated to promoting the game. It is, however, the most exclusive club in the world.

Cheerio, y'all.