July 25th:London to Cambridge

On Thursday the 25th, I left London near dawn, following Harold’s route along Ermine Street, a Roman road followed by the modern A10. England was setting temperature records; it was into the 90s by late morning.

I had been so obsessed with planning my route I didn’t appreciate that I was going to be in Cambridge, the home of King’s College, a place of huge significance for me.

King’s College, established by King Henry VI, has a chapel with a legendary choir; it is the home of the annual Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols. The prayer of the College is one I’ve adopted as my own, “Lord Jesus Christ, you have created me, redeemed me, and brought me here to which I am; though knowest what to do with me, do with me according to thy will with mercy.”

The music featured in my last wedding, with the introit being the same as carols service, Once in Royal David’s City, and the gospel procession the sung prayer in Latin. When I got to the hotel, it was 97 degrees. I drank so many bottles of water the empties overflowed the small garbage can.

When I found my way to the chapel, I just had to touch it. Then, surrounded by slack jawed tourists from around the world, I sat where I would love to sit during the Christmas Eve service, put in my headphones, played the introit, and cried.

I followed that with fish and chips at a local pub frequented by Watson and Crick who discovered DNA called The Eagle. They brought me what I thought was guacamole. That seemed strange. It was smashed peas, a newfound delicacy. Later the skies darkened and there was a terrific hailstorm. It was a satisfying day; 60 miles and 6 centuries.