Last week I had reason to go back to the North East. I was visiting my sister and brother-in-law. The trip was rather unexpected and I was there to support them rather than it being purely a social trip.
The feel was, therefore, very different to my normal jaunts back to the land of my youth. My sister, Sue and I needed to spend time simply waiting for a phone call. The waiting seemed endless but was in actual fact only a morning, but a morning that began early.
The call came and it is sufficient to say here that the news was good. We then took off to the lovely city which was our home town for most of our childhood. When we did not actually live in the city we lived within the county of Durham and visited often to see our grandmother.
Durham became a World Heritage Site in 1986. The Cathedral is one of the great medieval buildings of Europe and within this wonderful building is The Shrine of St. Cuthbert. Durham Cathedral was built in honour of St. Cuthbert and his body has been in Durham since 995. Also, since the 14th century the bones of the Venerable Bede have been in the Galilee Chapel within the Cathedral.
All this history and information have been part of my life since I was 5 years old and had my first school trip. Many more visits and school projects were to follow and Christmas Eve would often see our family attending the afternoon Carol Service.
Every trip home whether from other parts of the UK or other parts of the world would find me walking up steep lanes and pathways so that I could sit quietly and breathe in the feel of this immense building. Arriving by train you lookout on the Cathedral. It is your first and last view of Durham. We had an allotment that was in full view of its beautiful towers and many evenings were spent digging and planting with them as the backdrop. My mother died and I lit candles for her, my father died and I lit more candles. I am not religous but this place of worship is so much a part of me that it is completely normal to head back that when my soul needs succour.
And so there we were on a most beautiful May day..Sue and I wandering the riverbanks and pottering through streets so familiar to us both. We walked and talked and we took pictures and how many times over the years have we done these very things? Such a comfort to simply ease back into the groove of being together in this city which will always be home to both of us.
As I reread and check this piece of writing I realise how deep from within I speak these words. My connection to this city is strong and feels eternal. To go back and really see it again strengthens and fortifies me on my journey forwards. I hope that as you read this, you too may feel able to glance back and gaze a while on some part of your life that was good and healthy and enables you to travel on and make much of your day, week, year!
Love and blessings to you all…..NAMASTE.
More about Durham; Durham,World Heritage Site