Magnificent Canterbury Cathedral was our tour bus destination on Saturday afternoon! Pamphlets note it is ''the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury'' (even though he actually lives in London). Of course it is also infamous because it is where archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170.
WHY IT NOW HAS TO CHARGE ADMISSION
The additional information that the brochures explain is that it costs £12,000 a day to run the cathedral (more than $24,000 in U.S. dollars at the abysmal exchange rate we have right now!) Because the cathedral ''receives minimal external funding,'' it is now charging admission to enter to look around (not to worship). In addition, it currently has a £50 million campaign under way to raise funds to ''conserve the fabric of the cathedral,'' ''support the music'' and ''develop the experience.'' My £5 student fee will be a drop in the bucket, but every little bit helps. (Apparently, when the cathedral tried to just ''suggest'' admission, it averaged only about 12 pence per person!!!)
CHAUCER ON MY MIND
After touring the cathedral, I walked out the back past the library (it was closed at the time) and then saw two picture-perfect wedding receptions under way on the grounds. The cathedral lawns sort of morph into the grounds of King's College, one of the oldest schools in the world. I also loved walking around the surrounding streets of the ancient town, passing through the beautiful arch (photo at left) and thinking of Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales. (Edie and Mary are in the photo at right.)