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A Return to Normality

After what seems such a long time, today I returned to my voluntary rôle as one of the Exhibition Stewards at Winchester Cathedral’s award-winning ‘Kings and Scribes – Birth of a Nation’ exhibition.

As a member of an enthusiastic team of volunteers, I enjoy welcoming and introducing visitors to a historic significance, unfolding the awesome happenings of England’s former capital. There were many visitors today; wonderful!

Receiving and engaging with visitors from the world over is an absolute delight. They stare in awe and wonder at this 1000-year-old icon. Makes me feel young!

Why do I enjoy such activity?   Talking with people of various nationalities and cultures; exchanging comments and observations.‎ The combination; observing people ‘walking through history’; listening and exchanging comments.

Some visitors are stunned by Winchester Cathedral’s majesty and whether full or empty,  a sense of calm and serenity. The atmosphere friendly.

I must admit to enjoying learning about England’s history and observing the faces of visitors as they realize the significance of Winchester over the centuries. From the Roman era, Anglo-Saxon, Vikings, to the Norman Conquest, and much more.

King Alfred the Great certainly stands out as a champion of freedom. He is the only king to be afforded the title ‘Great’.  An incredible statue overlooking the city center presents him as a strong and worthy monarch. He did much to release England from the ‘bondage’ of Vikings.

One historical aspect follows another. Walking through the city one is greeted by one artifact after another; the old Roman wall, ancient buildings, the Water Meadows, River Itchen (poet Keats’ favorite river-side walk) Jane Austin’s final resting place, and her tomb inside the Cathedral.

Countryside, rivers, hills, meadows, and pastures are literally within a few minutes’ walk from the center. No matter how many times I walk around this wonderful city, there is always something previously unseen. As if hidden from view to be revealed anew.

Visitors to Winchester are amazed at the spontaneous friendliness afforded by strangers.

Winchester is essentially a friendly place and almost everyone exchanges greetings on a country walk.

Friendly, historical, countryside, hills, and rivers. What more can one ask?

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Simon Lever
Simon Lever
Prior to his retirement, Simon engaged in software and services sector search and recruitment for American companies around Europe. He has retained the enjoyment of engaging with people from other countries and cultures. His energies are now directed towards voluntary community activities, journaling, and exhibition stewardship. He is a Featured Contributor for BizCatalyst 360°. As an Exhibition Steward, at the 1000-year-old Winchester Cathedral, he is responsible for guiding visitors from the world over, around the award-winning 'Kings and Scribes Exhibition', which includes the 900-year-old Winchester Bible. The exhibition introduces visitors to Winchester's historical significance as a former capital of England. Simon's journaling activities are published on BizCatalyst 360° and accompanying posts on LinkedIn, He acknowledges the inspiration afforded him by Carol Campos of Massachusetts: Life Strategist, Writer, and Intuitive Business Leader who introduced him to writing with feeling; from the heart. Simon's forté is creative writing; the accent on the natural environment, transforming feelings, emotions, sights, sounds, and scents of Mother Nature's landscape; hills and rivers and woodland into words, transporting the reader to the locations. Essays include accounts of his life in former days. Instinctively writing in such a spontaneous manner, descriptions become life-like. His often emotionally charged writing, whether describing a surreal 'Son et Lumière' at the Grand Place in Brussels to experiences acquired during European business travel. Journaling and Exhibition Steward activities are his key sources of inspiration and creativity. Kindness is ever more important, where he is a promoter of Shelly Elsliger PPCC's 'Decide to be Kind' Campaign. Simon champions Positivity, Empathy, and Kindness and has been described as a 'Beacon of Positivity'.

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5 CONVERSATIONS

  1. As one of the “viking” descendants, Simon, I naturally have a different and more colorful picture of what took place – for sure it was bloody regardless which version we look at. I believe your church also houses Cnut the Great?

    As the Vikings had an oral tradition, their stories were not taken down until Saxo did so hundreds of years later https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxo_Grammaticus.

    Albert, meanwhile, is said to write what happened right away.

    So history, for once, belong to the conquered, not to the conquerors.

    Bernard Cromwell’s sagas of Albert’s time are most entertaining and basis for the Netflix series The Last Kingdom.

    • Dear Charlotte,

      You have a delightful way of describing historical elements. Indeed the Cathedral has many bones of former kings and queens in mortuary chests including a number of Danish. It reminds me of the word for ‘town’ in Danish: ‘by’ ‘boo’ phonetically. There is no word for ‘city’ in Danish. When the Danes came over and named some places such as Tenby and Whitby, tge names remained. Hardly anyone knows the origin of ‘by’.

      Cnut is I am sure I’m a mortuary chest. When I am at the Cathedral this morning I will take a photo of the Danish history relating to England and send it to you. King Alfred the Great is the one who drove the Vikings out, but they were still a problem during William the Conqueror’s reign. Fascinating history.
      Thank you so much for your comments and promise to walk and describe our mutual love of Mother Nature.
      Simon

  2. I love thinking of you in your beloved Winchester, Simon. I imagine, given your love for connecting with people, that this has been a difficult year for you, having to be distanced from all of that. Ah! To return to being able to reconnect with one another, hug each other, laugh together, sing, hold hands – all of the things that we took for granted before they were gone.

    • Goodness me, Kimberly, you have a beautiful way with words. Indeed ‘words’ diminishes the true delight of your comments. I was there again this morning. People stunned by the 900 year old ‘illuminated’ bible in Old Latin. It is getting busier too. Thank you so much my friend, Simon

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