Canterbury Cathedral Guiding

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Guiding

Date: 24th February 2014

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL – Guiding

It is almost the highlight of my week going in to do my duty hours at the Cathedral.

No matter how well you know your ‘stuff’ the way the questions are asked means you have to be on your toes all the time. You meet some interesting people who are fascinated by our fabulous Cathedral.

Yesterday was one of those moments I’ll remember for a long time. I’d done a stint in The Martyrdom and was doing a slow walk towards the tomb of Henry 1V – the only King to be buried in Canterbury Cathedral. A little girl who can have been no more than 4, with lovely flashing lights on her trainers, asked me if there were people in all the tombs! Then we got on to Henry 1V and her Mother was interested in the story of his tomb. Little Izzie had climbed up the stairs and took another good look at the Effigies and came back to ask why Henry’s hands were clenched- she didn’t use the word but clenched her fist. In fact they aren’t clenched, the fingers are broken off - possibly wear and tear or even vandalism. The odd thing was that, despite having looked at the tomb countless times I’d never really noticed the hands until last week when  I read about them in a little book ‘The Romance of Canterbury’. I adapted my story for a four year old and then the little dot asked if I could go with them and tell them more stories. So I took them to the Black Prince and tried to tell his story in as little gruesome detail as I could.

What was also interesting is that I immediately detected in the mother the trace of an Australian accent, and on asking from whence she came – it was the suburb next to where my son lives.  So during my stay there over Christnas the family would have been 'down the road'.  It transpired that she is in Banking and they like their staff to have International experience so she and her family are here for a few years and obviously determined to take in as much of our Cultural History as they can.

I’ve always enjoyed reading to children and with my acting background will personalize and characterize the people or animals in the stories.  I read to my son up until he preferred to read books for himself at the age of about 13.  We both enjoyed those bedtime sessions and I'll never forget the way he used to laugh at my rendition of a waddling duck from Beatrix Potter's Jemima Puddleduck.  Like most young ones, he wanted the same stories over and over again.  He is now 32 and still an avid reader.  I believe that the ability to read is one of the most precious gifts one can give a child.  With the ability to read, the world is his/her oyster from reading for pleasure to garnering information off the internet.
 

As I don't have a photo of Izzie I thought I'd post a photo of the Cathedral at Night.  I attended a production of Flare Path with friends from the BOB Trust and on my way back from the Gulbenkian caught this fabulous night view.  Unfortunately, although I held my breath to steady the camera only this one photo came out unblurred.

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL - Guiding

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