Friday, 26 October 2012

Knee-deep in history

This year, I have taken several day trips, for work, to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Canterbury in Southeastern England. Today was probably my last trip there so I was determined to make the most of it. On previous trips, I would get so busy and snowed under with work that I wouldn't get a chance to visit its most famous attraction - Canterbury Cathedral, home of the head of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury. I have been aware of the significance of this monument ever since high school, when I studied Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales', which is a series of fables told by various characters, all making their pilgrimage from Southwark to the crypt of Thomas Becket, arguably one of the most famous martyrs in the British history, for the way he clashed with Henry II and his murder at the hands of the king's knights.

My colleague in our Canterbury branch Michelle decided to accompany me there. We told them that we worked in the old city centre and that got us free passes. I wonder if this is not simply out of the goodness of the Church's heart but because we already pay so much in another way that free admission was the least of privileges that they could have rewarded us. After all, the Church is probably our landlord, as there are underground tunnels that connect the Cathedral to all the buildings in the vicinity, including our office. It was genuinely eerie when Michelle and I went to visit the crypt of Thomas Becket, known as the matyrdom, where he fell at the swords of the king's knights. All sounds terribly Da Vinci Code, doesn't it?

It might seem like an obvious realisation that I live in a country with such a rich history and it is all around me. I don't even have to go looking for it. I just have to stop, take a moment, observe and absorb it. Amazing!

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