Monday, 19 August 2013


It was meant to be. Canterbury is only about a 40 min drive from Rochester. I've always liked to go, but it's always been on the back burner. After all, a place not too far away can't be your number one choice on a bank holiday weekend or a day off - you've gotta save these days for places like Brighton and Leeds Castle. 

So Canterbury wasn't on our initial list of places to go, but we travelled there last Thursday to see a solicitor to deal with some immigration paperwork. I hardly had time to research places to visit while we were there, with Andrew's visa interview being on the next day and heaps on paperwork to sort out, I'd hardly had time to breathe. Turns out this little "Cathedral City" was just what we needed. It relaxed us into a positive state of mind and reminded me that, even though I might not be especially religious, I needed to pray for the following day. Upon arrival we'd never been so lost in our lives. Andrew backed the van in and out of tiny 14th century streets countless times while I videotaped the tiny tudor cottages going by. We parked and made our way to the mysterious law firm which turned out to be nestled in between a few ancient bookshops and even older inns. I made the terrible mistake of wearing patent court heels to a place famous for its cobble stone streets. I returned home with ugly blisters but did receive a compliment from a passing stranger. After visiting a very helpful elderly man and Cambridge graduate at the solicitors, we stopped in an quaint bookshop down the road and bought a few little bits, and visited a photo shop to get some passport photos done before grabbing a quick lunch at Subway.

As it came closer to the time to move the van, we proceeded down an array of shops and sat down to eat in front of the Cathedral gates. We couldn't decide whether or not to pay the admission fee to the cathedral or find out more before entering, so instead of venturing any further we made our way back to the car park and  moved to another parking spot. It was pretty warm outside so we stripped ourselves of any extra baggage and left it in the van. After visiting a few shops in the more modern side of the high street and treating ourselves to some fanciful bits, we finally decided to take a look inside the gigantic cathedral that peaked out of every roof top on our through town. To our surprise we walked through the gates without having to pay at all. We entered the magnificent place of worship to take pictures, but instead found ourselves taking a seat in the main rooms before an "Eveningsong" service. Never before have I been to such an enchanting ceremony. The choir sang, the priest prayed and we stood in awe. The acoustics of the place, the beauty of it all - it was like living watching myself live a thousand years ago. During prayer I thought of my family, of Andrew and I's journey together, and of the visa interview - the deciding moment that the rest of our lives would depend on. It all felt so meant to be. 

The following day changed our lives for the good. It showed us that things happen for a reason. Not only did our relationship pass "inspection", we ended up never needing the immigration help we were given in Canterbury. And now I know the real reason we went to Canterbury. 

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