to Bishop Luffa School to present certificates of Merit and Special Merit gained by pupils in the 2007 Schools Bible Project. I was given a lovely welcome, and hugely enjoyed joining in the morning Assembly - "O come all ye faithful" and a presentation by a group of children on the theme of giving at Christmas...these days, when pupils take part in a school assembly in this way, they skilfully use videos they have made, power-point displays, etc... Later I met some delightful VI formers and visited a busy RE class - everywhere I went in the school, people were friendly and cheerful, the pupils looked extremely nice in their maroon uniforms, and there was a sense of bustle which was very enjoyable.
Things had started on a happy note even earlier. I had stayed overnight at a local hotel, as the school Assembly was at 8am. By 7.45 the taxi hadn't arrived, and I was getting anxious - and a delightful lady member of the hotel team said not to worry, her car was just outside - she'd take me...now that's the kind of thing that restores one's faith in human kindness...she was so nice, and we chatted happily on the way... her children, now grown-up had been pupils at the school...this kindly help gave a glow to the day.
Later, a walk through a city just tinged with frost, and into the glorious Cathedral, which was warm and welcoming, with a most beautiful crib scene at the entrance (Mary's arms cradled, ready - but the Baby not yet there, and clearly to be added at Midnight on Christmas Eve...). A school group was practising Christmas music, great arches soared above, and one could light a candle at the tomb of St Richard, now restored after 16th-century despoilations.. There is an excellent display telling something of the Cathedral's story, highlighting St Richard, and other characters from down the years including the famous Bishop Bell. I dropped into the Cathedral shop - through glorious cloisters - where there are lots of lovely rather Auntie-ish things, books and lavender things and stacks of jars and nicely packaged goodies...I was rather sorry when I had to leave and get back to London.