Coffee at the Randolph with Mary

So on Tuesday I went up to Oxford, which involved going down to the station in the sunshine – about twenty minutes along the same route Hebe walks to the masonry.  We strolled along together, and met Shelagh on the way and stopped for a chat; that was nice.  She had her shopping in a proper old-fashioned basket - hooray! Then the Charing Cross train up through East Sussex and Kent, looking at the woods and farms and streams through the windows, watching out for rabbits and deer, phoning my mama just before the train set out, so that ten minutes later she could look across the valley and see it chugging by and know I was in there spotting her little apartment away beyond the wheatfields.  Then crossing London, dropping some change in the buskers’ guitar cases, from Charing Cross via the Bakerloo line to Paddington, then the Oxford train.  No AMT stand anywhere – then oh joy! Turns out there’s one on Oxford station, so I got my Chai Steamer after all.  Loafed around the city for a while, then a No 2 bus across to the Lion Hudson offices, and caught a lift back to Aylesbury with the Badger – nice to have an extra night curled up together midweek.

Then Wednesday morning, up while the lark was still yawning and checking its watch, back to Oxford (sometimes the Badger shows startling devotion to the cause!) arriving at 8 o’clock and catching a bus to the city centre, dawdling about in the shops having fun until it was TIME! 

Time, that is, to walk along to the Randolph Hotel to meet up with Mary for coffee – it’s official; this is the furthest distances a friend and I have ever travelled for a coffee.  She came from Kansas City

OK confession – she didn’t only come to have coffee with me, she was visiting with her daughter Jessica who is studying in Oxford this year.

Mary got in touch with me a few years ago to let me know she teaches my Hawk and the Dove books with her high school students.  She’s made some curriculum materials especially, and every now and then she lets me know what she’s doing and how the students respond to the stories, which is encouraging and lovely and fun.

Mary and her family upped sticks from wherever they were living before and moved across America to settle in Kansas City for one reason only: they wanted to live there because it’s the home of the 24:7 prayer movement and the International House of Prayer, which sounds wonderful.  There is someone in the Prayer Room all the time, even through the night, praising God and praying for the world.

Mary teaches at the Daniel Academy which is just one branch of the I.H.O.P. ministry.

So she and I have corresponded quite a bit, but we never actually met until Wednesday, when she was in Oxford with her daughters Jessica and Emily, who are so beautiful, as lovely as their mother.

And we met at the Randolph Hotel, which is one of my favourite places ever, and talked and ate delectable pastries and shortbread, and shared hot drinks as if we were the happiest people in the world, for an hour and a half.  And then I went off to Hastings and Mary and Emily and Jessica off to Bath.  
Er . . . Bath is an English town.

You can see a photo of Mary here,(scroll down to the post entitled Thanksgiving recap" and the family group photo) with Jessica: Mary is third from the left, back row, wearing a black and white top, and Jessica is standing next along from her.  And Emily is in the front in a green t-shirt.  You can hear Mary here, at a meeting in the Daniel Academy.

I am so glad we met face-to-face at last; and I know, I just know, we will meet again some day.


365 366 Day 82 – Thursday March 22nd  
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here) 

 Oh, this is such a good book!  I recommend!  If you have a dragon of your own you will really enjoy this.