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Day 3

I started the morning meditating with Dan, who we where staying with, the wind strong already and the meditation was very much listening to the wind. Meditation seems to be easier when the body is comfortable. If you're tired it is just still and so it was refreshing start to the day. A fried breakfast was a good start to the day and then to the Mosque in Cambridge and a walk to Cambridge regional college (CRC).


A very long walk.... in usual AFAN style we were late to the college. As we crossed the road before the college there was a strange road - large and long concrete strips with two lanes each having  short concrete guide rails. We later found out this was for the new guided bus lanes (more info here). Huge amounts of concrete had been poured over  the cambridge landscape on top of a old railway route ... nobody seems to know exactly why this was done, it's never been udes and is apparently an economic as well as environmental disaster.

As we entered the college, a few cheers of seeing me in the robe and somebody started to take a photo, I shouted back “not for distribution on the internet” and ended up getting a mouthful of abuse. I reflected back on this soon after and realized this was a lost opportunity in our rush to get to the meeting we ignored the young people. Myself and Alan entered the college and the usually stares, glances, smiles, a young bloke came up to Alan and asked him where he got his Algerian robe as he liked it!  A rush to find the meeting of the chaplains of CRC and we entered. The meeting was in progress and we had been on the agenda 20 minutes ago, we arrived nearly on time for the tea break which for me was just perfect. There was a good turnout from many different faiths and a Humanist.

The meeting had got on to speak about the Remembrance Day service in the college and how it had overflowed with young people and led to a small discussion on ritual and why young people are attracted to such things. Why? Because deep down we need it to make us feel connected. Ritual, when done skilfully, is a means to transforming us or allowing us to grow  up. Time was again running out for me to eat, so we rushed out of the meeting called Ray and he drove us a very short way to another Buddhist person's house who offered us food. Dan being the lovely person he is had cooked some food and delivered it there as well.

So we arrived with a table full of food. A short blessing to say thank you and.....well, I ate and ate. The house was down by the River Cam, so the rest of the afternoon we walked along the river towards Ely. This was the week of the great storms, with floods elsewhere. Here the wind was so strong by this time that branches lay in the path ripped of the tree and the river had a surf. We walked about 8 miles up to the canal where Ray met us, driving us into Ely as dusk set. We went directly into town and to the cathedral, which for me was a amazing view. As we entered the cathedral area there was many police as the Queen was coming the next day for the 900 years of Ely cathedral, and so we never got to go inside.


Ray got us to our next house another Buddhist host, and thankfully this time we all had a bed to sleep on, even if mine was just a mattress by the front door. The tea, conversation and food started for Ray, Alan and our hosts. It was the first time they had had a Buddhist monk around. I was asked to talk and lead the evening meditation at the local group.  We walked into town, where their group rents a room. A larger group formed and some had travelled 80 miles to be there. We sat listening to the noise and the cars going past and I felt very relaxed, enjoying the chance to sit with a group after a day's activity. One of the group thoughtfully offered some food for the journey and so we walked back to the house and I fell very soundly asleep.


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