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In St John's Wood

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On Friday, a glorious October day, I walked past St John's Wood Church.

The church was built in 1814 in the Regency style. Parishioners took its name from the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem, who once owned the now-vanished woods.

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Inside, memorials to the governor of Bombay, merchants of the East India Company, and much-grieved daughters hang on the walls. Behind the windows on the right of the nave, the coats of children attending school can be seen hanging on pegs.

The parishioner standing before the altar and the harvest gifts brought for those in need has volunteered to do the Sunday flowers once a month. She is not a native Brit.

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An image of the church's Lady Chapel: Grace and innovation.

Thirty students from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, Poland, and the Ukraine visited us on Saturday. They were hungry, having followed Keats' walk along the Itchen from Winchester on foot. They had an appetite for tea and information.

Arthur, from China, asked, 'What do the British consider to be happiness?'

To be continued.

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