Sunday, 14 September 2008

Being Good... It Doesn't Pay!!

Today, I went to the "launch" of the journal Usus Antiquior at the Brompton Oratory.  I felt a bit naughty doing this, as I still had some work to do for school - lesson preparation: book marking is something I try not to do at home!  And then I decided that it was Sunday, and I'd had a busy week, and a nice drive into London on a sunny Sunday afternoon, with Solemn Vespers (for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross) would be just the thing... 

However, I thought that I would be very good, and not stay late...

The journey in was fabulous.  The roads were clear, the sun was shining, and I even found a parking space just opposite the Oratory... 

Vespers was pretty amazing.  I wanted to take pictures, but there were lots of signs saying "no cameras, or else" or words to that effect.  I thought I'd better be good.  There were several people I knew in the congregation, and I had a brief chat with some of them outside afterwards.  I was introduced to a couple of Oratorians as Mulier Fortis, and was gratified by the gleam of recognition... they also told me that no-one would have minded me taking photos, which was annoying, as the Oratory is quite an eyeful!

The launch was fun, apart from the fact that I was drinking fizzy water rather than wine, but I was driving, so I had to be good.

His Hermeneuticalness was present, as was the non-blogging-but-ubiquitous Parish Priest of Chislehurst, Fr. Charles Briggs.  Fr. Guy Nicholls, another non-blogging priest who appears pretty regularly on the blogosphere (mostly on Jackie's blog!) was there as well.  And, of course, the inimitable Fr. Z... I actually heard him tell someone that he was "Fr. Zed" so the English pronunciation must be growing on him...

People wanted to go and eat.  I was still determined to be good, but the name of what sounded like a nearby pub was mentioned, and I thought I'd stay for a coca-cola and maybe a bowl of chips... alas, it turned out that the establishment was actually a hotel restaurant, and not the sort of place where one would just have chips... and I really didn't want to stay for a proper meal, as I knew I'd get caught up in the good conversation and company, and would get back far too late...

So, after staying for a brief chat, I made my excuses and left.

I negotiated the Brompton Road, Knightsbridge and Victoria without mishap. I arrived at Parliament Square, and promptly got snaffled in a traffic jam.  A very bad traffic jam. Unfortunately, I only discovered the reason for the traffic jam after I had committed to going towards Victoria Embankment... the road had been completely closed.

No diversion signs, no warnings, just a major route across London shut.

Not a problem, I thought, and proceeded to try and take a few back routes I knew, hoping to join my preferred route home a bit further along.

Not a chance.  All the side roads were cordoned off.  And I mean all the side roads...

The traffic was horrendous, and there was no way out.  You just had to go with the flow.  The problem was, I had no idea where the flow was going. London is not noted for clear signposts. They took them down in the war, to foil attempts at invasion by German parachutists, and never put them back up again, presumably on the basis that, "If you don't know where you are, you shouldn't be here, so clear off!"  In addition, my knowledge of Geography is laughable.

The traffic was murderously slow, which gave me the opportunity to notice that I had visited the same one-way system at least three times in the space of an hour and a quarter.  I was beginning to panic when I had a brainwave: my phone has sat-nav!!

Apart from one sticky moment, when it tried to make me do an illegal right turn, the sat-nav succeeded in directing me to the A13 which leads to the Blackwall Tunnel... (I re-visited that one-way system again, only this time the sat-nav was able to tell me where I should turn off!) and I finally arrived home...

...after a journey which took me three hours.

Being good isn't all it's cracked up to be...

3 comments:

la mamma said...

Nae luck, Mac. Still, could have been worse. You could have made the effort to get there and had an awful time whilst there (though hard to imagine how) as well as on the way back.

Elizabeth said...

But did you get your marking done??

Mac McLernon said...

It wasn't marking, Elizabeth... I try not to take that home (except A level, which is best done with feet up and soothing music in the background... because some of the howlers make you wonder if the wretches were actually present in your class at all...!)

No, it was lesson planning... and I did it during lunch today!!

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