Friday, 29 May 2009

Home, Sweet Home...

I've finally arrived back home and unpacked. I loaded the washing machine, and made a fuss of the cat. I also edited a few of the posts I submitted via email, as the layout was all wrong...

The morning passed as planned... I managed to get a few things sorted, went to the Grotto to pray for specific intentions, arranged for a few Masses to be said, lit some candles, and renewed my subscription to the Lourdes Magazine. I also paid the photographer for the group photos.

Mass was very emotional for me, as I prepared to say goodbye to Lourdes for another year. At the end of Mass, I went off for a quick lunch at the Brasserie Brancardiers, which had the advantage of being two minutes away from the hotel.

I returned to the hotel in time to load my bag onto the coach, and said goodbye to the proprietress of the hotel. Sylvie was very kind, and indicated that we were very welcome indeed to return again next year. Yes, I have booked the hotel already. The location is second to none and the staff are wonderful... and the fact that even the dining room waitresses and the chambermaids are pretty much the same each year shows that they must be a very special outfit...

The DVD was duly loaded, but the angle of the screen meant that the contrast had a few "issues" that neither Fr. Tim nor myself could resolve... so the picture was rather unclear. The sound was good though... and anyway, we'd had the pictures (without sound) on the journey up!

We arrived half an hour early at Toulouse, but they didn't have a specialised Groups' check-in, and so we waited the 30 minutes until the desks opened. However, they did open an extra desk (I mentioned the number of children again...) and we were able to proceed without any further delays. The flight made excellent time...

And then we arrived back at Terminal 5. Ugh. I do not like this terminal. You have to walk back and forth for ages and ages, as it all seems to be laid out in one long, straight line... and everything is at the furthest point.

Our coach was delayed by traffic problems, and there didn't seem to be any way of contacting the driver, or working out where our coach might be expected. Eventually Fr. Tim discovered that the coach would be at the furthest stand from the exit, and we trudged wearily onwards.

The journey back to Blackfen was an absolute doddle, taking just over an hour. Jonathan, Fr. Charles, Fr. Tim and me then popped in to the club for a swift drink (I was back on the coca cola, for which my liver is, no doubt, eternally grateful) and a brief post-mortem on what needed to be improved for next year.

My services as Pilgrimage Organiser and courier appear to have been retained for another year... though after a few comments about "Sylvester Vindaloo" and "Sylvester fricasse," I am sorely tempted to arrange for accommodation to be transferred to the vicinity of the Pic du Jer (lots of building work, and miles from the Grotto) and Masses to be scheduled in the whitewashed garage (the St. Patrick's Chapel in the Hemicycle) ... I have already indicated that a plate of smoked salmon would form an acceptable apology as far as Sylvester was concerned...

"Sylvester Vindaloo" indeed!

2 comments:

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Mulier Fortis. Thank you for a splendid running commentary on this year's Blackfen Lourdes Pilgrimage. The stories were great, the photos excellent. It made up for not being there. Does Sylvester watch you on the web-cam from Lourdes ?

Mac McLernon said...

Zephyrinus, I'm glad you enjoyed it... it is encouraging to know that it was worth the effort of blogging while away rather than just waiting until I returned...

And no, Sylvester isn't interested in my whereabouts, just so long as plenty of food and lots of cuddles are supplied in my absence...

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