Saturday, 26 May 2007

Final Preparations

Oh wow. Nearly there: and on Monday I shall be here...

It's at this point that the nerves kick in: what could possibly go wrong? So various checklists are running through my head... but not only for myself: as I'm organising the bookings, I sort of feel responsible for the 27 other pilgrims in the group. Last year we didn't experience any problems until the return journey, when, at Stanstead Airport, an over-eager cleric from another group grabbed what he assumed to be his suitcase... it turned out to be the suitcase of a lady in our group. It could have been a lot worse (it could have been the outward journey, which would have caused all sorts of problems) but she was understandably upset.

I like to think that I learn from my mistakes, and occasionally from the mistakes of others, so this year I have prepared little luggage tags... with a great image of Our Lady on them so we have a unique "identifier"!

We're flying to Toulouse instead of Pau this year (I didn't fancy the group taking its chances with RyanAir if anything went wrong... like the increased security checks which paralysed the airports last Summer, so we're flying British Airways) and so the coach journey will be a little longer. I have to remember to pack the DVD in my hand luggage. We're going to be watching Jean Delannoy's "Bernadette" starring Sydney Penny. That should provide a little light entertainment, and give some background before we arrive in Lourdes. On the return journey we will have the second part: "The Passion of Bernadette" to watch. That covers the period St. Bernadette spent in the convent at Nevers.

I'm a little uncertain of the weather prospects: at the moment it looks as though it's going to be ghastly. CNN predicts thunderstorms on Monday and rain on Tuesday, and at a maximum of 12°C I'm going to be cold. Cold and wet. I'll just have to drink plenty of local wine... for medicinal purposes! And pack lots of jumpers.

I also need to decide which books I'm taking with me. I have to choose carefully, as the baggage allowance isn't exactly generous. We're half-board at the hotel, which means that at lunchtime I can mosey off to my favourite restaurant (they do a roast duck to die for!) and read a book. It sounds terribly anti-social, but it is really good to get away for an hour or so.

I doubt that I'll have time to blog while I'm in Lourdes itself. I don't see myself heading straight for the nearest internet café, but you never know! However, I'm almost certain that the Hermeneutic of Continuity will be keeping everyone updated with the latest events.


Marita said...

Never mind heading for the nearest internet cafe - head for Our Lady, say a prayer for us all.

Mulier Fortis said...

I will do so, Marita... though a brief stop for coffee in a convenient café will no doubt feature as well!

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