Saturday, 4 June 2011

Meeting Old Friends (& New Ones)

I didn't have access to a computer whilst in Lourdes, and anyway, it was probably good for me not to be blogging continuously... at least, that is what I kept telling myself. I resisted the temptation to hunt out a cyber café, and only used the hotel's free wifi (only available in the bar area) to check my emails. Anyway, blogging by phone is just irritating, as the formatting is stupid...

I did take a few photos. I didn't take as many as I'd intended, because, quite frankly, the weather was dreadful - cold and wet. We had two nice mornings - the Wednesday, when we went to Bartrès (though it was cold) and the Friday (as we were preparing to leave.) But photos really lose something in bad weather.

Lourdes this year was an opportunity to meet (and make) friends. On the Monday evening, I was greeted by an old friend from my London Faith Forum days. Ira had moved to the diocese of Birmingham, and was on night duties in the hospital for the Birmingham pilgrimage. She's on the left of the photo. Delia (a regular at Blackfen) had joined us for part of the pilgrimage, as she was going off to meet cousins in the South of France later in the week. And, before you ask, Fr. Charles Briggs hadn't gotten around to changing into his cassock after the journey, though he did wear it for the rest of the week...

I had the uncanny experience on the Tuesday lunchtime of a young man approaching me as I tucked into my magret de canard in one of the local cafés: "Excuse me, are you Mac McLernon? I read your blog...!" ...and then, just as I was trying to figure out how he could possibly have known who I was, when I wasn't even wearing a mantilla, he admitted that he had seen me at the Faith Summer Conferences in the past. It turned out that Andrew Gardner, as he introduced himself (I knew he'd looked familiar, but I'm useless at remembering names) was on the Middlesbrough Diocese pilgrimage as a helper.

Crouchback (aka Jim) and his Lady Letitia (Christina) had indicated, in an earlier post of mine, that they were making the pilgrimage to Lourdes and hoped to meet up with us for Mass each day. I was delighted to meet them properly - we'd chatted briefly at one of the London blognics at the Buckingham Arms in Petty France. Coincidentally, they'd been returning from Lourdes back then! I discovered that Jim's nom de blog was a reference to something written by Evelyn Waugh - and after Christina's recommendation, I think that I really must read some of Waugh's work; my education is sorely lacking in this respect!

I shall post a selection of pictures over the next few days.

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