Tag: pilgrimage

thing 40: ‘today is ours, and today alone’: St Hilda’s Way, part (i)

“It’s a high-risk activity,” the doctor I’d never met told me, down the phone. The man was a stranger and here I was having to talk to him about cramps and diarrhoea so that he could pronounce sagely about the potential for me shitting myself in a field. That’s a possibility? You don’t say.

But St Hilda’s Way had been beckoning for months. We’d booked hotel rooms, consulted local bus timetables, contemplated sawing (more…)

thing 37: ‘a delightful weekend in the country’: going on holiday (not by mistake), part (ii)

The ‘Yikes’ moment: when Shaggy and Scoob have been running so fast, legs ablur, that they don’t notice they’ve gone off the edge of the cliff—then realise and, with a wail, start plummeting. I love that: it captures an emotional experience I recognise. But, oh dear. If I’m giving existential readings of cartoons, maybe I’ve been a counsellor too long. Maybe I’m feeling unusual.

When Suan and I got back to (more…)

thing 24: ‘the marvellous journey’: St Bega’s way, part (iii)

You know when you’re driving along in the rain—the kind that your wipers can’t really cope with, and they go into a sort of frantic ineffectual fastwipe which is slightly silly, somehow, in the way that a powerwalk is—and you see walkers trudging along the verge, heads bowed, sheathed almost entirely in rustling nylon, their huge packs, also nylon-sheathed, rearing behind them like a doom they can’t shake; and you think casually, in passing, ‘Poor bastards’? Well. On day three of the pilgrimage, those poor bastards were us. (more…)

thing 24: ‘… and miles to go before I sleep’: St Bega’s way, part (ii)

It was one of those days Messrs Ordnance & Survey tend to put on the covers of their 1:25,000s: deep green hills, and water sparkling under a sky whose few meringues of cloud only emphasised the depth of the blue.

Usually, stopping for a squint at the map during a trudge across the rain-wreathed landscape, your cag hood rustling about your ears and your face screwed up against the wind, you regard these images with a sort of resentful disbelief. (I call this look ‘the (more…)

thing 24: ‘he tells her that the earth is flat…’: St Bega’s way, part (i)

‘[It is without any perceptible trace of actual regret that] we regret to announce the cancellation of the 5.01 Northern Trains service to Carlisle’.

At least I think that’s what the announcement said; Margaret and I were too busy exchanging dismayed glances to notice all the details. Fortunately the patient staff at Lancaster found us an alternative service and we’d only be an hour delayed. Unfortunately, they’d also had to find the same alternative for the other 759 people who’d hoped to get the cancelled service, so (more…)