Pilgrimpace's Blog

something understood: pilgrimage
April 25, 2018, 6:46 am
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This BBC Radio 4 Programme is well worth listening if you can:



Dr Rowan Williams, the Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, sets out to discover the true meaning and purpose of pilgrimage. He reveals that it’s not so much a physical journey, but more of an internal searchwhich realises the destination was not so far from where we started.

Rowan explains, “Pilgrimage prepares us for death simply by reminding us that we are not, to quote one of Iris Murdoch’s novels, “that buzzing, blooming confusion” we carry around with us, the anxious, ambitious, defensive, greedy self we have constructed, which panics at the idea of loss or helplessness. We are held in a patient and generous truth, new every moment. We can dismiss the worrying over whether we deserve love or peace or homecoming. We are already there.”

In the company of John Bunyan’s Christian, we travel through Jerusalem and Santiago accompanied by a 14th Century English writer from Nottinghamshire, Walter Hilton, and the insights of TS Eliot and the Muslim poet Rumi. Music from Maddy Prior, Monteverdi and Wagner assist our journey to its conclusion, with another of Bunyan’s heroes, Mr Valiant-for-Truth, as he is summoned to cross the river.

Anna Akhmatova
January 18, 2018, 3:31 pm
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There is an excellent In Our Time BBC Radio programme on the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova that you can listen to here.  By coincidence, I am slowly reading her Collected Poems at the moment.  Strongly recommended.


advent calendar 8
December 15, 2016, 8:11 pm
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If you can listen to Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra this week, there are some gems:

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey

Richard Holmes’ The Long Pursuit (which reminded me of the fantastic chapter in Footsteps where he follows RLS and Modestine)

and Babette’s Feast.

Apart from The Box of Delights, what more could you want in the third week of Advent?

good things
August 29, 2016, 3:48 pm
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I hadn’t intended to post again for a while, but I have stumbled upon this excellent programme on Pilgrimage from BBC Radio 3’s Words and Music.  Well worth listening to if you can.  Got me even more in the mood.  Tara a bit.


the pilgrim industry
August 6, 2015, 10:00 am
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There’s an excellent repeat of the BBC Radio comedy The Leopard in Autumn which you can listen again to here.  While it doesn’t feature the Head of John the Baptist as a boy, it tells us a great deal that rings true about the medieval pilgrim industry.

That all said, I am a pilgrim.  I am happy finding holiness in places like those three coffins in the Crypt of Santiago Cathedral.

the man of the mani
June 23, 2015, 1:20 pm
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There was a very good radio programme about Patrick Leigh Fermor and the Mani on Radio 4 yesterday.  You can listen to it here.  Definitely worth it.  It’s made me want to pick his books off the shelf again.


nature writing – 3
April 21, 2015, 1:00 pm
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I am very grateful to Margaret for suggesting I listen to James Rebanks’ The Shepherd’s Life on Radio 4. (You can Listen Again here)

Rumanian Shepherd, photo from Wikipedia Commons

Rumanian Shepherd, photo from Wikipedia Commons

I am taken by this sentence near the beginning:

“How come the story of our landscape wasn’t about us?”