Pilgrimpace's Blog

advent calendar 7
December 11, 2016, 2:47 pm
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I leafed through RS Thomas’ Collected Poems early this morning looking for Kneeling which fitted well into an Advent Sermon on waiting (along with AJ Levine’s insights on the Parable of the Widow and the Judge, where the widow uses a boxing term in her constant bothering of the Judge).

In the Thomas book, I read Welcome to Wales, which I haven’t seen for a long time.  I can’t find the text online, but you can hear it being read on youtube.

Read or hear it if you can.  It may me chuckle and then think deeply as I remembered the occasional hardness of the weather, of landscapes that wrecked my knee, of beauty, of wonderful and deep human hospitality.


making sense

“Suddenly being here made sense, a sense that couldn’t be explained; on the contrary, it was part of this sense that it musn’t be violated by trying to capture it in words.”

-Pascal Mercier Night Train to Lisbon


I find more and more that all reading takes on the quality of lectio divina, becomes slow and life-giving.

September 22, 2016, 4:17 pm
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“That day in my October on Bardsey, as I lay on my back straining to see migrant birds flying south overhead, I wondered whether I was being cradled by a grave.  Could this local curve of the earth be a human valley?  Rain clouds were building out in the Irish Sea.  A peregrine bolted fast overhead, a bird with a wandering name on an island of pilgrims, though this one was a resident.  Behind it, tumbling blackly and brilliantly off the high ridge of the eastern side of Bardsey, was a gang of choughs, rarest and most bouyant of all the crows, mopping at the sky.  I sat up to watch them and saw a nun walking through the bottom of the field.  She lived alone on the island, tending to the however many thousand souls.  She wore chough-black clothes but had armed herself against the coming squall with a plastic cape made from a cut-open fertilizer sack of translucent blue, the colour of a Tiepolo sky or a dunnock’s egg”

– Time Dee A Year on the Wing


There are worse fates than being alone for the day with a pile of books and space to think.  A Year on the Wing is excellent – another of those nature books that expands your heart and soul, as well as knowing a bit more about the world, about birds, about people.

The knee shows some signs of easing.

Prayers for you all.

holywell pilgrimage 1

the idea was to walk from Shrewsbury Abbey where St Winefrede’s Shrine was


to Holywell where her miracle happened.  About 60 miles, lots of good hills from Oswestry onwards, three long days and two short ones.  For me it was a chance to get match fit for the Cistercian Way in a couple of weeks and to test and overhaul my kit.

We wild camped for all but one night when we stayed in a campsite


although one of those nights (with permission and invitation from the owners) was in a summerhouse


Roland bearing up under severe privation

I am very glad I did it.  I spent the first couple of very hot days struggling under my pack and telling myself I was a b*****y idiot and the Cistercian Way would be my last walk.  Fitness kicked in and I loved the views and the country


Even in the heat and dryness we didn’t need to resort to dog milk (making coffee from a sheep trough doesn’t count, right?) and we were able to test the best cures for dehydration (a pint of water, a pint of light coloured bitter, and a bag of pork scratchings).


We ate well (here is Roland demonstrating how to cook with bleach).


August 13, 2016, 5:40 pm
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prickly and soft at the same time

echoes all sorts of other deeper things

monastery roof
August 11, 2016, 7:37 pm
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apologies for the missing photo earlier in the day

water, rock, moor
August 8, 2016, 8:00 pm
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