I was supposed to be sailing today and yesterday. With gales of up to 60mph battering the Isle of Wight it is lucky we did not go out yesterday. The entrance antiphon: turn your ear o Lord and answer me, save the servant who trusts in you, my God. O Lord, I cry to you all the day long.
MONDAY 22nd August – The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
I go down to Gosport. Have the courage to take the boat out on my own but everything works! Then a night on my own on the boat, cooking at sunset, listening to the sea birds and making myself a little supper of bread, eggs and bacon washed down with a beer and a glass of wine.
TUESDAY 23rd August
I wake up. It is a very low tide, the boat resting on the bottom. I go down gingerly and have difficulty getting back up again!
WEDNESDAY 24th August – St Bartholomew
Another hot day. London is stifling. We drive to Calais through appalling traffic and miss our boat. A good thing because we stay at Hotel des Dunes and I go for a swim and watch the sunset.
THURSDAY 25th August
We drive, though at times the heat is 37 degrees Celsius. We drove to Saint-Florentin on the Canal de Bourgogne.
FRIDAY 26th August
We go for a cycle, the canal on the left, green and barely used, shady with trees and flat. We start at Migennes and after a couple of hours I meet Mary at Saint-Florentin. I swim in the stream. I go to the Abbaye de Pontigny and find out after mass that St Edmund of Canterbury is buried there. A priest guided us around but I leave the others free to walk on and I pray before the tomb of Edmund, also exiled after having fallen out with the King. Perhaps he would be a good guardian angel, I can’t believe many pray to him each day. I drive through Chablis. Mary arrives exhausted and I cycle on. We drive to Buffon on the canal and stay the night there.
SATURDAY 27th August
I start cycling at Buffon. Little shade and very hot. Through Montbard past the Abbaye de Fontenay. One dead abbey a week is enough for me. The Abbaye de Flavigny is close and very much alive but nothing will be happening early afternoon. I find a cold shower but Mary carried on and I pick her up at Saint Thibault. Then I do the last bit to Pouilly-en-Auxois. We stay in an incredibly quiet little town. These Burgundy towns look absolutely dead in the heat but by chance we find a lovely mass, arriving just after the sermon. The priest is young; the ancient church full.
“This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the cornerstone”.