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Joined: 18 Nov 2020
Posts: 12
Location: France

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2020 10:41 pm    Post subject: Pilgrims Reply with quote

Thought they'd gone out with the Ark?

I had almost forgotten about this episode, but out on a walk today, near the GR13, I was reminded. This seems an appropriate place for this note, but I cannot guarantee to have you rolling about the aisles.

Late in July last year there came a knock at my front door. Through the spy hole, I saw an odd looking cove in floppy hat. I launched my frightening-looking but secretly wimpish German Shepherd at him and yet he remained strangely unperturbed.

“I am a pilgrim,” said he.
“Yeah, right,” said I.

It came to pass that, upon retirement, he and his wife had decided to walk from Belgium to Santiago del Compostela as a celebration. They had set off in March and expected to get to Spain in October. They were half way and off the beaten track because they needed to find a cobbler to mend wife’s shoe. Not surprising really, walking all that way.

Still suspicious was I, so, no, they could not camp in the field. Too dangerous. Horses, muck-heap, snakes. But – bright idea – they could bed down in the tack-room adjoining the stables and use the house loo.

They invited me to tea and told me all about the people praying out loud at Vézelay and how a woman in a baker’s asked them to pray for her. They said they were just ordinary people celebrating their retirement. The next day, early, they went on their way.

When it got to October I found myself thinking about them and hoping they got there. Later on in the year, I thought I had better check out the availability of oxen, asses, midwives, shepherds and kings over the Christmas period in case any more Pilgrims should turn up.

After that, I thought nothing of it, but there is a corollary to this tale. One Saturday, I received a post card from Santiago de Compostella. My pilgrims arrived on the 13th of the month and they treated themselves to a flight back home. Very kindly they wrote their address on the card so we can keep in touch. They are from a district called Betlehem near Menen. I sent them a New year card.
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