A few days before the Pilgrimage, I noticed that I had got the distances wrong! It was too late to change the start time, as 9am had gone out on posters, newsletters and blogs. So having allowed myself four and a half hours to walk nine miles from Kensington to Mass in Uxbridge, stopping for breakfast on the way, I now found that I had fourteen miles to do! So I started at 9am sharp, I read the first paragraph of GKC’s Autobiography out loud and said the GK Chesterton Prayer and 'we' were off.
I stopped to buy knee supports in Shepherd's Bush, as my knees have not been right since my Stroll on Rome 12 year's ago, Belloc's fault. Then I got a phone call from The Good Counsel office, "Stella, is outside Saint George's!" Stella was amazed to find that a Catholic event had started on time, as she was there by 9.10am. I called her with my location, she caught up and off we went. We walked in a straight line along the Uxbridge Road until we got Ealing where we turned into Mattock Lane to say the GKC Prayer outside that abortuary, and then on to Hanwell, where we joined the canal to Uxbridge. Fr Schofield kindly delayed the 1.30pm Mass, until 2pm and we arrived just after Mass had started! (You can read Father's excellent Sermon here)
My long suffering Wife had packed me a wonderful lunch. But as I had not announced a plan for lunch, we now headed back into Uxbribge to find a shop. I say 'we', for after Mass our Pilgrimage had doubled in size for the second time that day, as William and Lucy were joining us for the walk on to Beaconsfield. There were a number of others at the Mass (Old Rite) offered in thanksgiving for Chesterton's Conversion.
After we had eaten, we left Uxbridge following country foot paths, as many of these were overgrown, it was at times very slow going. William pointed out that, "All walk leaders are liars!" and then we lost the footpath! (Photo shows us re finding it). Each time we crossed a bridge we made William the walk leader, as he has a ritual for walking across bridges, which varied depending on what the bridge crossed. But I would remember that "All walk leaders are liars!" If you attend next year's Pilgrimage then you will learn these rituals as well as some of the songs from William's drinking songs book. We did say a Rosary at some point in the day.
And so finally we turned into Candlemas Lane in Beaconsfield, I put away my map, only to realise at the end of it, that we should have turned into the small lane on the left as entered Candlemas Lane. And so back we went! The gate to the cemetery was still open. I then remembered that Lucy had, a number of hours before, when I said my feet & knees were hurting, said something about getting to his graveside before me, so off I ran and won the race. 9.30pm! Next year we will start earlier and take a different route in the afternoon, all walkers cheer! But remember that, "All walk leaders are liars".
(On a 'silly' footnote, I've written this post over a number of days, but 'am finishing it at 4am while filling a hot water bottle for my Wife, who has toothache!)
So far I've raised £800 of my £1000 target from this walk, for Good Counsel.