Thursday, 31 May 2012

Day -1!

Well its here - or it almost is!  Tomorrow morning we'll be off to the Holy Land - bright and very early.

I'm currently sitting in my hotel room just drawing breath after a rather manic week and an even more frantic day. Last night's journey didn't help as we crawled through Essex my suspicions being aroused by the lack of speed... the conductor informed us there'd been a land slip so we'd be stopping at the next station until it was assessed.  Fortunately it wasn't that bad. Somehow the last minute chores got done and I even managed to pack!  Just as well I wrote a list - I was so distracted I wouldn't have managed without.  (I nearly forgot my swimsuit! Serious omission!)

The journey to Luton Airport, courtesy of Pete, was hassle free thank goodness so I've just ordered some extra sugar flowers for Naomi and Colin's blessing cake and am currently considering whether to bid on some rather fetching stars n stripes bunting! 

It isn't quite as spectacular as the 'bunting' in the photo.  I was in Oxford Street on Monday evening and it was just buzzing!  It didn't cross my mind when I booked this but there is a real sense that the UK is going to celebrating the life and work of a remarkable woman this weekend!  I even know a beautiful boat that will be in the Thames pageant - the delightful Maxime.

But I am sure we'll enjoy the celebrations vicariously - as will Naomi and Colin who have decorated their balcony in San Diego with the Union Jack!

So not much there about prep for a pilgrimage but in some ways it sums up why I can't wait - it will be so good to get away from the hurly burly of ordinary life and consider some very different issues.

I have been reading a really good book though - having read the review about it in the Church Times.   "Holy Land? Challenging questions from the biblical landscape"  Published last year it current and real, congrats to the author Andrew D Mayes.  Its certainly got me thinking!

For now my biggest challenge is to decide whether I want "soft" or "firm" tonight... Pillow choice is a new one for me! But before I struggle with that I shall head to the lounge/bar to see if I can find some fellow pilgrims but an early night beckons as the alarm will be set for 4am!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Its nearly a year since I last posted anything on this blog!!  Where HAS that time gone to??

The reason I'm writing now is that in just one week's time I shall be on the verge of going on my second pilgrimage to the Holy Land and - like last time - I intend to capture my thoughts as we travel.  I hope that you we follow me as I spend 10 days based in Galilee and then Jerusalem.

Last time I came back with my mind buzzing with the sights and sounds, aromas and vistas. I was challenged by what I experienced, both in terms of what I learnt but also where my preconceptions were turned upside down.  It's strange being confronted with the "reality" of all the carefully built up images that you've constructed over the years - but then how much of that is real??  If you expect certainty then for the most part you will be disappointed... much of what you see is received wisdom.

However, the Holy Land is much, much more than that - as the recent book and television series by Simon Sebag Montifiore demonstrated.  Its a vibrant melting pot of peoples and faiths.  Of traditions and beliefs. It is utterly fascinating and I can't wait for next week to come round.

I may not have much time between now and next Thursday to post anything else but once I'm 'on the way' I intend to start this journal with a vengeance! 

And maybe there will be photos as well...