Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Off on Pilgrimage

Today I set off on pilgrimage with several of my fellow brothers of the Oxford Oratory, and led by Fr Jerome Bertram, our Prefect, to visit the shrine of St Jean Marie Vianney, the Curé d'Ars, in the Dombes region, south of Burgundy.

We met up for the 8am Mass at the Oratory, and after coffee and refreshments drove down to Dover where we met up with on eof our brethren whose family live nearby. After lunch in the old town we embarked, delayed by the pressure of other travellers and their vehicles getting onto the ferry, but got away for a smooth crossing, and picking out from the sea the surviving historic features of Calais from the era of Englsih rule (1347-1558).

Then it was south east, across the site of the Field of Cloth of Gold, and following the route to our first overnight stop, which was scheduled for Laon. I have been struck before by the quality of the French roads, and the effectiveness of the peage system of tolls. 

A glance at a map indicated what a rich array of histoic sites sabounded on all sides, but we had to press on, and fairly soon the distinctive outline of Laon came into view, the cathedral and old city commanding the hill top overlooking the plain below.

We had some difficulty finding our motel-type accomodation, though it did afford us some views of the city at the bottom of its hill, and after we checked in to our rooms we went off to eat at a local Buffallo Grill - a chain with a curious French take on the American West, but which provided both a reasonable meal and an exercise in Franglais.

Back at our accomodation, it being a warm evening, and not being tired despite the travelling, four of us sat around at a table outside until virtually midnight playing scrabble on a tablet. Tomorrow we travel southwards via Laon and Troyes to Ars.

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