It all started well. The train was on time, we caught a connection at Clapham and were in Victoria within two hours of leaving. A cup of coffee in Buckingham Palace Road, and so to the Queen's Gallery to see a wonderful exhibition of the Northern Renaissance - Durer to Holbein. We stayed longer than we'd intended, had a snack lunch, then continued with a trip to the National Portrait Gallery. Jane had already seen the exhbition there, but was sure I would enjoy it - and I did. The Lost Prince, Henry Stuart, elder brother of Charles I. Strange how many heirs have not made it to the throne - think of what might have been if Arthur and not Henry had succeeded on Henry VII's death. No English Reformation perhaps? And if Henry had survived (he died at eighteen) might we have avoided a Civil War?
Then tea in Liberty's - only half the place it used to be, the front on Regent Street seems to have been sold off or let out. On the way there, a visit to Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, the church newly designated by the Archbishop of Westminster for the use of the Ordinariate. Wonderful to have somewhere in the centre of things. Behind it in Golden Square an imposing Presbytery which may one day be the home of our Ordinary. Very convenient for all London.
It was after this that things went a little pear-shaped. We arrived at Waterloo in time for the 18.05, but it was very crowded and we decided to wait half an hour to be sure of a seat. Duly installed on the 18.35 we sat and waited - and waited. The cheery voice of the Guard regaled us with reasons for the delay. First a Steward had got onto the wrong platform and had to be rescued. Then the Driver disappeared to clear an obstruction from a door which prevented it from closing (someone's free newspaper). Eventually there was, she thought, some sort of signal problem. Whatever the reason, it took us until almost 9pm to reach Brockenhurst. They were very kind at the Italian Restaurant, but we were the last diners and did not want to outstay our welcome - what's more their card machine had packed up, so we could only run to one course each on the cash left in our wallets.
Home around ten to find on the ansaphone the sad news of the death of a greatly beloved member of our Ordinariate Group, Ray White. He used to be head server at St Francis', Bournemouth, and had trained generations of servers. Latterly he was in a nursing home. For over a year Fr Brian and I have been taking him Communion week by week. Now he has moved on, which will be a great relief for him though a huge sadness for us all, not least his daughter Teresa who is also a member of our Group. Requiescat. His funeral will, we hope, be at the Church where we worship in Southbourne, probably on Tuesday 22nd.
Then, when I came to put some pictures into this blog I discover that Google no longer lets me simply download from my computer; I have to use wome wretched system of their own. Anyone know a better Blog Host than Google? Ideally, one which pays tax in this country.
3 hours ago