Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Day Four - Wednesday 31st August - Dewsbury to Wakefield

Today is a rest day. Although I’ve been at home I’ve had reports from my fellow pilgrims who are in Dewsbury and Wakefield – and somewhere in between the two.
Although most people will do this section of the route by bus, in fact a small group did decide to walk it. Jayne sent me an email: “It was easy to navigate straight down the canal, with beautiful scenery and historical industrial bits. We picked up coal for our New Year celebrations and told Helena about the English custom.” Jayne’s Mum is undergoing chemotherapy, and she continued: “I carried holy water that Revd Kevin had blessed for me for my Mum, which was very apt and deeply moving.”
Before I left yesterday evening I asked everyone to summarise their experience so far and send me their thoughts today. Typically and rather wonderfully, I got a mixed bag of responses – which somehow aptly reflects us as a group. Or, as Revd Owen put it, “What an odd bunch we all are!”
Photo Courtesy of Dewsbury Minster
Tina’s comment summed up how quickly we’ve become a bonded group: “When I had to go home and swap cars, it was almost like stepping into a different world – a parallel universe – like looking through a looking glass.” Having been home a couple of times myself, I can relate to that. When we return to our ‘normal’ lives, for a little while they seem strange.
Helena, who’s travelled from Sweden to walk the Paulinus Way, said she felt something similar after walking back to the Minster from the shopping centre. She continued: “I wouldn't say this is the easiest way to see at new country, but is definitely to most fascinating. Tack for er granslosa gastfrihet!” And I agree wholeheartedly with her, whatever she said!
In people’s comments, it was clear that the hospitality we’ve received so far has really struck us pilgrims. I know it’s been pre-arranged, that it’s hardly as though we’ve knocked on strangers’ doors. But all the same, people have made a huge effort to welcome and accommodate us, and to show us around their churches and minsters. Alison and Jayne both had one word for it – “Amazing!”
For others, to sleep right in among the church and all its history has been an incredible experience. Barbara said it was the stay at Halifax Minster: “It’s a tardis-like building – wonderful. The windows are superb, particularly the round Marigold window.”
For Tina, the night at Dewsbury Minster was particularly special: “I felt really cocooned by this truly welcoming sanctuary. On opening the door this morning it was a shock for a moment to realise that there was a world outside.”

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