Well, before I say anything else, let me just say very quickly that my post on the Catholic church was intended to be funny and affectionate and not critical in any anti-Catholic way. I am a former convert to Roman Catholicism and it is very much part of what has shaped me. The Catholics I have known are wise, mystical, zealous, endearing and infuriating, and all of them God-smitten – I wouldn’t change them for the world. English Catholics tend to be very irreverent and this can be misleading for anyone not brought up on Evelyn Waugh or Ronld Knox.
Una is officially booked off work and supposed to be in bed resting a very swollen leg. She is not resting of course: she sneaked out of the house and has gone to change patients’ dressings and eat doughnuts while playing poker with a 92-year-old woman on the other side of the mountains.
My farmer’s wife Bokkie arrived for her French lesson with her arm in a sling and we practised singing La Marseillaise and La Maison ou J’ai Grandi as performed by Francoise Hardy in 1967. We climbed up onto the kitchen table and danced a little with ’60s bebop arm swinging. Bokkie’s arm came out of its sling and had to be bound up again. The puppies barked the house down, mechants chiens that they are. Then we did some verbs and practised ordering le bifteck (steak) from le garcon. She was laughing so hard when she left, her arm came out of its sling again.
Then I revised my not-altogether-successful piece of speculative fiction and sent the Tim’rous Beastie off to my new writers’ group for comment. Scary stuff. I am going out to lunch at a country restaurant called Dassiesfontein (Fountain of the Rock Rabbit, not a soigne kind of name is it?) where I hope to eat fresh grilled perlemoen (abalone) and a large green salad.
Lent is like all liturgical seasons, to do with metanoia and transformation and letting ourselves be changed in ways we are unable or unwilling to change ourselves, mostly by the purifying power of unsentimental agape love. I am looking at this time leading up to Easter as a kind of 4th Step retreat and fearless, thorough inventory. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust — and hopefully the phoenix of a greater, deeper, more authentic faith rising from the ashes