Friday, 13 May 2016

Another Rare Prayer Request

Only photo on internet illustrating concept. 
I caught a cold!

Can you believe it? I train so much for the pilgrimage that I use up a whole pack of plasters (band-aids) and a whole pack of blister plasters (special blister band-aids), and two days before the pilgrimage begins, I catch a lousy cold.

Now even science has proved that long-distance prayers relieve illness, so please, dear readers, take a moment to pray that my cold disappears by tomorrow's dawn. Normally colds linger for a week, but I really object to having to walk  25 miles (40 km) tomorrow (and then sleep outdoors) with a cold. The cold must go. Death to the cold.

In contemplating the graces of this pilgrimage, I have remained unconvinced that deliberately seeking physical suffering is spiritually helpful. Fasting is one thing; an empty tum for a few hours is really no big deal. A few aches and pains from a relatively easy walk to a pilgrimage site are likewise no big deal. However, courting exhaustion, dehydration and pneumonia is something else entirely. I have been reading up on long-distance hiking, and not to put too fine a point on it, but it is a bad idea to walk more than 10 miles (16 km) a day without training and preparation. Chucking a few plasters in a knapsack is not enough. I am almost too afraid to look up the advice about hiking long-distance with a cold.

I do not want to dwell on this, to tell you the truth. However, I am haunted by the story of a pal who told me that when she went on the Chartres Pilgrimage she "almost died." Now, she was a reasonably fit woman in her late twenties/early thirties at the time, and I can't remember what it was that was so nearly fatal, but apparently she had to be dragged and/or carried by a male friend for some endless distance. (Oh Lord--I am adding to the Gloomy Tales of Chartres oeuvre.) She is a patient, accepting soul, so she was probably just grateful to her male friend, but if it were me I would have almost died of shame. I was a Girl Guide dammit! What's more, I sparred once or twice with Jessica Rakoczy (who, admittedly, could have killed me, but that's not the point).

You know, it's just a little cold: no coughing, no sore throat, just a runny nose and some sneezing. (Possibly my mother has started praying already.) Today I will drink litres and litres of fluid, eat low-sugar chocolate cake (see The Low-Sugar Cookbook) and think happy thoughts. I will imagine all my lovely readers praying devoutly for the end of my cold.

I am looking forward to returning on Tuesday and firing up the computer to tell you that the Chartres Pilgrimage was simply amazing and everyone exaggerates the terrible pain, exhaustion, etc.


  1. Oh no, you poor thing!! Praying and offering up my rosary for your cold to be gone tomorrow! I have always found a day in bed with lots of hot drinks is the best remedy!

  2. I'll pray. (but is there any chance it's hayfever?)

  3. Oh no!!!! Praying!!

  4. I shall drink hot drinks on the plane! Thanks for your prayers! (And maybe it is some late-in-life-acquired allergy--who knows?) I travel in hope. And of course I always pray for my readers at the elevation of the chalice, especially Single readers.

  5. Praying for the disappearance of your cold and a successfully holy and non-deadly pilgrimage for you!

    Emma (the seamstress)

  6. Praying here! Hope all goes well!

  7. Praying! Actually, I get colds, sinus infections, and bronchitis fairly frequently. Mild exercise (like walking or light aerobics) is often recommended for congestion because you breathe more deeply and (combined with lots of fluids) keeps the mucus moving, which expels whatever germs are making you sick from your body.

    Can't wait to hear about your experience!

  8. Eagerly awaiting the pilgrimage report, but don't want your piety to mean you miss the point in the news cycle where this year's Ukrainian entry to Eurovision entry was sang in Tartar!