Getting to Manchester Airport: I had a meal deal from Boots and had sushi! On the plane I had a sandwich which wasn’t nice, that’s why I had my sushi! We got a bit delayed but we got here and I unpacked. Then we had an evening meal which was tastier than the sandwich! After tea I went down to Miam Miams and I just had a coke which is very rare!! I slept well. This week I am measuring the number of steps that I am walking - total steps today 2732.
I got up and had a shower then came down for breakfast. I had forgotten my sun hat and it’s meant to be hot today so I went out to buy a new one – it is white with “Lourdes” written on it. I came back and then went out again with Charlot and Grace to buy a post card, pen and pad. After lunch I prepared myself for Mass after going through St. Michael’s Gate and passing through the Door of Mercy with the rest of the pilgrimage. The Mass was with Bishop Emeritus, Terence Brain at the Basilica of St. Bernadette on the other side of the river to the Grotto. Joyce and Lorraine supported me during the afternoon, taking me to Mass and for a shopping trip afterwards. After a lot of shopping and walking I treated myself to a cool shandy! My daily target for steps was 3,500 and I achieved a massive fabulous 5,631 steps and the day isn’t over yet!!
We had 3 fire alarms at the hotel in the early hours of this morning, and now, goodness, I’m tired. I need an espresso to keep me awake!! Actually, make that a double espresso. Thankfully, though, it was a false alarm and everyone is fine. This morning it was the Mass of the Anointing of the Sick. It is really touching for the volunteers. While I, and the other pilgrims were being anointed, the volunteers gathered around us all around the edge of the church hand-in-hand. This shows the love and care of the whole Salford Lourdes family. It is a very special moment.
After an emotional Mass this morning, this afternoon I had a bit of free time while the volunteers went to their Youth Service. And, finally, I got my much needed espresso....and it was a double!!! I also had the pleasure of the company of Tina and Mary...and a Grand Marnier Crepe...Yum! Lourdes is definitely a time of the year when I really treat myself and relax.
This evening it is Holy Hour in the Underground Basilica, and at some point Nurse Andy is also taking me out for a G&T and a good old catch up. Today I did 3,268 steps!
Got up, had breakfast – ham and cheese. I love ham and cheese when I’m away! Very European. We went to the Grotto Mass, it has to be one of my favourite Masses, in front of Our Lady’s statue. We were joined by Hexham and Newcastle Pilgrimage and three of their children made their first Holy Communion during the Mass. It was really good! I decided to go back to the hotel and have a coffee in the bar - much warmer than a dip in the baths. I’ve done it twice but never again!
We had dinner – it wasn’t up to much. Then we all got on the coach to come to Lac de Lourdes! We had a lovely time sipping coffee and looking out at the Lake in the sunshine. Bella took me for pistachio ice cream at the lake and I had a great time.
After dinner, Phil took me down to the Grotto. It is really beautiful at night time! Then we went to Miams and I drank a gin and tonic and ate a Grand Marnier crepe. It was lots of fun. Today I did 2,302 steps.
I got up and had a shower. I went down to breakfast with Áine and Casey. As always I had ham and cheese – it was yummy! Then I decided to skip Mass and go window shopping with Bella and my new friends Jess and James. I was looking for some earrings but couldn’t find any. So we went for a coffee in Miams instead – a double espresso for me! Bella, Jess, and James took me to the Swarovski shop after our coffee. We went to three shops, we had no luck in one, or in the second but the lady from the second shop told us to go to the one next door. In the third shop I found some beautiful gold and diamond cross earrings. They were Swarovski! I practiced my French saying ‘Bonjour’, ‘Merci’ and ‘Au revoir’! I came back to the Solitude before lunch and sunbathed with Bella and Pippa on the balcony.
This evening we had our pilgrimage party and all the volunteers come in fancy dress, they look great! At the party I sat with the deaf people. I really enjoyed communicating with them. It was so nice to talk to them because I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to them before.
Got up and had a shower, then went down for breakfast. After breakfast Ellen and I went out for coffee and sat in the sunshine of the main square. Then we went shopping and I bought a door plaque and had it engraved with “Lucy”! I carried on shopping and bought a new handbag! I’ve finished shopping for the week now.
Then in the afternoon I went to the Closing Mass in the Rosary Basilica. I got up in front of everyone and read a bidding prayer. Everyone congratulated me on how well I read! At the end of Mass Bishop John told me I’d done really well which was nice of him. After Mass, Bella and Nick took me to Miams for a Grand Marnier crepe – my favourite. It was delicious! I’ve packed my suitcase with Flo and then I came back to the hotel and had a gin to cool me down!
I didn’t fancy the food on the menu tonight. Instead of the weird prune pork dish I had ham and chips. The pudding was nice though. After tea I went out with Pip and Steph. I walked all the way to the secret Italian coffee shop and I had a double espresso. It was the best coffee in Lourdes. I won’t tell you where it is as it was our secret! The cafe was run by a lovely Italian lady and she took a picture of us all. We took a take away coffee back to the Solitude for Ste then came straight back out for an ice-cream in Miams and met Damien, Luke and David. I walked it all the way without my chair!! I’ve been feeling like a celebrity today as everyone has been telling me how well I spoke at Mass – even the Bishop! My total steps today has been 6,414.
Tomorrow I am flying home on the noon flight so at least I don’t have to get up too early. I’ve had a brilliant week and can’t wait to come back next year to see all my friends from our Salford family.
This week I have walked a total of 25,517 steps!!!!!