By The Book

Corona Chronicles IV

Home
The parents and I remain well. In the early hours of Saturday morning, around two or three AM, I woke up and although I felt alright, I could feel worry about the coronavirus at the back of my head. Fortunately, I was still able to get back to sleep again.

On Sunday morning, my parish church live-streamed two Masses, the 8am (which I usually serve at) and one at 10am. Being able to watch it was very comforting.

Today, I got on with my work, and this afternoon, did my exercise and finished The Terminal. I rate this film 8/10. Tom Hanks plays Victor Navorski who is forbidden to enter the USA after a coup in his home country renders his passport invalid. Unable to return home, he is forced to live in the airport’s international transit lounge. The airport authorities do their best to get rid of him but without success. In the meantime, Viktor makes some friends, plays Cupid, and enjoys the friendship of the lovelorn Amelia Warren (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The film is sweet and kind hearted. It’s the type of picture where even the baddie, in this case, airport director Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci), is actually alright. I was going to give this film 7.8 out of 10 but rounded it up because it is so sweet. Once The Terminal finished, I started Tomb Raider – not the Angelina Jolie version but Alicia Vikander’s from 2018. Review to come on Wednesday.

Abroad
On Friday I did my shopping. As I thought might be the case, the Sainsbury’s store I went to was better stocked than the one my father visited on Thursday. Of course, there were still empty shelves, but overall it was in better shape. This week, I will be helping my father with the shopping again, though probably not until Wednesday.

Over the weekend, I saw photos and video of people out and about in parks and at markets in London. On the one hand, it of course made me very frustrated; on the other, who knows how the camera was being used. By that I mean, even if cameras don’t lie, they can still be used to present a manipulated image. This is the case even when they present the truth – in publishing it, the intention of the photographer or cameraman could be to use it to arouse our emotions positively or, unfortunately, negatively. I felt mine rising in the latter way so moved on.

A.O.B.
I continued Duolingo this weekend. As of today I am on a 289 day streak! If I get there and remember, I will record Day 300.
Today, I read a book for the first time in probably about two weeks (excluding Lent spiritual reading). I started with Anthony Beevor’s The Second World War and Clare Lydon’s lesbian romance Nothing to Lose. Now, can I read some more tomorrow, and the day after that, and…
I bought two little bottles of wine at the weekend and am now enjoying them. I shall end this post here so that I might continue to do so!

Subs and Shopping

Corona Chronicles III

Home
I started work early yesterday so that I could do most of it before going shopping with my father. My job entails doing the social media for a newly set up film production company. The job is fun but challenging in that I always have to be careful about how I speak and what I speak about. This is all the more the case now in light of the corona virus. I want to speak optimistically but not in a way that annoys or grates. How do I do this? It’s a judgement call and, yes, a process of trial and error.

I completed the last of my exercises yesterday. Today, I’m taking a rest from physio before resuming tomorrow. The physiotherapist called me; unfortunately, I was at Sainsbury’s at the time so couldn’t take the call. When I called the NHS line later, I was told to ring back in a couple of weeks. The person to whom I spoke sounded brusque. I imagine they were tired from a busy day of dealing with calls like mine.

I finished watching Kursk: The Last Mission. It is a good, suspenseful drama. If you know the story of the Kursk, you know what will happen but because the characters in the film are so strongly written that didn’t matter. I rate it 8/10.

If Kursk: The Last Mission has any accuracy, the Russian government was criminally negligent in how it (under)funded the Navy, which directly led to the failure of the rescue attempts when the Kursk went down, and in how it refused foreign help when it became clear that the Navy was unable to rescue its sailors. In fact, if you read the Wikipedia article on what happened (here), it is clear that the Russian government and Navy were both negligent. I should add, though, that the film is not a completely accurate portrayal of what happened. For example, it suggests that the sailors who survived the initial explosion that sunk the Kursk lived for much longer than they did in real life. After finishing Kursk: The Last Mission, I moved on to a drama-comedy: The Terminal.

Abroad
Further to yesterday’s post – I accompanied my father on his weekly shopping trip. Sainsbury’s was very calm. There were quite a few people wearing face masks but very few had gloves on, which seemed to rather defeat the purpose of the face mask. Of course, if the corona virus can live on clothing for any amount of time then even wearing gloves is a waste of time. Just wash your hands and try not to touch your face!

As for Sainsbury’s, demand continues to outstrip supply. We saw many empty shelves and came away without many of the items on our list. The Sainsbury’s that we went to is a very large store and, I suspect, the go-to place for a lot of people roundabout. I say this because the Sainsbury’s that I go to on Fridays is a bit smaller and this time last week was much better stocked. Maybe, though, it’s unfair to compare last week with this week. I will find out later today what shape it is in now.

A.O.B.
– In yesterday’s press conference, Boris Johnson said that he thinks the tide can be turned in three months. Let’s hope so.
– The F.A. has suspended all professional football until 30th April and has suggested that the league season can go on ‘indefinitely’. I’ll be reading more about this because I can’t see how it can. Not unless they want to potentially shorten or abandon the 2020/21 season. Otherwise, at some point in the summer they’ll have to say enough’s enough and either call the 2019/20 season null and void or declare the current league positions as the final ones. As a Manchester United fan I have no interest in seeing Liverpool win the league but if the season can’t be finished it would be a huge injustice to the Merseysiders if they were not awarded the title. Especially since they have played quite magnificently this season.
– Formula 1 is hoping to get going again in June. Well, let’s see.

From 1208 to Dunkirk to the Present

Corona Chronicles II

Home
All remains well in my house. My brother, who stays here during the week for his work, has returned to his home in Suffolk to be with his wife, and help look after his mother-in-law who is very unwell (not with the coronavirus). We won’t see him again until the pandemic is over.

For my part, I have managed to keep my home exercise going this week: just simple on-the-spot walking while watching a film on Netflix. I exercise like this for one hour. I would do more but with all the other things I want to do there isn’t the time. Today was the day of my follow-up appointment with the physiotherapist. Unfortunately, after writing my last post, I received a text message to say it had been cancelled. I shall take a day off tomorrow and then continue the exercises until such time as I see him again.

On Monday and Tuesday I watched Dunkirk again. It is a great film. I love how Christopher Nolan not only doesn’t name but barely ever shows the enemy. In doing so, he forces you to pay that much more attention to the British soldiers and their suffering. I was once more very stirred by Admiral Bolton’s, Mr Dawson’s and George’s heroism. For the last couple of days I have been watching Kursk: The Final Mission. I’ll say more about it when I have finished it, today or tomorrow.

I continue to work. I wonder how long for? Will the company I work for decide that since their work is impeded it isn’t worth keeping me on? As that decision is out of my hands, there is no point worrying about it. All I can do is just the best job in the time given to me.

I have discovered a really good new livestream to watch during my downtown. Check out Nova of the Sea on Twitch. She is currently playing the brilliant The Last of Us. This game is all of a sudden a bit on the nose, being set in a post apocalyptic world where Mankind has been decimated by an, er, incurable infection. Oh dear.

Abroad
On Tuesday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said that Church of England services should stop. I’m not sure how things work in the C of E, if ABC & ABY have the power to stop services or if they can only advise it, but either way, I doubt that there will be a church that defies them. At least, I hope not.

On the day that this announcement was made, an Anglican priest who I follow on Twitter said that it was the first time since 1208 that ‘all public worship has been banned in the Church of England.’ which was a bit cheeky as the C of E didn’t exist then. His argument was that the Reformation led to a ‘change of management’ (I’m sure that was the phrase he used but I haven’t been able to find the tweet) but that the church remained the one that existed before. That is, shall we say, not quite the Catholic understanding but let’s leave that for the theologians and historians to argue about. Back in 2020, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales followed the ABC’s and ABY’s lead (as well as the Scottish Catholic bishops) by calling a halt to Masses as of Friday. So, on Sunday I’ll get to lie in. We take the positives where we can! I must say more about the Church of England as I think about her more these days than I ever did before.

This morning, I will start work earlier as later on I am accompanying my father on his weekly shopping trip. He usually does it by himself but because people over 70 may soon be told to stay indoors I might have to take over. He’s taking me along so that I can see what he does. I wonder what we will find – if anything – and what state we will find out fellow shoppers? Anything less than panicky will please me.

Inspired by a friend I’ve never met

Corona Chronicles I

I follow Niall Gooch on Twitter. He is a clever and compassionate person and I always benefit from his tweets. A few days ago, he tweeted,

This seemed to me a good idea so on this blog, until such time as the coronavirus abates, I will try and record what’s going on in my little corner of the world – Islington, London, U.K.

First of all, home life.

Yesterday, our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, ‘urged everyone to avoid unnecessary social contacts, to work from home where possible, and to stay away from pubs and restaurants.’ This doesn’t affect me too much as I work from home, and don’t have the money to go out very much, anyway.

The above quotation comes from the BBC website, here. The same report states that ‘[p]eople in at-risk groups will be asked within days to stay home for 12 weeks.’ My mother and father are 79 and 80 so are definitely ‘at risk’. I still live in the family house so am now part son, part shield. The latter fits my love of chivalry perfectly. Are there any medieval romances where the Knight washes his hands a lot?

A concern for my parents now informs all my actions when going out. For example, yesterday (16th March) I had intended to take a walk across town to Westminster Cathedral to go to confession. Because of the worry that I might pick something up, at the cathedral if not along the way, however, I decided to stay at home. Now that we are being told to avoid unnecessary social contact, I suspect I will not go to confession again until the summer. It’s not ideal but the thought of bringing an unwelcome guest home is even worse.

Now that I am avoiding going out, what about my daily walks? I am going to do more exercise at home, even if it is just walking on the spot while watching a film on Netflix or a You Tube video.

Speaking of exercise, you may recall me mentioning my dodgy leg in last year’s Camino posts. Well, back in January I finally – FINALLY – got round to submitting a request for a physiotherapist appointment with the NHS. I thought I might not get an answer until later in the year but within a week or two, I was offered an appointment. Three weeks ago, I met the physiotherapist and he gave me some exercises to do. I have been carrying them out religiously ever since and let me tell you, while my leg is not perfect, it is SO MUCH BETTER than before. The old pain is almost entirely gone. Not quite, but almost. I am amazed. And all it took was ‘some’ stretches. Unless the medical centre has been closed, I am meeting the physio again this week to let him know how I have been getting on. I can’t wait to tell him.

There is one fly in the ointment – part of the physiotherapy involved walking in a slightly different way and I haven’t managed to perfect that yet. In fact, I am a long way off it, so that’s something I need to work on whenever I do go out.

Away from home.

I mentioned above not going to confession. I will keep going to Mass unless one of us in the house falls ill or until/unless the churches are closed. How extraordinary it is that I have to write these words. Who could have foreseen it, even at the start of the year? It’s like we have gone back to the time of Shakespeare with the closing of the theatres. The other day, someone on Twitter said that when W.S. was quarantined he wrote King Lear. The implication was that you should do something similar. Nonsense, of course, but I hope I can be at least a little creative. I have one or two ideas in this regard and will mention them if I can realise them.

All sporting events in the country have been cancelled or postponed for the time being. The one that affects me most is the calling off of the first few Formula 1 races. I can do without football or even rugby but F1 I miss. Depending on how things go we won’t get any races until May or June.

As I said above, I don’t go out the often. I am the secretary of The Keys Catholic literary group, though, so attend its meetings every month. I had already decided not to go to this month’s meeting but yesterday the Master decided to postpone it. I immediately sent the e-mail to all the members confirming this. Thankfully, the ones who have responded have been very understanding. We haven’t decided what to do about April’s meeting, but as with the F1, I don’t expect there will be another one until the summer.

Further Afield

There is just one thing I would like to write here. Business Insider reports that the American President, Donald Trump, ‘tried to poach German scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine and offered cash so it would be exclusive to the US’. You can read the report here.

If the report is true – the German government says it is, the company for whom the scientists work say it is not – it really is the most diabolically selfish act on Donald Trump’s part. Of course, given his past behaviour, we should not be surprised by this, but I think we may be surprised by the depth of his selfishness in this regard.

Thank you to Niall for letting me quote his tweets in this post! (It’s true I’ve never met him so I hope he doesn’t mind me calling him a friend).

An Unexpected Reader

The coronavirus in London, U.K.

I attend and serve at the 8am Mass in my parish. Today, there were definitely fewer people there, but I don’t think a lot were missing. Not yet.

We were missing two important people, though: our Readers.

In case you aren’t familiar with the Mass, we have four readings: one from the Old Testament, one from the New, and one from the Gospel. Sandwiched between them is a Psalm. Lay people read the OT, NT and Psalm, while the priest reads the Gospel.

At the 8am Mass, one person reads the OT and Psalm, while the second reads the NT and then returns from the pews to read the Bidding Prayers a few minutes later. When a Reader is away, someone else usually takes their place. This morning, however, that didn’t happen. On seeing this, the Parish Priest asked me to do the readings.

It was rather nerve wracking! Ito be fair, it could have been worse – I have been a Reader before, but only a long time ago (the Church doesn’t encourage people to do more than one ‘ministry’ at Mass and mine for some years now has been to altar serve). There were two complications – I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses, and while I had already read today’s readings after completing Lauds this morning, I had tripped over St. Paul once or twice due to his long run-on sentences. This meant I wasn’t very confident about having to read him aloud.

Happily, though, the readings went well. I didn’t make any big mistakes and managed to hold it together with St. Paul. I think I even understood him better than when I had read him silently earlier. The Holy Spirit was definitely working through me.

I returned to the lectern to read the Bidding Prayers. By now, I had had two or three minutes to get properly nervous so my heart was pounding away. When I started reading, I had to contend with having to read one or two prayers that, let’s just say, were written in a very general way, as well as with one or two typos. Neither were huge issues, though, and I got to the end just fine.

Mass continued. The coronavirus has put an end, for now, to the handshake that accompanies the Peace and the distribution of the Precious Blood so lay people no longer bring the chalices containing the water and wine to the Sanctuary. The priest still needs both but they are placed on the credence table (the table at the side of the Sanctuary where the various chalices and other items needed for the celebrating of Mass are kept until required by the celebrating priest) before Mass and are brought over to him by the altar server.

Because I am not used to bringing them to the priest before bringing the other things that he needs, I almost got lost in working out what to do first this morning. I had to pause, take a breath and think before moving on. Looking back, I can only shake my head at how easy I got confused but at the time I was a bit flummoxed! At least next week I will remember what happened and be prepared. I hope!

I wasn’t the only one getting flummoxed today – whoever prepared the credence table forgot to put a corporal on the chalice to be would be used for distribution of the Eucharist. When the priest realised this, he asked me to go and fetch one. Cue me dashing ‘backstage’ to pick one up. I almost took the wrong cloth before remembering and picking up the right one!

***

When I decided to write this post, I thought it would be a very quick and short one. Having written it, however, I see that I have used quite a bit of Catholic jargon. Apologies for that. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any way to avoid it. There are a couple of words I’d like to explain here: a corporal is a large piece of cloth that is unfolded on the altar. Its practical purpose is to protect the altar surface. I can think of one or two other reasons for it being there but that will suffice for now. The Sanctuary is the area in which the altar is located. In some churches, the Sanctuary is cut off from the congregation by an altar rail (or even, in old churches, a wooden rood-screen).

Another effect of the coronavirus outbreak is that the people doing the collection today (which in my church is done by passing round a bag that is then brought to the front of the church and taken by me to a safe, ‘backstage’) wore rubber gloves. Finally, when I say ‘backstage’ I mean either the corridor leading to the sacristy, where we get ready for Mass, or the Sacristy itself. In this post, I mean the former.

Lessons Learnt From The Camino

On Sunday morning I got to thinking (once more) about what I learnt from my first Camino. At the same time, I asked myself if I was remembering what I had learnt. Unfortunately, I realised that I was not. Here are the lessons that came to mine:

  1. Appreciate water, and drink it regularly
    This is hard: day-to-day how does one truly appreciate a thing? It’s easy with a person – you show them kindness, etc – but with a thing?
    As for drinking water regularly, I know that I don’t do that. For several weeks now, I have been meaning to look on-line to see how much I am supposed to drink per day but have not yet done so. I have in the past, only to forget the information and drink less.
  2. Eat healthily
    I would say that my diet isn’t too bad, but it still involves regular amounts of sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks. They need to either stop or at least slow down until I get a sense of balance in my diet.
  3. So Far As You Are Able, Look After Your Body
    I have failed badly in this. In May 2018 I developed a muscle complaint in my right thigh that my doctor suggested I go to physiotherapy for. He gave me the requisite form to fill out and send off but I didn’t do anything about it: I didn’t want to take the time off work. As a result, the complaint got worse. It didn’t stop me from walking the Camino but it did make me need Ibuprofen on a pretty regular basis and it did make trekking polls a fairly essential part of my kit. When I got home from the Camino, I should have sent the form off then but still didn’t for the same reason as before. I am only now doing something about it. Yesterday, I sent the form away. The physio’ will be on the NHS so I will have to wait a while for a response but hopefully they will be able to alleviate the problem if not cure it. After nearly two years of doing nothing I have to admit that I just don’t feel deserving of a cure.
  4. Travel Lightly
    This has multiple meanings.
    On a day-to-day basis it means keep as clean a desk as possible, throw away any paperwork you don’t need, get rid of any possessions – whether it is tech, books, or anything else – that you don’t need. All this is important as I am a bit of a hoarder. I do try to be tidy but so far it is more of an on-off thing than a permanently on, if you see what I mean.
    Travel Lightly also has a deeper meaning, for example, don’t let yourself be attached to material possessions, don’t buy anything except for what you really need (whether on account of beauty or utility or anything in between). As with the day-to-day meaning, I currently get rid of what I don’t need on an on-off basis. In the depths of my heart, I love what I have too much. I know this to be true because whenever I am ill and start thinking about worse case scenarios I am sad at what I will lose by dying. A Christian who is truly aligned to God should not be thinking in this way.
  5. Be Prepared to Make New Friends
    Since coming home from Santiago I have not made any real effort to make new friends. I definitely need to think about this more and then come to a conclusion and then act upon it. But why must I make new friends? That’s a good question with lots of answers, one of which is because I am not, and don’t want to be, a recluse.

So, five lessons learnt from the Camino. What next? First of all, don’t be surprised if I come back to this subject in another post – especially if I think of more lessons. In the meantime, I am going to use this post as an opportunity to ask myself how I can implement the ones above. For example, I have just looked up how much water should one drink per day. The website said two litres (three pints) so that’s what I am going to try and do. What about the other lessons? Let’s see.

The Rise of Skywalker

After writing this post, I wasn’t going to go and see The Rise of Skywalker but in the end I decided ‘Why not? It’s the last episode of the Star Wars saga (The Skywalker part of it, anyway) so let’s give it a go’.

I took my seat in the cinema and ~ well, I have to say that while I was in the cinema, I did enjoy myself. The action moved at a breathless pace and it was good seeing Rey and the gang (that sounds like an 80s band, doesn’t it!) one last time. The special effects were top notch, light sabre duels will never disappoint, and there were some funny and tender moments to dwell in.

Unfortunately, the film is a sugar rush movie; there is very little in it that is truly nutritious.

What do I mean by this?

Well, as I said, the action moves at a breathless pace. And it keeps moving. It never stops: one daring exploit after another; one explosion after another; one planet, one ship, one fight after another. The film never pauses to catch its breath, or to let its characters develop. The best films combine action and character. The Rise of Skywalker didn’t. I wouldn’t say that the characters existed simply to service the action – the film wasn’t that bad – but they were definitely subservient to it.

For me, character development provides the nutrition of a film because it’s through them that we grow. Like sweets, explosions are great fun – very addictive in their way – but you don’t learn about the human condition through them. Hence, The Rise of Skywalker‘s sugary nature.

The Rise of Skywalker would have been a superb film if its director J. J. Abrams had learnt from The Bourne Ultimatum. There, Paul Greengrass provides a masterclass on how to combine action and character. He does this simply by paying attention to his script to make sure the two are in alignment. Abrams, by contrast, seems to have said, ‘we start at A and end at Z; how do we get there in the loudest way possible?’.

Having said all that, The Rise of Skywalker is the first of the three sequel trilogy films that I would be prepared to buy and put in my DVD library. For all its flaws, something in the film worked and I would like to watch it again to try and uncover what that something is. Plus, however much I like the film or not, Star Wars IX is, by virtue of being the last part of the Skywalker saga, a culturally significant film that anyone who likes film and science fiction ought to own.

What next? Well, as for me, I simply move on. As per my last post (link above), The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t for me, and that’s fine: Deo Gratias, I stopped hating the sequel trilogy last year. I won’t move on very far, though: I still enjoy reading about the Star Wars universe, and especially seeing the memes created around them. There are a lot of super talented people out there.

  • For another take on The Rise of Skywalker, visit my friend John’s blog and read his first class review here

Camino 2: Taking a Dog

My walking companion for Camino 2 would like to bring her dog. Can it be done? Is it practicable? To find out, I turned to the Camino Pilgrim Discussion Group on Facebook, of which I am a member. Heres my post,

I was wondering if anyone here has walked the Camino Frances with a dog and if so what advice you would give to anyone else contemplating doing the same. 

Alternatively, even if you haven’t, what advice would you give/books about the subject you would recommend.

Over the next 24 hours or so I received 41 responses. The vast majority of them were negative: don’t take your dog at all; it’s too hard for them. A handful were neutral about the matter and another handful offered useful advice about what to do if you do take a dog. I have screen shotted those replies to send to my friend.

As the replies came back and the negative responses piled up, my friend suggested that if the Francés is too difficult perhaps we could walk the Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia-Santiago route. That would take about ten days and allow for shorter and slower days – ideal for four paws, and, no doubt, two legs as well.

If we do decide to walk from Santiago to the sea and back again does this mean that a second Camino Francés is out of the question? I can’t speak for my friend, but I would still like to walk that route again. Maybe it will be possible to do both routes, me leaving SJPdP and joining my friend in Santiago or else me doing the Camino Francés at a later date. We’ll see; we’re at such an early stage of planning that neither may happen.

If you are thinking about walking the Camino with a dog, here are four links that I was given that might be useful:

Today, I started the journey towards Camino 2

I don’t know when this journey will end. I don’t even know if it will end. I’m setting out, anyway, in the hope that one day between now and who knows when, I will be fit enough and have enough money to set out from St. Jean Pied de Port to walk the Camino Francés for a second time.

I will update this blog every time I take another step towards my second Camino. Don’t hold your breath, though, for the updates will for a while be few and far between.

So, you may ask, what happened today to start the journey? Well, I started a new job.

Hold on, didn’t you start a new job back in June? Wasn’t that the start of C-2? No. Even though I knew before finishing my first Camino that I wanted to walk another one I didn’t start the June role thinking ‘This is the beginning of the journey towards Camino 2’. Back then, Camino 2 was just an aspiration. As of today, it is a firm intention.

Okay, so what are you doing starting another new job? Ah. Well, the June one was a temp position. This one, as it happens, is a permanent post.

That’s good news. It shouldn’t be too hard to save up the necessary money. Indeed. Except, it is part-time so saving up will not be easy. Especially since my bank account is currently deep in the red.

But you have job security. Did I mention that I will be freelancing? If they don’t like me…

The good news is the job is in social media, which I have wanted to work in for a long time. I started the job today and can’t wait to get stuck in.

When will Camino 2 happen? I said above ‘who knows when’ and meant it. I don’t know. It quite possibly won’t happen. I have a feeling, though, it will take an extraordinary financial turnaround for it to do so. And as it happens, that fills me with comfort: A week ago, I had no job and nothing in the offing. Today, I have a new job. The job was confirmed yesterday, just hours after I had given away all the money in my coat pocket. Two extraordinary turnarounds. If those two, why not more?

Anyway, I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to do as well as I can to save up and stay fit and if the good Lord wants me to set off across the Pyrenees, whether via the Napoleon or Valcarlos route, He will.

Buen Camino!

The Aid of Illness

In my last post, I said that this general election campaign is both interesting and anxiety inducing. Despite the former and because of the latter, I have steered clear of it on social media as much as possible.

Is it good to run away from one’s anxieties? Wouldn’t it be better to face them down? I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t have an answer to that. I imagine, though, that the answer is Yes, one should face them them because only that way lies freedom.

However, if that is to be done, surely one needs to confront one’s anxieties in a way that is positive: it’s no good facing what you hate or fear with that hate and fear. Freedom doesn’t lie that way, only confrontation and war, which perpetuates and escalates the problem.

So, what is to be done? I’m a Christian so my view is that my anxiety, and the hate and fear that it induces, needs to be washed away with love. How? With prayer. But also, attentiveness; attentiveness to the uselessness of anger.

It’s one thing to know that anger (the negative kind; I’m not talking about righteous indignation here) is useless but how does one interiorise it?

I think the best way is to meditate on it, to find where it exists within oneself and drive it out by the practice of love. Another way, though, and a harder way that I would not wish on anyone, is through illness.

Last week, I woke up with a need to visit my G.P. As it turned out, I wasn’t seriously ill but I didn’t know this at the time, and as a result, I was in a state of discomfort and worried.

While I was in this state, my anxiety about the general election fell away. It seemed so much stuff and nonsense, a complete waste of energy and life.

It felt bad to realise I had taken such a wrong path, but it was also a blessing, for now I could set about finding the right one. Having said that, I can’t help but look back on that morning, ten days ago, and wonder Why did it take a little existential crisis for the truth to come out?

I guess I am just spiritually immature. At least I know better, now; at least I have a chance to find the right path again. I hope I do so before the memory of what happened fades away. You see, this isn’t the first time I have had this realisation. It has happened before – yes, when I was unwell – and ultimately, nothing changed.

How to find the right path? Well, I certainly need to go back to yesterday’s post: prayer.