Thursday, 19 April 2007

A tale of four cities and two walking sticks

Late last year I was planning to walk the last 100 kilometres or so of the pilgrim way to Santiago de Compostela with a group of friends. Sadly, other commitments got in the way so in the end I didn’t go. However in the meantime I had been shopping - for a pair of walking boots and a walking stick that would comply with the new restrictions on airline luggage. Clearly it was no longer possible to pitch up at a check-in desk with a stick of any kind so I found one that could unscrew in three parts and be packed in a suitcase.

I was rather proud of my new brass-headed cane so when six weeks ago I decided to realise my long-cherished wish to visit the Holy Land it was duly packed along with the ‘Spanish’ walking boots. Both proved extremely useful not least because the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem are in places extremely slippery and rubber soles and a stick with a rubber ferule forestalled a number of hard tumbles.

Then I took a bus to Bethlehem. The journey is described here. What I didn’t record was the fact that when I was talking to the driver on my way off the bus in Bethlehem, I omitted to pick up my stick! Given the interest shown in it previously by Jerusalem street traders, I imagine he will have got a good price for it. I certainly hope so.

Last night I browsed relevant sites on the internet for a replacement and at just after 1 am I placed an order. At five past nine this morning I had a call from the suppliers to say that, rather than putting the new stick in the post, could someone who wanted to come into the Ely market drop it off personally? At 9.35 - eight-and-a-half-hours after ordering it on line - I was the proud owner of a new walking stick. It is not a precise replica of the one now in or near Jerusalem but near enough.


Mac McLernon said...

Wow! How about that for service!!

But surely if you'd turned up at the airport with a walking stick, they could hardly take it off you...?

Stephen Wikner said...

I hope not but at a time when one was (and is) strictly confined to a single piece of hand luggage and having to remove hats, coats & jackets and shoes before going through security checks, I didn't want to take a chance.

Mac McLernon said...

BTW you can have a chuckle at our expense for a change from anglican rumblings... check out the letter from ICEL which Fr Tim Finigan received on the new translation and copyright!

Stephen Wikner said...

Thanks for this and bravo to your Fr Tim. His response is spot on. Since copying the text from his site (for sober perusal in my own good time)I have come across copies of the same draft text on a number of other sites. So, gentlemen (ladies?)of the ICEL the word is out and there ain't much you can do about it. King Canute and the waves come to mind!

You won't often find me citing the dear old C of E for doing something right but I'll make an exception here. In 2002 a 'preliminary edition' of Common Worship Daily Prayer was issued in a what Fr Tim would recognise as a cheap binding (paper back in this case)complete with a tear out questionnaire and blank pages for jotting down notes during use. The idea was to give the book - rather a good breviary of just under 900 pages incidentally - a dummy run for a couple of years before a definitive edition was published. This eventually came out in 2005 and, although it's far from perfect, I hope it will have an indefinite shelf life. Liturgies need time to settle down and here I'm not talking years and decades but generations.

Finally, why am I interested in the new ICEL translation? Quite simply because a lot of Anglican priests use the Roman Missal - it is, for instance, the rite used by 'my' community at Alton Abbey. However over and above that, churches and cathedrals which have daily eucharistic celebrations frequently use a copy of the Weekday Missal for its easy to use layout of the Propers.