A Pilgrimage to Rochester
Then on Tuesday I made a gita to Rochester, a charming Cathedral city to the south of London. In terms of foundation, it's one of our oldest Cathedrals, dating back to 604 when St Augustine sent St Justus to be the first bishop.
Of course, the last but one Catholic bishop of Rochester was St John Fisher - who refused any further promotion, despite Rochester being the poorest see in the country. Up until the Reformation the Cathedral boasted the shrines of St Paulinus, St Ithamar (the first Saxon to be made bishop in England) and St William of Rochester (a pilgrim murdered on his way to Canterbury by his adopted son). But there are few traces of these shrines or of Cardinal Fisher in the Cathedral. Still, it's a pleasant enough place to wander round.
My intrepid travelling companion for this excursion was Fr Richard Whinder. He is an already well-known face on St Blog's UK but let me add another picture to the gallery. Here, the good Father is meditating on the ruins of the Cathedral's cloisters and thinking of bygone, happier days:
But, I must confess, the Cathedral was not the main priority of our visit, mainly because we have been there many times. On arrival our first stop was the rather impressive Elizabeth's of Eastgate Restaurant, where I had half a poissin and breast of guinea fowl, washed down with a bottle of Montepulciano and finished off with coffee and (non-pc) Lepanto brandy.
Fortified by such delights, it was time to make a pilgrimage to Baggins Book Bazaar, which claims to be the largest secondhand bookshop in England. I'm not sure if this is correct but it's certainly big and we spent a very happy hour or two browsing and making some select purchases (including a few old travel journals about Rome). Then it was back to London Victoria and a quick pizza. Thus I was ready to face the challenges of another week in parish and archive!