On Sunday I went to London to see the OMV pilgrims newly returned from Lourdes, and it was wonderful to catch up with so many of them. Having missed the pilgrimage because of my treatment, they seemed to do their best to make up for it: I was overcome with love. It seems that ‘out of sight’ was not ‘out of mind’, as I was deeply touched all through the afternoon and evening by my welcome and by how much people cared. There’s always a lot of love in the OMV anyway, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve felt very loved since being ill: the massed ranks of the OMV made me feel more loved than ever before. I was humbled by everyone’s concern, support, thoughtfulness and kindness. Blimey.
I didn’t especially want to turn up on my own, particularly not having been to Lourdes (officially it’s the traditional end-of-pilgrimage farewell, so I was gatecrashing to some extent), so I met Rachael and Zoe at Victoria, before heading to the Scarsdale (a pub off High Street Kensington). Upon my arrival it took a good half an hour to get to the bar: everybody seemed pleased to see me! Adam had had his head shaved at the final-night party to raise money, but his hair still wasn’t quite as short as mine, and mine’s much fluffier. So there! At one point during the afternoon/evening, champagne was dished out to the wonderful people who had organised the pilgrimage, or parts thereof, and in a lovely gesture Adam announced that everyone had missed me, and all signed a card, which he presented to me. Little old me! Actually, by OMV standards, I am getting quite old… and I’ve always been little.
Lots of us then went on to an Italian restaurant in Fulham (as has now become traditional), at which I felt even more loved! I blame the freely-flowing wine: it always makes people more emotional… But anyway, before saying grace, Dom Raphael exclaimed to the 70-odd OMV members crammed into the basement that it was so lovely to have me there: I could only blush in reply. Later on I was dragged up to sing, and having croaked my way through a duet with the prodigiously talented Charlotte, was persuaded to haul out my almost famous ‘Sheep’ song (which first appeared to the OMV about 6 years ago). It has been said that I like to be the centre of attention now and then, and I must admit that I do like performing, especially when you get the sort of reaction I did then… It was very touching.
After supper, the tables were moved and some dodgy scratched CDs provided some music to dance the rest of the night away: fortunately I was feeling on good form health-wise, and was only hindered in my dancing by my flip-flops… Hehe. I stayed with some of my wonderful friends in Strawberry Hill, and remarkably even managed to get out of the house by 7:30am and to the Marsden on time for my appointment (which was fine, as was today’s).
All in all, it was a brilliant day, and I’m so so pleased I managed to make it. So many lovely people, so many stories to catch up on, and such fun. I must get to Lourdes next year… Hopefully this post has given you some idea of just how touched and uplifted I felt by everyone; the credit goes to all my OMV friends – thank you!