I hope everyone had a lovely Easter, though I can’t imagine that for many it was as lovely as mine. Having not expected to get to Downside for the Retreat (as I would have been in hospital had my autograft gone ahead), I turned up with Fred on Thursday evening and had a wonderful time all the way until Sunday lunchtime when we left.

Thursday evening mostly consisted of greeting and catching up with people, and that was especially nice this year as many were surprised and, fortunately, pleased to see me. What’s more, we packed out Bainesbury (the house at Downside that we, the OMV, rent for the duration) with wonderful people, including many of my closest friends. Hurrah! On Friday I didn’t risk setting out on the Cross Walk with the others, as I’m still not as strong as I could be, but did attend the service and then in the evening chaired our ‘chat with a priest and a few glasses of wine’, which went very well. Saturday was more relaxed, with just a bit of flower-arranging in the morning in the Abbey (to help pay for Bainesbury), a talk I attended, and a pub lunch with the OMV lot. In the afternoon we had a game of Articulate, relaxed in Bainesbury and then later had a quiet drink in the pub as my other siblings (including in-law) turned up. Then there was the Vigil, which was lovely, and didn’t seem as long as it was, before we had our Resurrection Party in Bainesbury, where we provide the youngsters of the Retreat with somewhere to let their hair down without keeping their parents etc awake. On Sunday quite a few people left early, so by the time we had cleaned up Bainesbury and had a little bit of lunch (yes, Tomandalice and Harriet, that was our breakfast) there were just a few of us left. It was very sad to say goodbye, and the time had whizzed past, but it was a lovely lovely retreat. Thanks to Jo for organising it.

The sadness of it ending was cancelled out pretty swiftly by going to Tomandalice’s house for Easter lunch, where Harriet was also staying: we had a very entertaining time, washed down with some wine and punctuated with Easter egg hunts. We even found an old wooden golf club in the garden, plus a couple of old tennis balls, so the hunt was a bit more fraught with risk than usual, as I took aim at the hunters. That fun was spoilt when Tom’s mighty whack saw the head of the club come flying off and almost decapitate someone – fortunately Harriet didn’t remember that there was actually a set of golf clubs in the back of her car… Leaving there, though, was sad again as Fred and I realised that the wonderful Retreat and the entertainment of being with siblings was all over and it was back to humdrum reality. Or something.

I do love going back to Downside, for a number of reasons. I had five brilliant years there, and remember them fondly whenever I return. The welcome is always touching and sincere, and it’s great to talk to old friends from the monastery and elsewhere in the Downside family. I suppose I also feel very proud when I go back, as I managed to get my name engraved on a couple of boards in the Main Hall and haven’t yet ruined the good reputation I earned during my time there! Unfortunately there weren’t any school team photos when I was in the 1st XV for rugby, so nobody believed I had been… Anyway, to the right is a picture of Greg Parvus playing for Downside, drawn by Honeypot, to make up for it. As I was saying, though, it’s always great to be back at Downside, and I had a wonderful surge of energy and joy being there.

I was once again touched by the number of people who asked after me, told me that I am in their prayers and offered their continuing support. It does make an enormous difference to know that there are so many people gunning for me, including many I have not necessarily even met. I was surprised to find this blog advertised on a board in the Main Hall, but moved to know that the Downside community still cares about me. Amusingly, it was pinned up underneath another notice advertising Confession…

11 thoughts on “Happy Easter!

  1. The retreat sounds like such good fun; remind me NEVER to let you near a golf club!

    So good to hear you sounding like your old adorable self!

    Love always

  2. Hi George

    Sorry that my arrival on your blog is rather late in the day… Marcus the Badger told me about your illness recently and gave me your blog address so I just thought I’d drop by and say hello. I will be continuing to pray for you and your family as you continue the long-term chemo.

    Much love

    Sean (from Jesus college)
    (sean dot doherty at theology dot ox dot ac dot uk)

    P.S. It’s great to hear you had such a fantastic Easter retreat!

  3. Greetigs from Belgium again!
    I am glad you had such a marvellous Easter. You deserved it through and through. I am also deighted to see you were attempting to make it into next year’s tort books via a ground-braking Norton v. Norton.
    I head back to Munich tomorrow and hope that by now the snow will have – finally – melted.
    I am thinking of you always and promise to be in touch more frequently again.
    Lots of love,
    Isabella xxx

  4. I’m glad you had a good time on retreat – was thinking of you on Good Friday whilst making a mess with a large number of small Sunday School people.
    (Children, although some of us leaders were almost as bad)

    Many hugs, as always

    hannah xx

  5. Dear George,

    I hope this isn’t too out of the blue. Since last I saw you when Chris and Christina and I popped over, I’ve contiuned to check your blogg for progress, and have several times nearly left you a comment. But I’ve always talked myself out of it – bloggs and what not are a bit hi-tech for the likes of me!

    Anyway, I had stern word with myself and decided I’ve been being very stupid so am bitting the bullet and commenting now. All I really want to do is let you know I’m thinking of you and send you all the best wishes I can – which is obviously no good if you don’t know about it!

    Sorry once again for not commenting on your blogg all the other times I should have.

    Take care,
    x x x

  6. am so amused by Jags yah, darling WHERE have you been??? what you up to mr george? am going to ring you yes sireee I am (have my comments got weird? i blame the country air…) X

  7. Heya!
    It was fab to see you at bits of the Retreat, loving the spiky hair! its certainly more practical than my brother’s girly locks (which i have since chopped off, at Fr Leo’s request!)
    We’ve just got back to school, fun fun fun with a bit of work involved for these AS’! Highlight of the day was getting my prefect’s badge, its official!
    Anyway we wish you every luck in the world with the long term chemo, hopefully see you in Lourdes (if i’m accepted again)
    till then,
    Love from Shaftesbury
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

  8. Yah darhling!! George and Jo my larrvelly people…missing you already since the retreatie. However the weather was not to my liking…it made my buffont boof up more, yah.

    Right, am stopping this charade now. Really was great fun and def. mustn’t leave it so long next time. George, you’re in my thoughts and prayers as always,

    Becks xxxxxxx

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