The weather has been atrocious these last few days, almost constant rain. And the tent is beginning to leak – hardly surprising as it must now be thirty years old.
Normally pilgrims don’t stop when it’s raining. Perhaps it’s just too much trouble to divest themselves of their wet ponchos. But today ten ladies from Nice stopped to take their lunch in the tent. There was only just room for them all – see the picture below. Then three more pilgrims, two men and another lady, also stopped. They had to take their lunch under the pavillon.
Ilness meant we had to close Emmaüs for a couple of weeks, but we opened up again this morning – with Morning Prayer at 8.30 as usual.
In the meantime some of us walked from St Jean-Pied-de-Port across to the start of the El Camino del Norte at Irun – through the beautiful foothills of the Pyrennees which the Basque people have very much made their own, with their red and white timber-framed houses and pristine settlements. This is one region of France which is not losing its rural population.
Just outside Irun is this sign: Love Finds the Way
And below are a couple of photos of a remarkably striking crucifix in the Church of St Vincent in the old town area of San Sebastian.
For us the major excitements of the week were taking the chap with the sprained ankle to Orthez to catch a bus to Bayonne; chatting to a range of pilgrims during the week over coffee; inaugurating the composting system which seems to be working well; and on our last day having a tent full of pilgrims at lunch time because it was so wet and lots of laughter with them. One couple who were a German man and his French wife took a photo ( see below) and so did a couple of French ladies who wanted us to pose for the photo with them, they were so taken with the idea … of having their photos on the internet.
The promised photos haven’t yet arrived but in the meantime here is the composting bin being delivered:
Today, along with all the towns and communes in France, in Arthez we celebrated the Fête de la Victoire, commemorating the end of hostilities in the Second World War. Here are some pictures of the ceremony: