The Indestructible Denim Skirt of Maximum Traddery is going back to Chartres! This time I will bring a snazzy camera, the better to capture all the pageantry and pain that is the world's premier TLM pilgrimage.
This year I will for sure buy a pilgrim's badge for my navy blue French Scout Hat of Incredible Foreignness.
I told my editor that I would harbour no hard feelings if he decided my time was better spent at my desk on other stories, for the pilgrimage is penitential and gruelling. However, he thought that sounded great, so I sent off a text to the leader of the Scottish Chapter, who rejoiced in the addition of a sheep to the Caledonian flock.
My editor recalled that there is usually someone important at the concluding Mass of the Chartres Pilgrimage, and his recollection was not faulty, for last year it was Cardinal Sarah. I hinted broadly that the important personage generally addresses the throng in French, and French is not one of your humble correspondent's pet languages. However, I am sure I will find someone to explain notable speeches to me.
Now I must begin to train for the ordeal ahead, and also to review my earlier reports, so that I do not remember too late what I learned last time. Most crucial is that I not bring my monster-beast of a red suitcase but a backpack roomy enough for my tent.
Fortunately for humanity, I realised even before I attempted the 2016 Pilgrimage that I must have a tent to myself.
Chartres Pilgrimage Essentials
1. Hiking boots with gel insoles.
2. Big backpack (no suitcase).
3. Own tent.
4. Shoes for camp that can survive water and mud.
5. Simple carbs. (I learned this the hard way, too. Don't be keto before or during a 70 mile hike.)
7. Glasses, not contacts. (Was I in-SANE?)
8. Large water- and sunroof hat.
9. Tub for soaking feet.
10. Very warm sleeping bag.
11. Eye mask in case of dawn before reveille.
12. Earplugs because of German youth playing "Oh! Suzanna" on guitars.
13. Many socks.
15. First Aid kit with scissors, fabric bandages, Compeed blister plasters, etc.
16. Air mattress.
19. Water bottle
21. Day knapsack.
22. Rain jacket
23. Nice outfit for Monday night, post-pilgrimage French restaurant supper.