Sunday 12 April 2020

Hail Thee, Festival Day!

Easter Vigil Mass 
Happy Easter, dear readers! This is certainly an Easter we will all remember--as long as the lock-down ends before, er... Happy Easter!

Holy Saturday was a gloriously sunny and warm day in Britain, even Edinburgh, and Benedict Ambrose and I went
Enormous elephant in the distance.
on the most marvellous walk. However, that had to wait until we had tidied the flat for the coming festival. After months of putting it off, I finally addressed the mess that was my desk.

Then we went on our walk, up a rarely-used industrial road and a semi-private path to our potential last earthly home, and then along the patrician streets to a country lane and back. The sun shone so warmly, we took off our outer garments and wrapped them around our waists. We also got slightly sunburnt, which is not something we expected in Scotland in April. It's sunscreen and hats for me from now on.

I know this one.
Here is a flower gallery for Aged P to identify.

Here are our new country lane and fields.

While we were gazing upon the fields, we were addressed by the male half of an elderly couple with two identical dogs who looked half-poodle, half-dachshund. They were walking along the edge of the nearest field, and because of their patrician clothing and demeanour, I suspected they owned it--or the charming house in the distance. We also encountered families of three or four going for walks, kept our distances from boys on bicycles, and noted people sitting in twos or threes in a hitherto unknown to me park.

I was both fascinated and unnerved by the park-sitters because if there is anything I learned last week from the UK scandal sheets, it's that sitting in a park or on a beach can now get you in trouble with the police. The thought of the police kept me from suggesting we walk to our nearest beach. On the first warm, sunny day of the year, the local beaches heave with people from all over Edinburgh.

That said, I would happily risk a fine to be able to go to Mass. Catholics in Britain were once fined (or worse) if they were caught going to Mass. However, I have not yet heard of a heather priest offering Mass in the fields, so no Mass for me---except online. Whereas an online Mass is not as satisfying as watching one out the window, as provided by St. Charles Borromeo during his plague, it is at least comparable. My parents are very fortunate in that their own parish church has a live- streamed Mass, and so they get to see their good Monsignor and their (hideously ugly) spiritual home.

Aged P made the tablecloth.
When we got home, I hung out the laundry, put on a hat, watered the grass and tackled a particularly nasty patch of dandelions. It's a war of attrition.

The terrible thing about dandelions is that you have to get the whole root, for if you don't, it will just grow again. So every dandelion requires at least four thrusts of the daisy-grubber into the ground, and some wiggling around, and then carefully pulling at the whole plant so to get the long, white root. I cannot imagine wanting to dry out the hideous roots and making them into coffee---well, yes, I suppose I can, if globalisation fails so badly that we can't have proper coffee anymore. I wonder if there is anywhere in Britain with anything approaching the climate needed to grow the beans.

While I was working, our neighbour Sandy came outside to tell me about a new book he was reading on Kindle. He had heard about it on the BBC. In short, 15 years ago a professor wrote a novel about a pandemic in London that had led to a lockdown and the death of the Prime Minister, but he had failed to find a publisher. He has now found a publisher.

At about 5:30 PM, I set about making żurek and a lamb cake. I scraped bits of the burnt sausage off the bottom of the frying pan, and it was the first time since Lent began that I had tasted sausage. Delicious.

B.A. was working hard, too.  He ironed our best linen tablecloth, set the table for our Easter feast, and
Note the tidy desk.
proceeded to make us a sea bass supper for quick consumption before the Easter Vigil in Warrington. I put a pillar candle in the window to announce the light of Christ to the neighbourhood.

Unfortunately, the Warrington livestream failed right up until the Gloria, so while poor B.A. kept up a vigil in front of the black screen, I went to the kitchen to ice my Easter lamb with buttercream. Like our Easter Vigil viewing, it was only partly successful: I ran out of icing sugar. Note for future: buttercream icing is only as good as the ingredients, so use only the freshest butter next time.

Bear evangelising the neighbourhood.
Easter Vigil lasted past 10 PM. I watched the Gloria, the Alleluia (and then iced an Alleluja on our mazurek), the Gospel, and the surprisingly accomplished Widor at the end. (Our FSSP priest informs me that that priest is a former professional musician, which solves the mystery.) B.A., of course, watched it all.

Then I had a little chat with my mother and went to bed with the Spectator.

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