This is going to be really short as there are only seven minutes of the day left and I’ve been working pretty much straight through since 08.00 so it’s time for bed!
Under “Days” on the pelerinage web site last year I wrote:
I spent the 9th of August last year in Chartres, left most of my baggage in the room in my B&B and cycled into the town centre, spent hours in the cathedral and a fair bit of time in the two other lovely churches. I failed to work out which building I’d rough slept in summer 1975 or ’76 when I’d hitch-hiked to Chartres. It had been under construction and provided a hard bed but dryness and somewhere I felt fairly safe. That was the only time in my life I did that sort of real roughing it. Oddly it was the only time in my life that I’ve been offered both drugs and prostitution. I guess I had hair down to my shoulder blades back then and probably an “Indian headband” I’d plaited of leather strips. I would have looked exactly what I was: an 18 or 19 year old wishing he was a hippy but knowing really that he was a decade or so late and probably also way too conventional and timid at heart. Two men not much older than me approached in the gardens behind the east end of the cathedral one evening and said I could sleep with their sister and that they had drugs, all for small fees. I was completely stunned and clearly said “non merci!” sufficiently clearly, and I suspect looked not worth mugging, so we parted company quickly.
I was reminded of that about 18 months ago when two patients in the group I was running compared notes. One, who had had a long period of taking every illegal psychoactive substance she could but had been clean for years asked how it was that the minute she stepped off a plane in another country, someone offered her drugs. Another, of similar age but who had never taken anything, commented that she wondered why it was that no-one ever offered her anything. It was one of those good moments in group therapy when a comparison of experiences comes from the heart and spins into useful discussions that pull in more of the group. In that case some of the discussion was about drugs but much more about how we are seen by others and how little we know of what we see in each other or of what others see. A good group becomes a safe place, at the best of times, in groups that have got to that place, it becomes the safest place any of the members have ever had, in which to compare experiences and share how each sees herself or himself and how each sees others in the group and outside it.
I do miss that sometimes. I miss the good group days, which can only ever happen when people themselves wanted and helped create the safety, that I had brought things to the mix that had helped the group be that sort of a place. Of course, there were also days when you couldn’t make it like that and there were some days when all you could do was try to limit the damage when lifetime bitter hurts collided and amplified: like a nuclear reactor going critical.
Today’s work has been all at a keyboard: going through two different draft papers and loads of Emails. I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences over the last 60 years!
Today in London was not a day to have been out on a bike, or really to have been out at all so it wasn’t that bad to be locked to the keyboard. It has poured with rain much of the day. Hard to belief Chartres was glowing with sun and warmth a year ago.
OK enough. If the blogging thing amuses you, do click through to that “First blog post“. Alternatively, if you haven’t seen them before, you might want to go to those “some photos“, which are still “still incomplete”!
OK, to sleep, perchance to dream … I suspect so, with all these odd memories bouncing around. Question is, will I remember the dreams?