Page 8 - HGS Suburb News 142 - Spring 2020
P. 8

Pilgrimage or just a very long walk?                                                            Fireworks feedback

                                                                                      challenge, looking for a change   The lead article in the Winter   had to be postponed and in
                                                                                      in direction, or taking time off   Issue of Suburb News certainly   light  of this,  the RA Executive
                                                                                      from a no longer satisfactory job   caused a few sparks to fly! Thank   Committee members decided
                                                                                      and there was indeed an element   you for your many emails both   during a ‘Zoom’ virtual meeting,
                                                                                      of ‘finding oneself’ coupled with   for and against putting a stop to   the fireworks would continue
                                                                                      ‘new  age’  preoccupations.  And,  the annual New Year’s Eve fire-  for this New Year’s Eve. Emma
                                                                                      of course, there were many real   works celebrations – we have   said: “Whilst the RA is definitely
                                                                                      pilgrims walking the Camino out   reprinted  two  of  them  to   in favour of looking at greener
                                                                                      of a sense of religious conviction.  represent both sides.   options, we felt  that once we
                                                                                      The frequent pilgrim masses held   The Chair of the Residents   get through Covid-19 and with
                                                                                      along the route attested to this.   Association, Emma Howard, was   all other Suburb events cancelled
                                                                                         A few people stood out for   proposing to seek views of RA   for the duration, it was important
                                                                                      me. A German middle-aged   members at the 30 March AGM   that there should be something
                                                                                      woman, who had had a serious   so the RA Council could take   really celebratory to mark the start
                                                                                      heart operation three years ago   these views into account in   of 2021. However, undoubtedly
                                                                                      and  who, afterwards,  couldn’t   forming a decision on what to   there is concern about the noise
                                                                                      move any of her limbs unaided,  do in future regarding the   caused by fireworks and this
                                                                                      completed  the  route  pulling  a   annual New Year’s Eve firework   year we will make arrangements
                                                                                      cart on wheels containing her   display. This event is loved by   with the pyrotechnic firm we
                                                                                      luggage and using a harness   many but there are clearly also   use to include many more low
      Liz Inman (second from left), pausing for a rest with fellow travellers.        made by the British military. An   those who are opposed to it.   noise fireworks as part of the
      I’ve been wanting to walk the   someone in front of or behind   Arcos or Navarete with their   Irish woman in her 70s, a legend   Unfortunately, Covid 19   display. We can then review the
      Camino de Santiago de Compostela   you, which is reassuring. The   baroque or medieval altar pieces   on the Camino, and who regularly   measures meant that the AGM   matter next year.”
      pilgrimage for many years. This   number of solo women walkers   to the real cathedrals in Burgos,  walks 40 kms a day. She is
      year, my 70th, I decided to do it.  is on the increase and it did feel   Leon, Astorga or Santiago. All   reported to have been refused   Dear Suburb News I have just read the article in the publication. I have
      I’d been  gradually building up   very safe.          the styles were represented:   her certificate in Santiago   lived in the Suburb for 40 years this year and have never been to see the
                                                                                                                 New Year display. Personally I have no interest in fireworks. I do not have
      my long-distance walking strength   I started out intending to   romanesque, gothic, plateresque,  because the officials didn’t   enough information about the effects of fireworks, but I know that many
      and felt it was now or never. I   have my baggage carried for me   renaissance and baroque. There   believe she had done 40 kms in
      booked a flight and the first   as I didn’t think I could manage   were treasure houses of religious   one day. So she went back 100   pets are completely terrified. Environmentally I am certain that there
      three nights’ accommodation. I   my 6kg backpack. However, after   art and artefacts everywhere, and   kms and redid the stretch   must be a price to pay. The display on the Thames is huge and people
                                                                                                                 enjoying this can watch it live on television. I have always been a
      was going on my own and    the first seven days I found I   even the most modest looking   getting a stamp for every 20   member of the RA but see this event as a waste of subscriptions. I feel
      wanted to play most of it by ear.  could carry it. I also started out   little village had a chapel that   kms and was shamefacedly given
      The Camino Francés, or French   in hotel/pension accommodation   might hold a surprise.   her certificate. Another German   there must be better ways to spend this money rather than just burning
      Way, is a more than 1000 year   thinking I was too old for the   In the end, however, it was the   woman of nearly 80 who has   it with bright colours, noise and disruption. I understand that young
                                                                                                                 children might get pleasure from this, but as you have asked, I am not in
      old pilgrimage to the shrine of   dormitories  in  the  ‘albergues’  people who were the highlight of   done the Camino 17 times and   favour. As I said earlier, there must be better things to spend this event
      the apostle St James the Great.  (hostels). But, about half way   the trip. You are never alone on   knows every church, albergue
      It has become increasingly   through, I was staying in albergues   the Camino unless you choose to   and  deviation and  is full  of   money on. Peter
      popular in the last 20 years,  and sleeping just as well (or   be. But no one is intrusive – the   useful advice. She zipped ahead   As a resident of the Suburb I feel that the fireworks displays are a fantastic
      having been declared a UNESCO   badly) as I would do in a private   convention seems to be: respect   of the rest of us with her pack. A   opportunity for all to enjoy themselves, old and young (and those in
      cultural heritage site. More than   room. Not only did I save a vast   other pilgrims’ privacy and choices,  young Belgian who has been on   between) alike. They unify our community and have been a source of joy
      300,000 ‘pilgrims’ complete the   amount of money but, more   but be friendly and approachable.  the Camino from Brussels for   for generations. Why deprive our children of something we enjoyed so
      route each year.           importantly, I was doing it the   The greeting ‘Buen Camino’ rang   four months with no money,  much? While not all traditions are appropriate these days, let us not be
         I walked the 500 miles from  ‘pilgrims’ way and so met many   out all the time: often from locals   earning what he needed by   too quick to discard that which has served us well. We must not become
      St Jean-Pied-de-Port in the northern   more people and was completely   who would gently point an erring   making and selling bracelets.  so precious as to become fragile. Let the fireworks go on! Simon
      foothills of the Pyrenees to   flexible. I loved the feeling of   pilgrim in the right direction.  When I asked why he hadn’t
      Santiago in 33 days, which was   setting off in the morning and   People were exceptionally kind   replaced his worn out shoes he
      considerably less than I’d   not knowing where I’d end up   and helpful and when you   said “these have had so  many
      anticipated – the route itself is   in the evening.   consider how many thousands   experiences I don’t want to part
      not difficult. I was able to do   There are many tedious   pour through the small villages   from them.” An American woman
      extensive sightseeing in Burgos,  stretches alongside major roads   in summer, it’s amazing how   and a French woman both in
      Leon and Santiago itself. It was   and motorways; routes into and   warm the greetings are, especially   their early 60s who were refusing
      in no way a rush. I deliberately   out of  cities seemed especially   from the remaining elderly   to follow their husbands into
      avoided putting pressure on   unending. The landscape and   inhabitants. I was able to use my   pipe  and  slipper  mode upon
      myself by not booking a home-  architecture, however, are varied:   French and German which greatly   retirement were not looking
      ward  flight until  a few days   from the Pyrenees to the rolling   enhanced the encounters. I also   forward to going home after this
      before I needed it. I also did not   wooded hills of Navarre with   speak a little Spanish, but as   new and liberating experience. I
      book any accommodation more   limestone villages; the extensive   elsewhere in the world English   heard of others who live their
      than a day or so ahead. I’d chosen   vineyards in Rioja; the endless   is the lingua franca.   lives on the Camino, rarely going
      the tail end of the season   wheat fields on the high central   Pilgrims have the same   home. And the number who   Garden Suburb Community Library News The library sadly had to close at the
      (October) and, although there   plain  of  Northern  Spain,  with   general goal and this is a great   come back time and time again   beginning of the crisis but has been active in trying to keep in touch with its users –
                                                                                                                 we now have an online Sing Song time for its youngsters, the Book Club is looking to
      were plenty of people around, it   wonderful yellow adobe villages;   unifying factor, but everyone has   to do this or other pilgrimage   meet online and once the strict lock-down measures are eased we have a book
      was not overly busy. I always   the dark granite villages in   their own story and motivation.  routes to Santiago is high.   collection scheme ready to launch. Keep in touch with all of the above at the library
      found somewhere to stay even   Galicia, which reminded me of   As they say ‘everyone walks their   So, a pilgrimage or a very   website:
      if I just turned up. The way is   central Wales.      own Camino’. I met a huge   long walk? The latter I think in
      exceptionally well signposted,   The religious architecture   variety of people of all ages and   my case but again, very much
      the tracks are wide and    and art were truly spectacular.  nationalities: Europeans, North   more than just a long walk. It
      unmissable, for the most part,  From the cathedral-like churches   and South Americans, Koreans,  was the total experience that
      and there is almost always   soaring up in villages like Los   Chinese, Japanese. I met people   was so captivating.
                                                            recovering from cancer or                  LIZ INMAN
                                                            bereavement, people fighting
         Hall and Randall Plumbers                          old age, or trying to reset their   Liz Inman has lived on the Suburb
                                                            lives at the beginning of   for eight years; she been involved
                                                            retirement; these were mostly   in various suburb activities: U3A,
         Plumbing and Heating Services • Property Maintenance  people in their 50 and 60s or   Suburb library, Proms at St Judes,
                                                            even 70s. Younger people were   Trust Estates Committee, and the
                                                            variously treating it as a physical   Tree survey of the Suburb.

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