Bath must be one of the most popular long distance train destinations in the country as even the early evening train from London Paddington train was so crowded that many had to stand for what the one and a half hour journey. Thankfully I had taken the trouble to reserve my seat.
Particularly as reservations are free of cost on the train I shall take advantage of that arrangement next time travelling down to Bath.
However Bath itself was crowded as their week end Christmas markets had just opened so even catching a taxi to the abbey took an age.
Eventually my taxi for the trip across took me there arriving only a couple of minutes late.
Upon sneaking quietly in to the refectory, as supper is usually eaten in silent contemplation by the community with some reading aloud, I was surprised and pleased to find that I had just made the start of a sixtieth birthday supper for a member of the community who had traveled over from Rome. The normal quiet contemplative dining arrangement of the community of some 12 people, was replaced by a meal complete with wine and overflowing with conversation and happiness - I was privileged to be invited to attend.
Later that evening after finding a room in the Abbey to stay the night, I attended the community's Compline sung in the Abbey in Latin.
Knowledge of Compline and Latin being somewhat rusty on account of the few years that have passed since Beaumont days, I was fortunate enough to be shown the words and appropriate place in the monks' choir stalls, by some young people who I believe are from South America staying in their own community house fairly close by and who also attended Compline.
Gales struck Bath and much of England and Scotland overnight on Friday but early on Saturday morning after breakfast in the refectory, venturing forth into the nearby woods and farmlands for a walk in the wind, was invigorating albeit care was needed to avoid falling branches.
Low mass again in Latin followed after which much time was spent on meetings before setting off back to London.
A short but complete change in the pace of C21 life, proved to be invigorating as well as thought provoking and in many ways, challenging.