...the church of St James, Spanish Place, in London, where the Association of Catholic Women held its annual meeting at the weekend. I went along with Mother - a most enjoyable and interesting day. There was an talk from Mgr Langham of Westminster Cathedral, giving a sort of "behind the scenes" view of Cathedral life and explaining the role of a cathedral in relation to the diocese and the parishes, and then a wonderful look at some traditional English shrines of Our Lady in an illustrated talk by Anne Vail, whose book on the subject (published by Gracewing) is the fruit of a great deal of careful research and an evident love of her subject. I had not known there was once "Our Lady of Coventry" and "Our Lady of Doncaster". I did know about Our Lady of Caversham, as we have been there more than once, and indeed one of my godsons made his First Communion there.
The church's address is always given as Spanish Place, because of its historic links - its predecessor was a Spanish embassy chape. The present magnificent building retains strong links with Spain, the Ambassador attending an annual Mass in honour of St James, etc - but it is really in George Street, in that slightly villagey part of London around Marylebone High Street and not far from Baker Street. There is a fine statue of Sherlock Holmes near Baker Street tube station. Oddly, the only time I have ever had my handbag grabbed from me by a thief in a London street was in Baker Street, near Holmes' fictional home.
After the AGM, Mother was met by my brother who took her off for a family weekend at their new home.
The ACW has had a successful year, with activities ranging from fund-raising for a clinic for children with Downs, to organising the annual Religious Education project for primary schools...oh, and we'll be running, as usual, the refreshments at the Towards Advent Festival on November 3rd at Westminster Cathedral Hall (some of my blackberry jam on sale). Weve had correspondence with various Government departments about such horrors as the revolting and vicious notion that gravely ill pateints should be denied water in hospital