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Monday, 30 April 2007


I left my mother to the airport this evening, off for her annual "Parish Pilgrimage" to Lourdes. When she returns, she will distribute all manner of purchased favours and talismans to myself and other lucky relatives and friends; mass cards, holy water infused cough sweets, small bottles of holy water in the shape of Our Lady with a blue lid in the shape of a crown, relics (splinters of the true cross/Padre Pio blood flakes etc), medals, souvenirs, bibles and prayer cards.

Brenda insisted I was to drive her across London in the Audi Q7 and not the Prius, as she is keen to display evidence of her daughters affluence to the other parishioners. In the queue for check in, standing behind a woman with in a fabulous full-length shearling coat, my mother began jealously quoting (Matthew 19:24):

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven."

"What are you trying to say mother?" I laughed. She is such a hypocrite!

Finally at the check in desk, the assistant asked my mother:

"Did you pack the luggage yourself?"

To which my mother replied bitterly:

"Did you ask the woman in the shearling coat that question? Do I not look as though I can afford help?"

Oh mother!

She is a pretentious old bird. We are so similar in many ways...


mutterings and meanderings said...

Beware the Holy Water-infused gifts: did you read that story last week that it's being banned from hospital wards because it's riddled with bacteria?

Drunk Mummy said...

Oh Dulwich Mum, you've taken me back there. I went to school in a catholic convent (I'm convinced that altar wine is responsible for my current interests). I have a very vivid memory of the lurid iconography, prayer cards in particular - I thought that any male with long hair automatically had to have massive welts in the middle of his hands and feet.

antarctichousehusband said...

I don't go in for relics much nowadays, but when I was a child, I hid a communion wafer in my hand rather than swallow it so I could watch it turn to flesh once I got outside the church. I can't remember whether I was disappointed or relieved when nothing happened, but I do remember keeping it in my pocket for about a week and checking regularly for transmogrification.

dulwichmum said...

Dear M&M,

Well its about time someone tested it? MRSA is probably harmless compared to what may be lurking in the holy water bottles! My mother keeps those little bottles for years on end. I remember as a child - the holy water tasted vile it was so very old and stagnant. Did you know that there are taps to dispense it straight out of the wall in Knock? It actually comes out of the tap already miraculous and blessed? Mmm - sounds like a business opportunity to me.

Darling Drunk Mummy,

I know it is responsible for the fact that I still can't drink red wine without having "flash backs" and feelings of guilt! My mother considers this to be a blessing from God, assisting me to avoid the scurge of alcoholism - it is just that gin and white wine present me with no problems at all!

Sweet Antarctichousehusband,

There you are darling, I was worried about you! I always wanted to do that with a comunion wafer, but never had the nerve. Do you know that my mother has a splinter of the true cross in one of her medals? It is viewable behind a small glass window! She also has a piece of St Teresas bone in another! Isn't it dreadful to think that perhaps you would die a martyr - only to find your body hacked to pieces to be sold for relics! If Henry the eighth had known my mother he would have organised a reformation simply because of the size and value of her relic collection - someone should protect her from herself!

rilly super said...

dulwichmum, as my life consists of no sex, drinking wine and shunning the outside world you couldn't ask your mother to pick up a nun's habit or two in Lourdes for me could you dear? I might as well go the whole hog. I'm sure Chanel do something suitably black and flowing.'Get thee to a nunnery'? huh, I'm already there, sigh..

Scruffy Mummy said...

My only experience of Catholisim is when my Dad, a lasped Catholic would occassionally get guilty for being an alchololic and go to church and get a penance. Usually he had to buy us a gift or my mum flowers - I'd get told off for not being suitably appreciative and at that young age I thought it was a load of superficial bullocks!

debio said...

I see camels threading themselves through needles simply daily here.
Should they get stuck we all have to assist as they're invariably racing camels (valuable), and owned by the Sheikhs (few Brownie points there then).
I have booked my passage to Heaven but plan to be too rich to qualify.

eastdulwichmum said...

I haven't heard the name Padre Pio in at least a decade, Ohmygod! We must be sisters, or are all RC mothers this obsessed?

AntiScam said...

Dulwichmum dear,

You should simply have pointed out loudly to your mother that this weather is far to hot for the wearing of shearling jackets, thus shaming the woman in front of you in the queue to remove it! Equilibrium restored for Brenda.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this made me laugh. Very good. PS the indentification codes sound increasingly like my late night conversation.

Omega Mum.