Saturday, March 26, 2005

View from Pax, study (2004), by Mary Adam
(Pastel study of view from Pax Guest House, Mount St. Benedict, Trinidad)

It was Holy Week, so I went out to stay in a little Benedictine monastery in the hills behind Port of Spain. They maintain a guest house where many people go for the cool air....

On Good Friday pilgrims of all races and creeds assembled to kiss the Cross from all parts of the island--Hindus, Protestants, Chinese--and for Easter morning the church and courtyard of the monastery were packed with a dense crowd. They began arriving at about ten on Saturday evening, and all through the night we could hear the chatter and the padding of bare feet as they climbed past the guest house. The first Mass was said before dawn, and after it the great crowd formed a procession, each carrying a candle in a coloured paper shade. As the only white man present I found a torch thrust in my hands to carry in front of the Host. The line of coloured lights wound down the steeply graded hill road and climbed back again to the church, and just as we reached the summit again day began to break over the hills and there was a feeling of New Year.

-- From the closing paragraphs of Evelyn Waugh's Ninety-two Days: A Journey in Guiana and Brazil, which I've been reading recently.

Friday afternoon I took what may well become a traditional Good Friday drive up to Mount St. Benedict (second year we've done it) with my friend Georgia Popplewell, who sneakily brought along her audio recording equipment. (I got into the car & she thrust a microphone into my hands.) The result is another podcast over at Georgia's Caribbean Free Radio, in which Georgia can be heard discoursing fluently about history, topography, zoology, theology, architecture, etc, & I can be heard giggling & confidently making various inaccurate or inane comments. (I also mention the passage from Ninety-two Days quoted above.) Towards the end of the podcast you'll hear me rashly promising to do this again next year, when I hope I'll manage to stick to subjects I actually know something about.

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