On a few days away (from home and kids) before the new job starts, we went to stay in Hunstanton, and I went down to Walsingham for a few hours.
Being someone who likes my peace 'n' quiet, I found it disconcerting that the cleaner seemed to have made it her personal mission to follow me around the shrine wherever I went, armed with a hoover. So I went up to the Orthodox chapel - up the stairs, past a rather anomalous statue of what I guess must be Charles I. Normally I get up there and enjoy the quiet, because it's off the tourists' beaten track, and I love the icons. I've only attended Orthodox worship once (in a church in Dorset populated entirely by disaffected Anglicans - but that's another story) but, like the Archdruid, I do like icons. I like the Orthodox concept that they are effectively focuses - or gateways, I guess - means of grace to come close to God. So, in my terms, I guess I'd see them as sacramental. Still, my peace was shattered fairly quickly by the chainsaw that someone seemed to be wielding in the grounds.
The ceremony of "sprinkling" is an oddly named concept, and slightly odd to a prod sensibility, but it is very symbolic, with strong echoes of baptism of course. You go down the steps to where the spring is, then receive the spring water to drink, on your forehead, and in your hands. Then you climb back up again. It's given me some ideas for what a baptistry should be like, if I ever get to build one. But it's always the most moving part of a visit, for me.
Then back to the coast, and another brilliant view of the Wash. By this morning, the weather had cleared enough that you could see the wind turbines out to sea - and last night had a view of the lights of Skeggy. A lovely part of the world.