Ladydale Diary
Saint Boniface Eve, 2021

It’s early Friday evening on the eve of Saint Boniface, a saint from the golden age of Anglo-Saxon England who was a contemporary of Saint Bede and, in all probability, of the Beowulf Poet also.

As the sun goes down on another week and on another beautiful sunny day, there’s much to report. Last Saturday, I watched Chelsea, the English Premier League team which I’ve followed since I was seven years old, triumph in the EUFA Champions League, thereby being crowned football kings of Europe. The photos show me suitably attired to go and watch the game with friends at a local bar.

On Sunday, after Mass, we went to spend the afternoon and evening with friends. The father is a culinary arts teacher so it’s always exciting when he cooks for us. This time it was lamb vindaloo, a great favourite of mine, the first of no fewer than three curry dishes I’ve had this week. On Tuesday, I dined with Father Longenecker and a priest from Colorado, with whom I’ll be leading a pilgrimage to England next year, who was visiting Father Longenecker to get ideas for the building of a new church and the starting of a classical academy, Father Dwight having successfully done both at his own parish here in Greenville. We met in an Indian restaurant and I couldn’t resist ordering, you guessed it, lamb vindaloo! Comparing the two, I’d say that my friend’s was at least the equal of the restaurant’s. And then, on the following evening, I met another friend, a native of India who’s a member of our parish, at a local Thai restaurant. I can’t recall what he had but it would have been a vegetable dish of some sort because he’s a vegetarian. I had a really splendid spicy seafood curry: mussels, shrimp and scallops. Delectable!

Monday was Memorial Day, of course. I worked for most of the day, remaining home alone as the rest of the family visited friends for a barbecue. Due to Memorial Day, the FORMED Book Club was recorded on Tuesday, continuing our discussion of Chesterton’s essays. Tuesday was also the only day this week that I’ve managed to get any writing done. I wrote my weekly essay for the Imaginative Conservative. It’s entitled “Empowering the Rapist: Shakespeare Abuse becomes Sexual Abuse”. At least, that’s the title I gave to it. The editor might think of something a little more snappy. I’m guessing it will be published tomorrow (Saturday). I also managed to write a further 1,000 words of the book on which I’m currently working, a panoramic history of Christendom, from the time of Christ to the twentieth century. I’m still in the first century, spending time with Caligula and Nero, that tyrannical duo.

Much of Wednesday and Thursday morning was spent on my editorial duties for the Augustine Institute and also on preparing for a course on Catholic Literary Giants, which I begin teaching next week for Homeschool Connections. Then, at around 11:30, we all jumped in the car and headed south to our friends on Lake Greenwood for the annual Corpus Christi reunion party for those who came on the pilgrimage to England that I led with Father Longenecker back in 2015. Although most of those present were from South Carolina, a couple had driven down from Virginia and a man had driven up from Florida. Apart from good food (pasta and salad), there was plenty of good craft ale on hand. I spent time in the pool with Evangeline and Leo and then, against my better judgment, I was talked into going out in our friend’s boat to do some tubing. As a novice, I was pleased that I could kneel on the tube, hands held aloft, on the smoother parts of the ride. As impressed as I might have been with myself, my efforts paled into insignificant mediocrity beside the show put on by Evangeline. Though she’s also a novice, she held her hands aloft even when my friend was trying to dislodge her. A most impressive display of balance and poise. The two years or so that she’s been going to taekwondo is clearly paying dividends.

Today, as a consequence of yesterday’s exertions and time in the pool, I’m a little sunburned, nothing too serious, and a little achy. This didn’t stop me helping Susannah this afternoon lay some sod in the yard (or turf in the garden in British English). While we were doing it, we were entertained by Bluebell the hen, who had caught a small snake which we’d unearthed with our labours. Eventually she carried it off, her prey writhing helplessly. Presumably she eventually ate it.

Now dinner beckons. Everything stops for dinner, including diary entries!