Ladydale Diary                  St. Augustine 2020

As it’s the Feast of the great St. Augustine, I’m feeling that I should start with a confession of some sort. And the one thing I’d like to confess above all is my gratitude for a great week, full of blessings.

Last Saturday, the feast of the Queenship of Mary, we visited our friends who live on Lake Greenwood, about an hour’s drive south of us. We had a light lunch and then lounged in the pool for an hour or two. It was perfect weather for such lounging. It was overcast, shielding us from the relentless attack of the August sun. There was a pleasant breeze and it was remarkably cool. In the high seventies. As much fun as all this was, the highlight of the day for me was riding in our friends’ boat to a restaurant at the other end of the lake, about half an hour on the lake to get there and the same coming back. The experience of mooring a boat outside a restaurant is something I hadn’t experienced since my days in England. In those days, I would occasionally take a boat on the Norfolk Broads, mooring at a pub for ale and victuals.

Sunday was gloriously restful, which means that I had time for the customary afternoon nap after we returned from noon Mass. Fiesta followed by siesta!

On this Monday as on almost all Mondays, I recorded the FORMED Book Club with Fr. Fessio and Vivian Dudro of Ignatius Press. We’ve been discussing George Weigel’s latest book, The Next Pope.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I was able to make good progress on the book I’m writing. As readers of the Ladydale Diary will already know, this is a history of Catholic England. I’m currently enduring the reign of Henry VIII and am in the midst of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

On Wednesday, I recorded an hour-long discussion with Deal Hudson on the Catholic convert poet, Roy Campbell, based on my biography of him, Unafraid of Virginia Woolf: The Friends and Enemies of Roy Campbell. Those seeking to learn more about this great and sadly neglected poet should check out the interview, which will be aired shortly on Deal’s “Church and Culture” show on Ave Maria Radio. I would also recommend that my friends in the Inner Sanctum also listen to this week’s “Poem of the Week” podcast, in which I discuss Campbell and his poetry and read three of his poems.

On Wednesday evening, I taught the first class in a semester-long Masters-level course on Imaginative Literature, in which we’ll be covering the great works of literature from Homer to Shakespeare. We began this week with The Iliad.

Yesterday (Thursday) I drove straight from the gym to Evangeline’s taekwondo belt testing. She’s making great strides and was awarded her green belt (blue stripe), one below blue belt, if my memory serves me correctly. And then, yesterday evening, I drove to Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s home, which is about half an hour from Ladydale, for a live Zoom session from the virtual Bird & Baby. The real Bird and Baby was of course the nickname that Lewis and Tolkien gave to the Eagle and Child, the pub in which they imbibed regularly. Fr. Longenecker and I sat drinking ale made by Benedictine monks and waxing about this, that and the other, as one does in a pub, but principally about Lewis and Tolkien themselves. We finished the evening by toasting St. Thérèse of Lisieux with a glass of calvados, the wonderful apple brandy made in Thérèse’s native Normandy. Those who were unable to be with us during the live event yesterday, will be able to enjoy the recording, which will soon be available exclusively to members of the Inner Sanctum and to subscribers to Fr. Longencker’s site.

All in all, a truly delightful week. May Our Lord be praised for all His blessings.