Thursday and Friday, April 13,14, 2023. Days off

We had already decided to have a day off after the battle with the wind on Wednesday, which was just as well, as Lois developed a fever and cold symptoms during the night. Despite the best efforts of Dr. Paul and a bag of cold medications from the local pharmacy, Lois’ fever persisted throughout Friday and we remain in Wissant (although moved to the more comfortable Hotel de la Baie, with a view of the beach.)

Paul has spent his time searching for food (take out not really a thing in France!), doing washing, getting our pilgrim passports stamped, reading, and looking around the town.

Wissant (white sand) was an important port when Sigeric the Serious ended his pilgrimage by crossing the channel from here in the 10thC. It is thought that in 55BC Julius Caesar left from Wissant to invade Britain. It was also the point of departure for Thomas Beckett when he returned to England in 1170 knowing his life was at risk as a result of his disagreements with Henry II. (The site of his assassination in Canterbury Cathedral is marked with four swords.) Shifting coastal sands eventually silted up the harbour and its importance became eclipsed by Calais. The town is now a seaside destination. Even in these cooler April days, there are people on the beach and numerous kite boarders riding the surf. Today, we could see the white cliffs of Dover.

We will either stay here another day or take a taxi to Gûines tomorrow. Hopefully, we will be back on the path on Sunday. As Lois says, “Viruses be damned, I have a right to be a pilgrim!” (the latter phrase quoting John Bunyan, as beautifully sung by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band.

Thomas Becket plaque


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