So, I walked out the front door and turned left.
And left again, and left again and kept walking to the train station. The final leg of the MacKillop-Woods Way pilgrimage from St Mary MacKillop’s birthplace to her tomb had begun.
I took the train into the city where I dropped into my office to print out the guidebooks and maps for Josh and Sean. Then I went to the 6pm Palm Sunday Mass at St Patricks, before heading around to Sean’s home in Fitzroy where he had prepared a great meal of egg and bacon pie and roast vegetables. I had brought along a bottle of wine, so Sean, his landlord Jim and I had a pleasant Saturday night dinner together.
I bunked down on the couch in the lounge room, which wasn’t the most comfortable accommodation, but I was tired and slept well. Sean and I were up at 6am in order to catch a 7am tram to Southern Cross station.
Our companion Josh is flying from Tasmania to Sydney tomorrow to catch the bus back down to Milton on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, I insisted to Sean that we were not going to Sydney just to walk back there, and that it was my intention to take the bus all the way back to our end-point from last year so that our arrival in Sydney will be on foot.
As it turned out, the massive rail-works in Melbourne meant that all outbound trains were cancelled, so the usual 8:04am Melbourne to Bairnsdale train was replaced with a coach. Somewhere around the bushy end of Victoria at 4:30pm this afternoon, with still another three hours to go on the bus, Sean turned to me and said “This was your idea, you know…”
And I am jolly glad that we did make the decision to come this way, because when we finally lobbed in at the end of the bus route in Narooma at 7:40pm, we were greeted by Fr Joseph and Virginia, the self-described “Parish Social Secretary”. They drove us out to the home of our hostess Margaret, where we were greeted by a small party gathered for dinner, including John and Suzanne (the latter is Parish Secretary), and John and Pauline (parents of Fr Luke at Bega-Tathra who hosted us last year). With Margaret (who hosted us here last year), Virginia and Fr Joe, it made up a warm and happy welcoming party. Margaret and John and others had prepared a wonderful hot meal for us, with plenty of red wine and good conversation to go with it.
So we are very tired now, but also very well fed, happy and comfortable. Tomorrow, Margaret and Virginia will take us up to Milton where we will start the pilgrimage proper.