Journey to Scotland fr is an impressive fact that Cilasz gow is as far from London as London is from the south of France. I was very conscious of the fact last week-end when the train landed me from a still bright and breez.y capital into the low clouds. drizzle and half-light of the massive Scottish city. But it was a happy landing because the train was 2+ hours late for no apparent reason-a kindly gesture towards the traveller in a sleeper who can thus rise at 9 o'clock instead of 6.30. As for the majority of the passengers, who sat up all night in greater or lesser discomfort, well, the sleepers were right in the front of the train and I did not get a chance to see them.
You Pray in Comfort ARRIVING on the Feast of All " Saints and staying over Sunday, I had the chance of visiting Glasgow's two biggest churches. St. Aloysius and the Cathedral. They both share the Glaswegian custom of having the kneelers so close to the bench that kneeliog is impossible. Instead you gracefully recline backwards and adhere strictly to the rubrics of not sitting during Mass. since the difference between kneeling and sitting has ceased to exist. St. Aloysius is baroque, and not very good baroque, but the Cathedral on the Clyde struck me as an excellent example of early Catholic modern Gothic if only the church had been longer and higher. On enquiring I found that it was
built in the first decade of the 19th century and the funds ran out. so the architect, as usual. could not realise his conception.
-And How to Pray 1f SHALL remember Sunday Mass I for two things. The first was
the immense number of communicants at 9.30 Mass (10.30 to many as winter-time began) and the lovely rolling of the R in the preacher's excellent exaltation of Prayer.
Uisge (Pronounced Wiagey) nN my way to the meeting in a cinema (which was one of the objects of my visit) I was taken over a distillery, where I learnt, among other things, that the Gaelic for water is uisge-which explains a lot, or rather used to explain a lot, for uisge beatha (life water) is now hard to get there as elsewhere. In a book on Gaelic, which I was given, I found a joke, which seems very Scottish:
Old Woman: Boy! Come out of that puddle at once!"
Boy: " Awa' and get a puddle for yersel A saw this wan first."
The Best Howler " fty the way, I always like to pick
up from every place I go one good story. Glasgow provided me with this wonderful " howler." It may be as new to some of my readers as it is to me.
A schoolboy was asked to describe the scene in the. Gospel when a penny was given to Our Lord, Who asked " Whose image and superscription is this ? " The boy wrote the words as: "Whose miserable subscription is this ? "
The Mecca of Golf.
F ROM Glasgow I had to travel for " the first time in my life to the home of the Royal and Ancient game-not alas to play the game, but to lecture. A friend rescued me from the entanglements of trains and Connections by driving me by car the eighty miles to St. Andrews. We went through Stirling with its incredible castle perched on a rock (taken on some occasion in history In three years-and during wartime exercises in three minutes by commandoes). squinted at a signpost pointing to the Bridge of Allan and another to Sheriffmuir, drove through villages and towns with the most extraordinary names, such as Pool of Muckland and Yetts of Muckland (I may have got the names wrong) skirted for many miles a great range of mountains (called hills) rising steeply from the road and magnificently coloured and broken. nodded to Lough Leven on the right, raced through the Fife domain of Willy Gallagher (kept in Parliament, so I was told, by Catholic Communist votes) and finally drew up at the mecca of golf-all in under two hours.
-Is Britain's Last University Town THEY must have been mourning A the collapse of the Ryder Cup players as big drops of rain, driven by a westerly gale. greeted us. But St. Andrews gets you very quickly. The rich green of the golf courses, undulating into infinity, the heavy, bright red gowns of the undergraduates. the pinnacled grey stone buildings standing over the sea. went to make a charming, if cold, setting. Someone told me that St. Andrews is the last real university town left in Great Britain. Closer acquaintance revealed the loveliest of Catholic churches, miraculously sited in the bast spot of the town and magnifi
cent ruins of the old Cathedral, not to speak of a castle, where the murdered Cardinal Beaton was displayed at a window in the form of St. Andrew's cross. The solidarity of everything makes one feel close to history.
Another Communist Lesson I GOT no stories out of St. An drews. but something better. I was told that the Communists of the university are obliged to devote eight hours of the week to what I might call Communist Action. Why should that not become a rule for Catholic Action? Eight hours a week of conscious apostolic effort! Not a bad recipe. At the moment the gallant handful of members of the Catholic society in St. Andrews must be putting in much more than that. I hope Fr. Basset will add this eight-hour Catholic Action week to his J.F.T-D.
The Rest in Edinburgh A ND so over the Forth Bridge (not " Si) imposing as I had imagined) to the glories of Edinburgh, too well known to describe, but what a cathedral St. Giles's is I Tired of climbing the masses of rack that spurt out of the town and get crowned with castles or monuments, I came to rest on a chair in the shadows below the intricate pattern of heavy vaulting and columns of
the great building. Perhaps it was the relief after four busy days that I thought I had never seen anything so architecturally satisfying. Last note: Food is far more plentiful in Scottish hotels and restaurants than in London ones.