Reviewing the situation over a cup of tea

The St Mungo Singers usually begin and end their year with a social event, and this year it was a visit to Hoddom, Lockerbie and Moffat on 16 June. The weather forecast was “thunder, lightning and heavy rain” but in the spirit of pilgrims, ready to face the worst, we set off from Glasgow with over 30 choir members and friends, including Archbishop Emeritus Conti.

Arriving at Hoddom, the site of one of St.Mungo’s monasteries and the beginning of the St Mungo Pilgrim Way, we viewed the rain from the bus and, in typical flexible St Mungo Singers fashion, we headed first for the café at nearby Hoddom Castle where a very welcoming young lady dealt with the surprise influx with a smile.

Then it was back down the road, with the assistance of one of the staff who very kindly ensured it was clear to allow the bus out. We viewed the field where the monastery remains are situated and decided that it was a bit treacherous underfoot so we held the short service in the bus, a first perhaps for the driver!

The Lockerbie Memorial

We then travelled on to Lockerbie to visit the memorial garden dedicated to those who had died 30 years ago this year in the terrible plane disaster. The rain eased enough to persuade us to walk through the cemetery to the memorial but then it came down again and the question now was “how many people can shelter under one tree”! Despite this, we had a lovely service at the memorial before heading to the Dryfesdale Lodge Visitors’ Centre to see the information held there. The lady in charge was very welcoming and invited us to come in and dry off on the radiators while we read the information boards.

Our final stop was Moffat, and the weather finally took pity on us. We had time to look round the town and visit the shops, including the famous Moffat Toffee Shop, before having lunch. Our day ended with Mass at St. Luke’s where the parish priest, Fr. Jim Hayes, made us very welcome and came over to see that we had everything we needed. He was unable to join us for the Mass as he was expecting Bishop Bill Nolan on a pastoral visit that day – as someone commented, they were getting two bishops in the parish on the one day, a rare event.

As we travelled back to Glasgow, we had a lot to reflect on: the sense of history at Hoddom with its ancient links to our patron saint, the sadness of the Lockerbie memorial, and overall the friendliness of all we had met on our visit.

P.S. As some of our members could not make the Hoddom visit, that gave us a great excuse to have a BBQ the following Sunday – not that we ever need an excuse to enjoy ourselves. The weather this time was glorious and the back garden of St Leo’s parish was filled with around 40 choir members and friends enjoying food refreshments and company, a fitting end to a hard-working year.