One thing about Lourdes with the HCPT is that you are always on the go. Apart from the odd time like this, stopping at the grotto, even then the people involved have to keep an eye on their mobile (and speedy) charges. Other than Matt and Alice, they were able to walk.
Usually without a clear idea in their head of where they were going or why...
The girly girls were not like that, but found the walking tired them out, so ended up being carried on the shoulders of the helpers.
At least then we knew where they were...
But over on the meadow opposite the Grotto, they could run and scream and play football, and on least one occasion, have a water fight.
For some of the children, who only ever hear the word "no" and words that tell them how terrible they are, it proved too much.
In the begining of the week, one child would flinch from touch, even as simple as at the signing of peace.
By the end he allowed someone to give him a hug
Small victories that make this trip so special, so important.
His life may not change, but he will have the memory of people who felt he was important enough to take away and to listen to him and to give him a good time...
Maybe it will carry him through his difficult days.
Matt and Alice couldn't run.
Alice could walk, but unsteadily
Not being able to see or use her brain to think clearly, she would peer close up, trying to work out who she was talking to.
And she was, as it says in the Tatler for Wed, an "Excellent! Girl!" (page 5, half way down the 2nd column!)
I made up a little song about it- "Alice B is an excellent girl..and she listens first time." Alice loved that song and wanted it sung far more than the rest of the group could tolerate. But tolerate it they did.. "I don't think Beth has heard it- sing Beth my song."
But the children were not the only ones on the run...