I've got dozens of photos to show you from my holiday, but first I had to tell you about this message I had on my answering machine when I got home. It was from a good friend who was my next-door neighbour for about 10 years.
When I first knew her, she was not a happy person, though she was always very kind to me. She drank too much, and had a knack for attracting unsuitable boyfriends - in typical English fashion, we usually used to chat on the doorstep, and the first time she actually came into my flat was in the middle of one night, when I gave her a packet of frozen peas to put on her broken nose after her latest man had been knocking her around.
Over ten years, I saw her getting her life together. She has a son and daughter about my age, and we shared all the news about our respective families - she remembers the names of all my many nephews and nieces. She stopped drinking, and as her self-respect increased, the violent boyfriends melted away. After her mother died a couple of years ago, she was able to move to a better area, closer to her daughter, and when I speak to her these days she sounds very contented.
I would often bump into her on my way to Mass, and she asked me a number of questions over the years about my beliefs. She was baptised in the Church of England, and about three or four years ago she started going to church. Since she moved, I knew she wasn't as happy with her local Anglican church, and was still searching for her spiritual home.
The message she left me while I was on holiday was: "You'll be pleased to know I'm taking the journey of faith to become a Roman Catholic."
I am - I'm chuffed to bits!