(this is, by coincidence, Entry 1500: apologies if you thought the blog would suddenly go all profound and witty)
Am off to Avignon for four days tomorrow, travelling first class on Eurostar, because it is only an extra 30 Euros. Actually, it turns out that this is not first class, but second class, since the three price levels available are “business”, “leisure select” and “standard” or something like that. In any case, there should be power outlets and free coffee. Avignon makes one think of Popes, which in turn reminds me of a conversation I had with someone at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday. I was ranting about the schism, and how Rowan appears to me now to resemble a rabbit surrounded — and partially hypnotised — by blood-crazed stoats. In particular, I asked what the hell they thought would happen when two people turned up claiming to be the Bishop of Pittsburgh.
“Oh”, said my interlocutor, with the air of one who has solved an important puzzle, “Well you do know that all the time that St Augustine was Bishop of Hippo there was another Bishop of Hippo, too. So we have been here before.”
I’m afraid I was completely struck dumb by this. A better journalist or even a quicker thinker would have had a follow-up question, something like “well, yes, but which one was SAINT FUCKING AUGUSTINE? Doesn’t that matter?”
And now we will never know. If it’s any consolation to Anglican readers, I doubt that in 1600 years time anyone will think it mattered who was the Bishop of Pittsburgh in 2008, either.