Ash Wednesday

Feastday of St. Bosa of York, the Eight Year of the Reign of King Richard

Penance. I am no stranger to that. Nor am I a stranger to fasting, though usually unwillingly. Today I will give up my wine and what little food we have. I instructed Jack on the proper comportment of the day and together we went to Christ Church above the Shambles. My knees ache from kneeling on the stone tiles but we each wear our ash crosses. Jack spends the rest of the day cleaning our lodgings while I contemplate the city out our front window.

It is quiet on the street this day. Most unusual. The Shambles is the place of butchers and this is the time of year they dread, for meat is not to be eaten except on Sundays for the next forty days. What is a butcher to do? Instead, the more enterprising fellows sell fish. Others sell holy trinkets. While still others preserve the meats in salt and brine to sell later in the month. Well, we all must suffer, mustn’t we? We are sermoned at by traveling Pardoners and our parish priests. We must repent, change our ways, turn from sin. And yet, I am still called upon to find sinners who steal, who kill. There is no holiday from sin in London.