Just looking back over a few postings, and I never got round to putting up any pics from the beautiful Certosa, or Charterhouse, of Pavia, south of Milan. This stunning building was erected by the two big ruling families of Milan, the Viscontis and the Sforzas, for monks of the Carthusian order (and also as a family burial spot!). High point is the dazzling main facade of the church, but there are loads of other beautiful features.
My second pic shows the Great Cloister. You'll notice lots of little houses behind the cloisters. The Carthusians are perhaps the strictest order in the Church. They are so-called "hermits in community", living in those little places, and only coming together for Mass, for one meal a week (vegetarian I think)and an hour or two of recreation together. The rest of the time they are alone. They were founded by St Bruno at La Grande Chartreuse in France, hence their name. Charterhouse is a corruption of the French. They were very popular in Britain - Henry VIII's hatchet men went for them first. They have one house now in England, at Parkminster in Sussex. See their excellent website here (complete with chant).
They also hit the film headlines a few years ago when an amazing film was made about their life at La Grande Chartreuse called "Into Great Silence". Visit the film's own website to find out more here. If you want to borrow the film - ask me!
While I'm giving plugs... here are two more. I've just come back from a lovely family get-together at my sister's, where I discovered that one of my brainy nephews has compiled a puzzle supplement in this coming issue of the "Sunday Telegraph". Look out for Dr Gareth Moore. Another plug... I've been asked to do a 2 minute "God slot" called "Pause for Thought" on Radio 2 during the Pope's visit - at 1.30am (!) repeated at 3.30am (!) on Friday 17th September. Thank the Lord, it's a recorded broadcast unlike my Radio Wales ones, and I'm going in to Llandaff to do it next Tuesday.