It was the day to go to the baths. Last year, we had arranged a ‘special visit’ for Pádraig because we weren’t sure whether he was ready to be dipped into what is, apart from holy, ice-cold water. This year we went with the group in the afternoon – after a visit to the grotto and the group picture in the morning.

We met the same Italian ‘neurólogo’ who had persuaded me last year that all was good and that in case anything did happen that he would be there to assist (with the Irish helper in the bath whispering to me that you always had to watch the Italians:). He remembered Pádraig and shared Pádraig’s story with his fellow-Italian assistants in the bath.

They dipped Pádraig into the ice-cold water on a stretcher and as they did he lifted his head and half of his upper body out of the water! – I wouldn’t call it a miracle, more like a natural reaction of trying to get out of the cold, but he had not done this last year and I had never seen him doing anything like this before. But then, he’s not being dipped into ice-cold water that often…

When we left the bath, the neurólogo clapped me on the shoulder, shook my hand and said: l’anno prossimo! Yes, I said. L’anno prossimo! How much better Pádraig will be next year!