After a Friday morning of errands, we drove to Kenilworth to spend our first free weekend together in many months looking after Rhiannon two evenings running, while Kath and Anto were out performing in far flung places in Worcestershire and Staffordshire. We spent most of Saturday and Sunday with them and made the most of the extra hour's sleep due to the clocks going back. I strolled out in Abbey Fields and practiced with my new DSLR camera. Getting the best out of it is going to take some time. I managed a few decent bird shots down by the lake, including pictures of the tamest moorhens I have ever seen. I saw a green woodpecker flying fast and straight as an arrow between groups of trees, but was unable to switch on, let alone raise or focus the camera quickly enough to capture the moment.
This morning Clare and I went to the eight o'clock Communion at St Nicholas' Parish Church. Why bother, why not have a weekend off? Enquired Kath. Surely we can say our prayers wherever we are? She still doesn't get it - the one who demanded to be confirmed at age eleven. What a failure my confirmation classes were! Also she was raised and nurtured in worshipping communities, but it left no impact on her. She is a strong sensitive creative caring individual, and a great team player, yet she doesn't see the nourishing value of being, listening, offering and receiving together at the heart of regular corporate worship. Her experiences is simply different from ours.
As ever the eight o'clock was attended by three dozen people and not all enjoying the early quiet were pensioners. The Vicar invited regulars to notice who sat where, who might be missing and who came and went around the year, pointing out the value of remembering who's who in the church community, always being ready to welcome newcomers. A good point, if rather diffidently put. It occurred to me how good a thing it was to remind people to be aware of their pew neighbours are. Most of us tend to sit in the same place habitually. I know I do when I go to a church. It's near the front and on the left. Church congregations are more mobile in our era than at any other time in history. It affects both where and how often people attend. Nowadays, they can make their spiritual home and support the church in several different places separately. So really, we're having to change our sense of what belonging to Christian community means.
We all went for a brisk walk on a newly discovered cycle track while Sunday lunch was cooking. As in so many places, it runs along the path of a former railway line, and it has some fine Victorian black brick bridges to admire as well as woodland and open common land. Rhiannon took her bike and cycled ahead of us. She's grown so much since she first had it, that I needed to adjust the seat height for her when we returned. Hopefully, that'll make sure she isn't quite so tired at the end of her next ride.
Our drive home was in the rain and in early darkness. No pleasure at all.