Saturday, 22 June 2013

Country pastoral visit

I made a visit this morning to the home of the man whose funeral I'm preparing for Monday. They'd only recently moved from Nerja into the 'campo', to an Andalusian farmhouse he'd restored, near the village of Periana, high on a hillside among olive groves overlooking Viñuela reservoir, a large lake in a wide valley above the town of the same name. This is view from the terrace.
The journey there was a good 50km from Nerja, along the coast, then going inland passing Vélez-Malaga where the service is to be held.

We'd arranged a rendevous at a village called Puente don Manuel by the roadside 10 minutes drive from the house, as the place was not easy to find. I spotted a sign and followed the road, and while there were lots of new houses in the area, I couldn't find the row of shops described as 'English' - apparently there has been an influx of English speaking people settling here inland, sufficient for several to have opened shops and restaurants for the new clietele. But no sign of them here. A couple of phone calls later, it transpired that I'd gone into the centre of the 'old village', having not yet reached the commercial heart of the new development, a couple of hundred metres up the hill and around the bend. Soon we were united and heading to our destination.

To the east of this scenic valley is the imposing massif of the Sierra de Tejeda, part of the high Sierra de Almijara running eastwards from inland down to the sea beyond Almuñécar.  
The last kilometre of to the property through the olive groves, and up to the house itself was un-metalled road. I had to leave my little car by the gate and drive up the steep slope in a four by four, to be on the safe side. Three of the grown up children of the family had come over from U.K., and one had flown in from L.A. It was a strange co-incidence that the son-in-law of the one daughter had not only worked as a construction engineer in CERN while I was living there, but also attended a funeral at which I officiated for the wife of the CERN cricket club president. It would have been an even more extraordinary co-incidence if he'd remembered me. I wasn't white haired on those days.

Having made this personal contact, it wasn't necessary to stay long, as the family still had lots more to do, and for the children, a visit to see dad and say their farewells in the Thanatorium at Vélez-Malaga, later in the day. We would be able to prepare the service in detail by exchange of email. So, I returned to Nerja and did a small amount of weekend shopping, and got busy drafting a suggested order - and getting my Sunday sermon finished and printed also.

I was sitting in Geoff's study, and looked up from writing, as the sun was setting, and there just above the roof of a neighbouring house sat the '|Mega-Moon', as the news media have dubbed this summer solstice manifestation, when the moon's orbit brings it closest to the earth. 
When it's low in a clear sky you get the impression that it's bigger than usual, but it's more a matter of its luminosity close to the horizon that tricks the eye. This photo is my favourite moon shot of the evening.

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