I was relieved not to be as tired as I expected to be after my drive to Papworth and back in a day, and glad yesterday not to have a great deal to do, apart from move plants and garden furniture into Liz's garden next door, in preparation for a long awaited makeover, finally to happen in the coming week. So far the weather outlook suggests it's not going to hinder completion in just a few days.
I watched two episodes of 'Beck' this evening, the first one, on iPlayer, which I missed when we were in North Wales, and the second, live on BBC Four. The second was about the tragic outcome of hidden infidelity between colleagues on a doctor's family. This occurs at a time when a married colleague of Beck's seems keen to develop and affair with him. His alcoholic neighbour tries to encourage him to engage in a little sexual adventurism, as he himself leaves for a Baltic cruise in search of a fling. It's quite heartening to observe Beck thinking about his own behaviour in the light of the tragedy he has uncovered, and disengaging before anything untoward develops between him and his colleague. Well acted, in an understated way.
This morning's assignments were in Blaenavon, two Eucharists standing in for Rufus, on holiday in Italy. The last time I made this trip was for Rufus' first Mass. The hour's drive there and back was made most enjoyable by the array of autumnal colours in thickly wooded green valleys, bathed in bright sunlight. The first service was in 200 year old St Peter's, associated with the town's history as one of the birth places of the iron and steel industry. There was a congregation of three dozen, who sang with great enthusiasm. Craig the organist is also a local funeral director with his own company. I first met him ten years ago when he was working for one of the Cardiff FDs, when he drove me to a burial in Cathays Cemetery, if my memory serves me well.
Then, on up the hill to St Paul's, for an old fashioned High Church solemn Mass for eighteen people, eastward facing, with Angelus at the end of the service. Nothing that I'm unused to, except for having to change from wearing a cope for the Ministry of the Word, to an ancient fiddleback chasuble for the Eucharist. Funny, I thought, the last time I wore one of these was at the Benalmadena Eucharist in the Costa del Sol East chaplaincy last year. There were a handful of them in the sacristy cupboard of the basement chapel we used for worship. I said to the St Paul's sacristan that the lat time I'd worn one for Mass was in Spain. He looked at me, rather bemused.
Clare returned early evening by train from Birmingham, having been collected by Kath from Papworth, and driven there. The good news is that Eddie shows signs of improvement, very slowly stirring from a state of deep anaethesia. If all goes well it'll be a long journey back to recovery.