Another early Sunday start, with an eight o'clock celebration at St Catherine's, which Clare attended, and read lessons for me. After a second breakfast together of coffee, pain chocolat and pain au raisin, bought from the Co-op on the way home, I went on to celebrate the Solemn Mass at St Luke's. I got back right on time to collect Clare for the trip to Llandenny for lunch with Chris and Wendy Bowler before ascending the Grwyne Valley to preach Harvest at Patricio for a congregation of twenty.
Autumn colours are only slowly emerging. There's still a great deal of greenery owing to the warmth at the end of summer. Clare was much impressed with the beauty of the valley and its ancient church secluded high up on a wooded hillside with fields falling away steeply below it. After the service apple cake and biscuits were offered, along with a drink of locally pressed apple juice. We'd had quite a differently flavoured apple juice to go with lunch. This is an area whose farms and gardens still harbour many old varieties of fruit, and evidently they are valued.
One of the churchwardens, Rob Yorke is a freelance country loving journalist, describing himself as a 'hunter naturalist'. We had an interesting conversation arising from some of the things I mentioned in my sermon. Such a discussion is quite a rarity for me these days, going beyond "Nice sermon Vicar" at the church door. I enjoyed just listening to the voices of local farmers chatting with their soft Black Mountain accents, a bit like Herefordshire but not quite. It was great to catch up with Chris and Wendy too, and savour their enjoyment of rural ministry while facing the challenge of new formed 'mission area' grouping of parishes.
We heard the Sunday edition of 'The Archers' on the way home in the car between Newport and Cardiff, and after supper watched a documentary programme about Mammoth Science, describing the forensic and molecular biological investigation of mammoth remains now being uncovered, not just fossilised, by preserved in Siberian permafrost, now thawing due to global warming. An amazing new body of knowledge, now offering indications that it wasn't the end of the ice age that killed them off, but early human hunters.
Sadly the programme presenter had a habit of repeating herself in a way that added un-necessary length without additional information, as if viewers lacked the intelligence or attention span to take it in first time. This seems to be a deficiency typical many modern factual TV programmes. It's bad enough when a subject is dumbed down un-necessarily, but it comes across as poor video editing, or, that there's enough substance for a thirty minute programme, but it has to be spun out to fifty minutes, as that's what the team was hired to produce.