The roads were much busier yesterday, with cars coming and going from the town centre, visiting the never ending sales. To get some exercise, we walked into town along the Taff Trail late afternoon, not very late but late enough for the Castle Park gates to be already shut requiring us to use a cramped exit through the gatehouse cafe into Castle street. We visited several stores in search of pot-pourri and came home with a new jacket for me, something smart to wear when we go cruising on the Danube in the spring.
Much to my delight, the first of six new episodes of 'Young Montalbano' was shown on BBC4 after supper. There are many moments of comic dialogue and sarcasm to raise a laugh, and yet this never detracts from the tragic seriousness of the story lines. You get small glimpses into people's struggles against poverty and corruption, and conclude that humour is for the people portrayed a front line defence against losing their dignity to despair and anger. It speaks to me more than the earnestness and intensity of Scandinavian noir crime fiction.
This morning I left for the Mass at St Germans in driving rain, and realised that I'd left my sermon behind, which meant I had to improvise around what I remembered of the one I prepared. We kept the Epiphany early, and processed to the crib for a prayer. There was a minor panic due to the absence of an appropriate prayer source to take with us. I retrieved my Blackberry (in silent mode) from my jacket, found the collect for the Second Sunday of Christmastide in the CofE Daily Office app, tucked up my sleeve. That's my first ever liturgical use of a Smartphone. I was impressed back in the spring in Nerja, that parish priest Fr Andreas led hymns and devotions in procession from his smartphone. I wouldn't say 'never' then or now, as I'd rather ban phones from the liturgy. But sometimes, the need is there.
As I arrived, rain started to cascade down the inside south wall of the Lady Chapel. A gutter blockage on a flat roof above quickly led to a small lake of uncleared water seeking to go to ground underneath the lead, not over it. The blockages is a consequence of a tree in the Vicarage grounds, which the church is not allowed to cut down or trim as there is a municipal 'tree preservation order' on it. This grade one listed building sustains damage, not because it's poorly maintained, but because the tree cannot be cut back, if not cut down, to prevent leaves landing on the roof. This kind of blockage can happen in between regular inspection visits, if there's an overnight wind followed by heavy rain. If the Council has the legal right to impose such preservation orders, do they not have an obligation to help prevent things like this from happening as a consequence?
After lunch, a walk down to Blackweir bridge again to see impact of the day's rain on the river Taff.
The water level beneath the bridge before it goes over the weir is a good six inches higher than a few days ago, and the speed of flow is astonishing, but it's still a couple of feet above the upstream banks. With more rain forecast will it go any higher I wonder?