Wednesday, 15 June 2016

A day of preparations

Yesterday evening Judith called me with a funeral booking for this Thursday morning for a woman who'd died this morning. As usual, the time is short between death and funeral. I was fortunate to make contact with the bereaved husband straightaway, and visited his later in the evening, in their home just above La Torre de Capistrano restaurant, about fifteen minutes of a stiff climb uphill from the chaplain's residence. Being a cool evening the brisk walk there and back an hour later was welcome exercise, after moving slowly in the intense daytime heat. Not that I am complaining about the heat! I feel so much better for continuous warmth and blue skies. My eyes seem to work better and physical activity is not nearly so much hard work getting going as it is back in Wales.

I haven't timed walking down to the church shop to celebrate the midweek Eucharist, as I did again this morning, but it still takes me 20-25 minutes, and I arrive so much fresher in mind than if I had to drive in and find a parking place. There isn't a regular frequent bus route into town to tempt me to hop on and cut down journey times here as in Cardiff. The feel-good benefits are tangible.

There were seven of us for the Eucharist. After coffee at Rosi's, I had a meeting at the Balcon Hotel with Damian and Clodagh, here for a wedding blessing with their families from Galway and Sligo, West of Ireland. He's a sheep farmer, and horse breeder. She's been caring for her mother through two years of cancer treatment, now declared successful. This is an added element to their celebration. Her father died some years ago, and I was touched by ways they wanted to include him and other departed relatives in their fiesta. It's a wholesome ancient attitude to life, which Protestantism and Rationalism failed to destroy, a sense of continuity between this world and the next that's part of Celtic spirituality. We Celts are original European migrants, from the Indus basin all the way to the extreme fringes of continental Europe. In this present era of mobility, a wedding far from home is not so unexpected. Many of those whose weddings are blessed here are Irish.

After lunch at home, I prepared a bi-lingual funeral service leaflet with hymns in for tomorrow. Then, it took me ages to acquire accompaniment for two hymns from the Web. It's not something I do often, and the Windows software on the office Win 7 laptop was unhelpful or invisible to me. Amazingly my trusty Chromebook got me what I needed, and enabled me to edit the files in a web app called 'Twisted Wave'. It's simple, but impressive in what it delivered - a couple of files I could burn to CD to play on the Thanatorio CD player. But there were no spare discs to be found in the office, so I popped down to town to a small digital accessory retailer, selling burnable CD-Rs and printer inks. I place I've used before, with the same young woman in charge I recall from last year. For 60 cents, she sold me two CD-Rs. One to use, and another just in case... Much nicer than trawling supermarket shelves for a 'mini' pack of 25, I may not need. 

After burning the audio CD successfully, found a portable CD player in the office cupboard and tested what I'd made. It worked and sounded fine, but it all depends on what equipment the municipal Thanatorium has. I remember a disaster of this kind in Fuengirola Thanatorium where the state of the art sound system was dead, and in need of repair, and the little portable CD player offered was hardly audible in a huge chapel. At least the Nerja chapel is a quarter of the size, so fingers crossed.

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