It was very pleasant to walk in the sunshine down to St John's Canton this morning to celebrate the Eucharist with nine regular attenders this morning. It was only after the service it occurred to me that today is the 63rd anniversary of the Queen's coronation. I was annoyed with myself for not remembering to mention this in the prayers during the service. I was eight at the time, listening on the radio, and some of our lessons at school explained what it was all about. We didn't have a telly to watch it on, but went to Ystrad Mynach cinema a few weeks later to watch a film of the ceremony. The music and imagery still evoke a defining moment of my childhood, that captured hearts and minds with the romantic notion that we were now new Elizabethans.
After lunch I was driven to Thornhill for a burial service in the Wenallt Chapel, the larger of the two, and the only one available for that time slot. It can hold four times the number that actually attended. By the time I'd processed in with the family the congregation had settled in the back five rows. As charmingly as I could, I appealed to them to bridge the gap and take seats just behind the family. To my surprise, every one moved forward without a hint of awkwardness. Talk about 'ask and it shall be given'.
The service included a warm tribute to the deceased woman from a nephew, including some of his childhood recollections. He spoke of the deceased as being a strong woman, holding her own in an extended family where men unusually outnumbered the women. A song was played as a slideshow of selected digital photos of the couple's sixty plus year life together was displayed on the screens that are now a feature of chapel furnishings. It was a fitting prelude to the prayers and act of commendation concluding the service. We had to drive to the grave as it was some distance away from the chapel in a new cemetery section. I think a few mourners got lost on the way there.
The sun shone, and there was no wind, making it fairly easy to get the frail nonogenarian widower to the graveside for the committal in an unhurried way, supported with strength and gentleness by their two sons, one on each arm. Unselfconsciously, perhaps unaware he was speaking aloud, the old man made quiet appreciative, affectionate comments during the service and at the interment. It was most moving, and I felt privileged to be there and share this with the family.
On the return journey, my chauffeur dropped me off in the city centre, so I could visit the office and complete a couple of necessary tasks, as Julie is on leave this week. I was home for supper just in time for The Archers, an an evening of telly, viewed on my Nexus tablet, using one of a variety of different Android apps to cover the different channels that interest me. Increasingly I find this a more convenient thing to do, as it lets me move around the house and do other things meanwhile.
Listening to the programme is generally more essential and convenient for following the story than constantly watching a screen in a corner. Like an enhanced form of radio. One time this doesn't work is when subtitle reading is essential to grasp the dialogue. The other time is when the noise of the kettle boiling drowns out the sound, even when wearing earphones!