It was lovely to return to St German's this morning, celebrate their midweek Mass and be reunited with people I got to know during my long stay locum there. Among the ten strong congregation was a man and his son I hadn't met before, and I was told they'd been attending twice weekly over past five weeks. I was told that they are staying at Linx House on Newport Road suggesting they are asylum seekers, but nobody knows much about them as they are Spanish speakers from El Salvador, with little English.
So, for the second time since returning home, I found myself with an opportunity to speak Spanish and not in a restaurant or a supermarket, and that gave me great pleasure. We were able to converse easily for a short while, and they were pleased for this small linguistic respite. James, a long standing church member, already took the initiative to acquire and prepare a special service card of the text of the Mass in Spanish, for them to use. My heart burst with pride, thinking of this hospitable gesture.
I stopped for a while and chatted with people in the church hall day centre. The electricity supply had cut out, due to the upgrading of 50 year old circuits in the caretaker's house next door. The staff were wondering how soon it would take to rectify, as they were in the middle of cooking lunch for a couple of dozen people, and discussing the procurement of meals from the local chippie, if it went on for much longer. It all happened without warning. I don't think anyone recalled how interconnected the hall and caretaker's house circuitry were after all that time.
I returned home to have lunch with Clare, and walked over to a house near St Luke's for a bereavement visit. James Done, the man whose funeral I've been asked to take was a local sculptor, renowned for statues of comedian Tommy Cooper in Caerphilly and boxer Johnny Owen in Merthyr Tydful. I was surprised to learn from his widow that he'd spent much of his creative life making high quality porcelain figurines for Wedgwood and Villeroy & Boch, even more surprised to learn he had no formal artistic training, except as an opera singer. I guess some people's work demonstrates unequivocally how gifted they are, so they don't need qualification. I imagine that St Luke's will be pretty crowded for the service on Friday.
People sometimes remark on how busy I seem to be, from what they read on this blog. But it's hard to describe the lengthy periods of idle leisure which punctuate flurries of activity. There's a bit more to do here at home than there was in Spain last month, and the change in activity as well as climate is enjoyable.