I caught a crowded163 bus into Malaga this morning at 9.15. It took ten minutes longer than usual due to rush hour traffic. It's fifteen minutes walk from the port bus stop to the English Cemetery, when I was due to celebrate the midweek Eucharist at eleven, but I needed first to visit a nearby bank and cash an open 'Al Portador' cheque, received from the church for locum fees. The rest is paid in Sterling. This was , I have enough euros to see me through my stay. For each there's a receipt record for use when I next make a tax return.
There were five of us for the Eucharist, including Doreen the NSM Curate, and a lady visiting from Sevilla. After the service I was handed over the chaplaincy car, a VW Golf Mark II estate just a couple of years younger than mine at home, in good repair, just serviced and tested. Splendid. This will permit me to drive to Fuengirola tomorrow to prepare a funeral with a family for Saturday.
I've also arranged a visit to Salinas for next week, where Doreen takes a service once or twice a month. I'm keen to see the area where she lives and works, a new part of the world to discover. We'll spend part of the day looking out for birds in their mountain habitats. Doreen is an expert who runs birdwatching tours in Andalusia. I'm not sure what kind of photo opportunities will occur, but ready or not to take pictures there's a lot to learn.
I stayed in the church office writing for over an hour after our meeting ended on the promise that I'd lock up, since I'd arrived first and unlocked before the service. When I drove to the cemetery gate, the lodge was shut and the gates seemed locked. Unfortunately, I didn't register the cemetery opening hours and wondered if the office was shut for siesta time or for the day. I knocked the door hard enough to set off an alarm, and couldn't decide whether to laugh or feel nervous about a possible unfolding arrest scenario. With the church door key, however, there was a functioning padlock key and so I was able to open the gates and drive out, though not before calling Rosella to report my mishap. Just in case.
It's six weeks since I last drove a car in Spain, and that wasn't in a big city, so I was a little nervous setting out. Having familiarised myself with this part of town by walking around on this and previous occasions, remembering the way to the coast road was no trouble and in half an hour I was parking the Golf up behind the SuperSol supermarket, five minutes walk from the apartment, since there were spaces in the parking area opposite due to demand from holiday makers. I'm told it'll get easier from next week onwards.
After depositing my work bags, and having a late lunch, I returned to Super Sol to top up my essential food supplies for the week. Not long afterwards Rosella and Tomas and a colleague arrived with a new sofa for the lounge. The existing one, a sofa bed, replaces an old single bed in one of the unused bedrooms. The new sofa is not quite so large and gives a little more sense of space to the main living room. And now, supper.