I made an early start for the ten thirty service at Vélez Málaga this morning, still uncertain about the quickest route up to the A7 autovia, which I haven't yet memorised. As I climbed uphill, having taken the wrong turning, the low fuel warning light came on, so I had to double back and find the nearest filling station I could remember seeing. That's the moment my mind went blank. This shows the tendency I have only to recall things on a need to know basis. I'm still building my mental map of this stretch of urban area and how it all hangs together with so many steep hills and ravines packed with houses and apartments. Signage isn't really as good as it could be, or well placed.
I refuelled in La Cala de Morales and then returned to Rincon to climb the hill to the exit by the correct road, and this time memorise! I had looked at the map of Vélez Málaga and checked my turnings to get into the part of town where the Antigua Capilla de San Jose is located. At the first roundabout I stupidly took the bypass road by mistake but found a road that would intersect with the avenue I wanted. With a little precise help from Blackberry mapping, I identified the street and parked, but at the wrong end to find the Capilla. I couldn't figure out which way the house numbers went, then, just as I was starting to feel lost I had a call from one of the church members wondering where I was. Still twenty minutes in hand however, but I was so grateful for that call.
The chapel was at the far end of the street, and is set into the corner of a building, conveniently opposite a small bar. it has no features to distinguish it from a distance. Within minutes I was reunited with the search and welcome party, wondering as much as I was what had gone wrong, and finally getting my bearings and relating what I could see to the directions given for finding it.
I've yet to learn the history of the building, but it has a formal church entrance door and noticeboard at a junction of the street and an alley, and it's long and narrow inside. Anglicans have used the building for fourteen years, and it seems not to be used for Catholic services. It's well cared for by its congregation, and a good space to accommodate fifty people. We were twenty one. Two members I first met in Nerja five years ago. I was asked to bless and dedicate some book holders for the backs of pews, two boxes, a cross and a hymn board, all nicely made and very useful.
At the end of the service I also blessed two women, Rebecca and Jean, about to set out on pilgrimage to Compostela, the last 125km stage on the route from northern Portugal. They'll be back by the next time I take a service here, my last before going home for Clare's birthday.
Half the congregation went across the alley to the bar afterwards and occupied most of the interior space for half an hour or so. Then I headed back to Rincon, carefully noting the route and its landmarks, especially from the autovia to the car park outside SuperSol. I won't get caught again, like I was this morning.
The highlight of the evening was Helen's long awaited trial verdict on 'The Archers', an hour's edition taking us behind the scenes in the jury room debate about the evidence for three quarters of the episode, and with a star studded cast of actors debating passionately the issues in the case. It was reminiscent of the classic movie 'Twelve Angry Men', in which the opinion about guilt also turns around completely during the discourse.
In this week's episodes we were not fed all the contributory evidence, nor did the jury discuss things which hand't been heard about during the week. In a sense this gives an impression rather than a partial picture of everything that informed the debate. It was a decent imaginative effort in portraying the complexity of jurors' opinions in relation to some but not all the evidence. Helen has now been acquitted, but there is still the divorce to come and the custody battle over the children. It's not over 'til it's over, as they say these days.