I woke up early and was out of the house, on my way to Kenilworth's St Nicholas' Parish Church before sunrise this morning to attend the eight o'clock Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion service. It's a refreshing change not to need a book, having memorised it back in my days of BCP early Sunday Communion services in Halesowen, nearly thirty years ago. I was delighted to learn that the Parish now has a new incumbent, the Revd Stella Bailey, inducted on 11th October.
As this is the Sunday nearest the Parish patronal festival, she started, preaching about St Nicholas, then moved into speaking about the extent of people trafficking, the broad modern designation for slavery of all kinds. She got there by citing a story about St Nicholas secretly providing a dowry for the three daughters of a poor man, about to sell them, as he was unable to afford to keep them and the rest of his family. It's something still happens today, we were reminded. A wholesome remedy against Santa sentiment. Invigorating stuff for a frosty Advent morning,
Rhiannon enjoyed her weekend lie-in, and I cooked us lunch. She then suggested an afternoon walk, and we tramped across the Abbey fields, white with frost, past the lake, where Mallards and a solitary Moorhen were coping with the largely frozen waters, to Kenilworth Castle. Its dark sandstone walls became almost incandescent, lit up by the setting sun - a lovely moment. Then we walked into the town for drinks and a cake in Costa Coffee, a favourite Rhiannon place to go and chat. She told me all about school and the subjects she likes most. She's lucky enough to be taking Spanish and French this year. Her school is in the throes of becoming an academy, she told me, unsure what this would mean, apart from a more prestigious status at this point. Yes indeed, we'll see. I'm not sure either.
Kath and Anto arrived home from their gig in Bournemouth just before eight. I'd already decided that I wouldn't drive back to Cardiff in the dark, as the temperature had dropped below zero, so Rhiannon and eventually Kath and Anto after they'd eaten, watched 'I'm a celebrity ...' together before turning in. I watched the fourth episode of S4C's 'Y Gwyll' (Hinterland) on my tablet. Impressive as ever and far more unmissable. 'Fraid I have no time for any of these celebrity programmes. I'd rather listen to the shipping forecast instead.