After this morning's Solemn Mass at St German's, I had another baptism to perform. This time there were two children, a boy of about eight and a girl of about eleven, children of two familiar of Czech Roma people. I remember baptizing the infant of a Czech Roma family on Christmas morning in St James', ten years ago, in the early days when they arrived and settled in and around Cardiff, taking menial food processing jobs to support themselves, and having an easier life of hard work than they would have back home, where they often suffer discrimination.
I don't know if these families were related to my original one but it was lovely to see a group of ex-pats dressed up in festive attire, making a real effort to have a memorable family celebration - certainly one that the children would find easy to remember in later life. Whilst they spoke Czech among themselves, it was clear most of them spoke English, the younger ones certainly with a measure of pride. After a preliminary briefing by James, everyone joined in the liturgical responses with loud enthusiasm, bright eyed, attentive and smiling. I invited them to say the Lord's Prayer in their mother tongue - some of the younger ones seemed keener to show they could read English from the service sheet with confidence, but when I began, many of the older family members did pray in Czech. In different ways, both were affirming their sense of belonging - to family, to tradition, to this new place they found themselves in.
So often when large family groups come for a christening, it's hard to retain everyone's attention. People talk among themselves and behave in a distracted manner, even if they are trying to behave well. For so many Brits today, being inside a church for an act of worship is an rare experience, alien to them, so they don't know how to behave. Thank heavens there are still people who, no matter what the reason, want to bring their offspring to the font.
The highlight of the rest of the day was watching the final episode of 'Line of Duty'. While I was fairly confident that I'd worked out 'whodunit' when it got under way, the path by which the conclusion was reached was grippingly tense, and required much concentration to keep up with, due to the twists and turns woven into the plot. Brilliantly acted, brilliantly written, and the Twittersphere erupted with praise within minutes of it ending.
I also managed to watch, during the course of the evening, the first of Alex Polizzi's travel series 'Spectacular Spain', featuring glimpses of Barcelona, Valencia and Benidorm. She even visited Isola Tabarca off Sta Pola, recognisable to us from our visits there. Mind you, to sail to Tabarca from Puerto de Sta Pola, home to one of Spain's biggest fishing fleets without so much as mentioning this, and nearby flamingo inhabited salinas is incomprehensible to me. And not to give viewers a ride through Benidorm and environs, but focus on a game of ex-pat bowls, undervalued the reason why it's such a popular resort all year round.
Polizzi's a charming enthusiastic presenter, but the selection of features relating to each place was a bit quirky and 'pot-pourri', hardly giving a typical impression of such lovely places and leaving a lot to be desired. How I'd love to have a crack at a series of programmes like this one, with the aim of bringing out more of the visual delights and key features of the environment and its rich rich history.