Thursday, 15 June 2017

Not yet Corpus Christi

Apart from shopping and cooking, I spent much time reading through news articles learning about events in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in London. The compassionate response of many people to the plight of survivors has been remarkable, likewise the differing responses of political leaders, now being scrutinised carefully, while they try to figure out what to do for the best. I still cannot fathom why a composite building material was permitted with flammable components. 

The finger has already been pointed at a hydrocarbon based material melting and catching fire. It may be 51 years since I graduated in Chemistry, but I recall that the aluminium used in the skin of the composite is also combustible if it reaches a high enough temperature, so it doesn't just buckle, but burns at around its melting point, 2200C. In the context of a fire in vertical cladding, updraughts of air speeding the spread of the fire might push temperatures higher than expected, and make it just about impossible to halt. 

But, there are so many interlocking factors which combined perversely to produce this catastrophe. Failures in regulatory oversight, housing policy, cost saving measures due to spending cuts, all providing a backdrop of circumstances vulnerable to precipitate a crisis from what might have started as a relatively minor incident or accident. Now everyone is left wondering where else might be equally vulnerable, what is going to be done about it and how soon. Added to uncertainty coming from the election outcome and the imminent start of brexit negotiations, which process seems to be losing public support and credibility, these are troubling times for Britain..

Daytime temperatures here are starting to climb now, so I am grateful the apartment doesn't heat up, standing, as it does, in the shade for much of the day. I went for a walk in the hours before sunset, through the old town, and called in to the local parish church of St Gabriel in time for the evening Mass, and today is Corpus Christi. In fact, I was early enough to be present with 30-40 others for half an hour of devotion before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. To my surprise, the Mass following was that of the day in Ordinary Time, not the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which I think is deferred until the weekend. Certainly, Malaga Cathedral's procession is Sunday evening, and there's another on Saturday too, in honour of Los Dos Santos Martires, Patrons of the city. A far cry from British soul searching at this time. But this is a city which has known war, and destructive earthquakes over the centuries. Their fiestas defy the darkness in life with joy and dignity.

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