Tuesday afternoon, our friend Saralee arrived from Seattle to stay. Autumn, two years ago, she and her husband Mark came over and we spent a week together in the Llyn peninsula. This week Mark is lecturing in Vienna, and next week, he's at a conference in London, a good enough reason for both to make the trip to Europe. After she'd settled in, we walked around Pontcanna Fields. The village of tents to accommodate surplus visitors for this weekend's UEFA Champion's Cup final continues to grow, and the physical security cordon around the city centre and even across Bute Park speaks volumes about the disruption to come this weekend for pediestrians and car drivers alike. When did citizens ever get to vote on things like this?
Wednesday morning, I slipped away to St German's for a couple of hours to celebrate the weekday Mass for the last time before the interregnum ends. As it's half term, there were no children in church yesterday morning, so I celebrated in the Lady Chapel with half a dozen regulars - quite appropriate as today is the feast of the Visitation of the BVM to Elizabeth. Afterwards, we walked the Taff Trail to Llandaff Cathedral and had lunch in a cafe in the village. It's always a pleasure to take visitors there, and share the experience of a place which has so much meaning for me, from teenage years through to ordination and beyond.
Thursday morning, I walked to St John's to celebrate the Eucharist for half a dozen people. Clare took Saralee to Dyffryn Gardens after lunch. I walked to Llandaff North for a dental check up, and returned home with an unexpected new filling, having met Pavel the newest member of the practice dental team. As I stood at the bus stop opposite the surgery, I was surprised to be hailed by Paul, the driver of one of Pidgeon's funeral limos, on his return trip from the cremation ceremony for ex-First Minister Rhodri Morgan, whose public funeral was held yesterday at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. AS he was on his way back to the funeral home at the top end of the Parish, he gave me a lift to Canton Cross, enabling me to go straight into the city centre from there to meet Ashley for an update on all the security preparations for the weekend's big game. As ever, it seems that information distribution is patchy and not all those recruited to keep the city centre safe and secure are adequately briefed. Sadly, that's nothing new.