Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Locum's locum

I had a quiet 'do nothing' day after yesterday's excursion to El Prat (BCN). Just some essential shopping to do, a lot of Olympic TV, and compiling a hymn list for the rest of my stay. After the cycling triumphs it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't had a bike ride since Clare and my in-laws arrived. My plan to take Clare out bike riding foundered once she sprained her ankle. Ah well, never mind - she's well on the mend now. and getting ready back at home to participate in the National Eisteddfod poetry recitation competition for Welsh learners. Anyway, I got the bike out, adjusted the saddle with an adjustable wrench brother in law Eddie found when he was investigating tools in the garage, and cycled a couple of miles with great pleasure in the afternoon sun. A more taxing ride tomorrow maybe?

Early yesterday my friend and colleague Fr Hywel Davies confirmed that all is on track for his visit here next week. He's coming to have a taster of chaplaincy life in Spain, to satisfy his curiosity, and covering services for me while I go back to Wales for the weekend, to fulfil a commitment from before I knew I was coming here, to do holiday locum duty in the Parish of Merthyr Vale with Aberfan, in the Taff Vale, not far from my birthplace in Ystrad Mynach. It's 25 years since I last preached in the churches of that Parish on behalf of USPG. I knew at some stage I'd need a home visit to regulate my affairs, so rather than ditch this commitment I retained it. Valleys parishes are challenging places, and it's a privilege to support clergy who make their homes and work there.

My only worry about this visit is how easily I will adjust to driving on the left again, after seven weeks of driving on the right. This time around I took to the change with ease, and have been driving here in Spain far more confidently than on previous occasions. Perhaps I'm simply more relaxed and better able to make such adjustments these days - thanks to retirement.

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