Thursday 11 December

I got into the office last night with an hour to prepare for the first rehearsal of the Christmas Choir. I was delighted to discover that several new faces had appeared for it. I never audition for choirs but rely on the Holy Spirit working in folk to bring them to ask to join. Who am I to refuse?

I was not disappointed and towards the end of the rehearsal I put two of the new folk on the spot and got them to sing solo verses. They were great and there was a genuine air of excitement in the group of 21 singers. When it gets a bit cool in Florida several go down with sickness and perhaps because they work so hard here! So the choir would be larger for midnight mass, I hope. Two regular attenders were not present tonight and one confident new member was absent through doing a 5k run in nearby Clearwater. I recall my old music teacher saying ‘Musicians never commit sport!’

I returned home after the rehearsal much relieved and watched Chelsea win in the European Champions League.

Last week I had passed the written test of the Florida driving test, so today I set myself the task of booking the practical test. As it happened there was a slot at 1.30pm so I drove off in that general direction stopping for a bit of shopping at Best Buy electricals for a DVD player. The assistant recognised me from a previous encounter and announced to all and sundry that I couldn’t cope with a smart Tv so how was I going to cope with a DVD player. I told her that In UK she would have been reprimanded for insolence. With a beaming smile which revealed need of serious gum surgery she said ‘ I tells it how it is’!

I still got to the driving centre early only to discover that I was missing a necessary document. It was easier to find a replacement than return home in the hope of finding the original (if I had it still). So I drove off and arrived at another office 4 miles away and got seen straightaway, paid $3 for the document and returned to the fist office. The officious official had been replaced by an affable one who took me through some preparatory tests. The eye test was disconcerting in that I was unable to see anything. After a while I realised that I could adjust the viewer and this used the appropriate lens of my varifocal glasses!

The driving inspector was a jovial lady from Jamaica who greeted me by asserting that she knew I would be Ok because she and I were both used to driving on the correct (left) side of the road back home! The test was quite simple and carried out on special test roads. She seemed more interested in my accent than anything else and it turned out she had lived a while in Birmingham.

I had passed the test and needed to go to another clerk who gathered colleagues around to listen to my accent. In fact they would not let me move on to the next stage until I had dropped my English accent and performed an American “y’all” . Moments later I was the somewhat bemused recipient of a Florida Driving Licence.

I stopped by at the office and had a good chat with the Pastor who has promised to pass onto me his copies of The Tablet as soon as he has finished with them.

Back home I had a bite to eat, watched a movie and here I am now typing the log and hoping, any moment, to get back to a rather fine red!

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