Monday 4 May

I felt unusually tired for much of the last week that I decided not to overdo it and to really rest on my days off. So On Wednesday after the school Mass and a bit of work I left work at 1pm to rest and return later to do the final preparation for choir practice. this turned out to be a great idea. Not so great was my decision to drop in at the bar on my way home. My visit coincided with the start of an ice hockey tournament in which Tampa had a major interest. The bar which once had been as quiet and restrained as a library was wild and very noisy. And when the home team won points the place erupted still further with flashing lights adding to the nausea. “I must be getting old” I thought and left after one pint!

On Thursday I did a bit of sorting at the apartment then headed for the beach. In the evening I visited the noisy bar at an earlier time and found it to have returned to its normal welcoming self. There is a sign outside which warned ‘No cleats’ and since I had no idea what these were I asked of some of the customers most of whom were as ignorant as I. It transpires that they are metal studs attached to the soles of shoes!

On Friday I decided to make a day of it with the kayak which I had not used for a while. The changing tides offer different experiences each time I visit. On Saturday I visited some ‘yard sales’. They’re a bit like car boot sales outside your house and occasionally you can find some good stuff. Today I found nothing and somewhat forlorn returned to the beach for a bit more R&R. I had a snack lunch then at 2.30pm was at work doing final preparations for the weekend. One of my Cantors was unable to serve so this meant that I would have to sing and play. This is something I frequently did at the Sunday evening Mass in Sheffield but here there are songs that I really did not know but which were allegedly popular in USA.

An Irish-American Mgr McCann did both the vigil Masses and he is always interesting in his homilies with his peculiar brand of humour. I dropped into the supermarket on the way home and then also discovered a camping store where I got a repair kit and air pump for my inflatable armchair which I punctured on entering the apartment last week. I also played the hopeless foreigner and the fishing department experts offered to advise me on the 3 rods I had recently acquired as a bargain. So I could be fishing from my kayak soon! Back home I checked my post and found a letter from the health insurance folk who had overturned their original rejection of cover for my extensive dental work and would now pay out. the payment would mean that $2000 of the $10000 would be paid by them. All generosity accepted in the circumstances.

The following day, Sunday, I decided to ensure that I ate something to keep me going. I have breakfast at 6am and the next chance I normally get is after 2pm. Today donuts and coffee were on offer after the 7.30am Mass so I took advantage. This weeks organ recessional was the Fantasia (without the fugue) in G minor. After the 1230 Mass at which Mgr McCann has returned I joined him to show my face at the parish picnic. This turned out to be an indoor affair as it was so hot (?) and featured steak sandwiches, french fries (not chips which are crisps), a potato salad all supplied free from the school kitchens. After a brief trip to Goodwill at which I bought three pyrex dishes I returned to work and eventually the evening Mass. There was no cantor so I ended up doing what my old choir used to call ‘an Elton John’. I was delighted by the number of folk who remained to hear my Bach and even applauded it.

Monday started with the checking of emails only to find several pushing the same message … ‘May the Fourth be with you!’

I spent the morning preparing the music for next Sunday and adapting a psalm I had written a while back for US use. In the event I had to re-write great chunks of it. At noon the staff gathered for a ‘meet and greet’ with the new Pastor and the yet to be ordained new curate. The meal was amazing featuring some fine salmon , chicken and the inevitable keylime pie. Mgr McCann was there again and overheard me recounting my tale of free dinners over the last two days and wondering where the next would come from. He tapped me on the shoulder at the end of the meal and led me to the school kitchen where earlier he had spied the leftover deserts from yesterday’s picnic. I don’t know how he could!

The evening’s entertainment consisted of watching Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 1-0. It was a lack-lustre performance but enough to claim the Premier League title so I a life-long supporter was content. I was also delighted that none of my friends had spoiled it by telling me the score.



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