Saturday 8 August

At the end of the week I was expecting a visit from Jenie Lismore, an alien from UK. So I decided to get as much work done as I could in the few days remaining in that week. My early version of Finale Music programme had begun t be found wanting so I updated it to the current version in anticipation of a busy week.

Much of the work centred on preparations for the next weekend which would be the celebration of the parish feast day of St Lawrence. This year they had settled on a bi-lingual Mass at 11am and Feast Day masses at all other celebrations.

Monday and Tuesday were spent on creating further arrangements for the 11am Mass and the rehearsal on Thursday evening.

We had experienced such terrible weather over the last few weeks so when it appeared that the sun would show on Wednesday I decided to take a day off. It was a great day of peace at the beach. At 6pm Jenie arrived and since she was eager to explore we took a 40 minute drive across the miles long bridge over the bay to Fort Desoto and then back into town for a meal and drink at Cigar City Brewpub. Back at home we opened a few bottles and caught up on the news.

I was delighted to discover that the liturgical musician Paul Inwood had had his submission selected by the Vatican as the ‘theme song’ for the Jubilee Year of mercy.

It was a rude awakening on an all too early Thursday morning. We had decided to visit Anna Maria Island which a number of friends had recommended. It was beautiful with houses painted in pastel colours. It was clearly the play area of the rich as the marina testified. After this we journeyed along the coast via Longboat Key and to Sarasota where we chanced upon another Goodwill Store. I had not been well during the day so I returned to the apartment for a few hours kip while Jenie went walkabout. I was back at St Lawrence by 6.30pm for the rehearsal starting with instrumentalists and then the choirs at 7.30pm. Three violins, a bass guitar, pianist and congas turned up. There would be a further guitarist on Sunday and possibly a trumpeter. The choir was made up of both the English and Hispanic Choirs so it was good to come together as an expression of one parish. The rehearsal finished early so we were able to return at a reasonable hour to cook a large pizza before bed at midnight.

The next morning was a steady surfacing. I had a funeral at 11am and it was not worthwhile going far before that. After the funeral we headed to Dunedin and thence to Honeymoon Island and the neighbouring Caladesi Island which was only accessible by ferry. Once on the ferry we were told that it is in fact accessible by kayak so I shall be returning as soon as my health improves sufficiently after the whiplash injury.

Jenie had to be at the airport at 6pm so we stopped at one of my haunts for a drink and I ordered her an Uber Taxi to the airport as I would have been caught up in terrible Friday night traffic. I remained a while chatting with friends and then as I was about to leave in came my new neighbours so I was able to make introductions with them.

It is now Saturday morning and the rain is falling again. There was a period of brightness as I received a Facetime call from Maggie and Ian, two wonderful people I had met at St Marie’s but with whom I had lost contact over the years. It was great to speak with and see them looking so radiant and to be able to fill in the gaps since we last met. I’ll be heading in shortly for the next round of Vigil Masses that herald the weekend and the Patronal Feast celebrations. Tomorrow, since St Lawrence was burned alive, we shall be having a parish barbecue in his memory!

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