Friday 14 October

Tuesday was the parish and School Staff Retreat. My first experience of these was not good as it did not bear much resemblance to any retreat I had been through. Last year’s was better with more imput and this one was the best so far. It took place in the Bethany Centre, a fabulous estate owned by the Diocese with various buildings and a church built around a large lake. We began with breakfast and an opening prayer and then 3 sessions from a diocesan priest from Ireland who has been incardenated here for a while. The day ended with a ‘midday prayer’ on the theme of ‘Christ in our midst’. I devised this following the basic structure from the Liturgy of the Hours but chose my own selection of psalms to focus on the theme. Our Pastor presided and added an anointing at the end. As I was anointed on the hands with blessed oil I had overlooked the problem of playing piano with oily hands. The next guy to play that piano would doubtless have problems!

Wednesday began with School Mass after which I went to Guitar Centre to pick up some equipment I’d ordered. I had been in dispute with them since they had failed to repay the sales tax to the church which is tax exempt. In the event they added a couple of items at no cost to compensate us.

I spent the afternoon by the pool before returning to prepare for choir practice. There was a good attendance and we managed to get through all that I had wanted. I had adapted a setting of psalm 121 I written in UK to the US texts and it was good to hear the choir pick u and enjoy the SATB arrangement.

On Thursday I tried to download and install the recording software which was among the goodies I had collected the previous day. I didn’t manage it and before long it was time for lunch and a two hour staff meeting. Immediately following this I met with the family of one of our teachers who had died as a result of a fall at her pool. It was all very tragic and the family were understandably numbed. We managed to sort the music for them without too much unnecessary pressure on them.

This morning I was able to skype my mum and catch up on the family news before spending a couple of hours at the beach and then spending the afternoon reading by the pool. In the evening I joined friends at a local bar, returned home and fell asleep in the chair. It is now just past 2am and unable to sleep I have decided to bring the log up to date a bit!

A week ago back home in UK my niece Bethan had organised an evenings music and comedy entertainment at their local. Entitled EmFest it was a kind of memorial to her sister Emily who took her life two years ago. 200 people turned up and they raised over 3000 pounds for Mind charity. Today they received a letter from HRH Prince Harry who regretted being unable to attend!

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